National Assembly sets to Increase Budget Allocation for Maritime Training

Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport
The National Assembly has expressed readiness to boost training in the maritime sector of the economy, especially in capacity building.
To this end, it has reiterated its commitment to increase the budget for training and re-training of the requisite manpower in the sector.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Zainab Kure, and her counterpart in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, dropped this hint while on a fact-finding tour of maritime institutions where Nigerians are undergoing training in the United Kingdom.
In order to effect the desired impact, the legislators said they may increase the budget of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) or the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, next year.
The legislators said the move would enable Nigerian cadets acquire the machinery for required sea exposures and adequate training that would make them employable anywhere in the world.
Admonishing the cadets to be of good behaviour, they said the Federal Government had realised that sea exposure was sacrosanct to their competence and recognition and would therefore go the extra mile to ensure that the cadets got the best.
“We are going to do our best. We will ensure that by the time you are back home, the maritime sector would have improved”, the lawmakers, who took turns to speak, said.
In her remarks, a member of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, charged the cadets to continue to behave well, stressing that as a mother, she saw them as good ambassadors of the country, who must remain focused, studious and relevant.
MraTinubu said: “We are very proud of you. And as a mother, I want to join my chairman (Kure) to admonish you to continue to put in your best as good ambassadors of the country. On our part, we will do our best to ensure that by the time you are back in the country, we hope our best would have significantly improved the fortunes of the country”.
The Nigerian cadets studying in South Tyneside College, Newcastle, in their remarks, hailed the federal government on its vision on marine education, particularly the National Shipping Development Program (NSDP), pointing out that the country may soon evolve into a global maritime giant, if the policy was sustained.
The maritime college was established in 1861, and ranks amongst the best in the United Kingdom.
The cadets also lauded NIMASA efforts on trainings towards the development of shipping and maritime skills.
The cadets, who were no fewer than 30 with females constituting the majority, expressed satisfaction at the quality and skills being imparted into them, noting that aside from sea trainings which they were still looking forward to, their peers elsewhere were no longer better off than them.
“We are satisfied with the quality of trainings we are receiving here. We are happy that the Federal Government is doing everything to boost shipping activities in Nigeria. And we are also happy with the commendable collaboration between the Federal Government and our State Governments, which has provided us with the new hope, vision and future in the shipping sector”, they said.
According to the cadets, who are mostly from Niger and Kaduna States, they had prudently undergone a year’s strenuous trainings before they were brought to Newcastle for their ongoing two-year programme.
The cadets, who were studying marine engineering, said they were already looking forward towards when he would be able to put their skills and trainings to good use, for the enhancement of maritime activities in the country.
“I think Nigeria is already doing a good job, training the seafarers. The only thing I however know the country must still do is to try and get more ships. We may not have enough resources. But this things can be worked on”, one of them said confidently.
“Actually, if you ask me, I would say Nigeria deserves a big round of applause for what she is doing in this direction” he stated, delivering in different words the same opinion which another cadet from Kaduna State, Abubakar Abdulkareem, had expressed.
In their own contributions, Juliet Amwein from Kaduna State and Bridget Thomas, also from Kaduna State, said: “We should be one of the best maritime nations in the world, but we are not. Our job is not to think of our lapses. Our job is to do whatever we should do, create the desired awareness, collaborate with people who have something to offer; and then move the country forward”.
According to them, as engineering students our trainings encourages us to identify and rectify what prevent the engines from working, rather than complain about it.
Commenting on the quality of the students, the institution’s Vice Principal, Gary Hinmarch, said the college was satisfied that government made a good selection.
Thisday dropped this that “The Nigerian students here have been very unique. They have exceeded our expectation. We expect that at the end of their programme here, they should, as assets to their country, assist to lift Nigeria higher, in the maritime sector, both in the medium and long term”, he said.
Hinmarch pointed out that the college would also be glad to assist MAN, Oron graduates to continue their career in UK maritime colleges. He however stressed that for his institution to do that, they must also be allowed to provide 100 per cent supervision of the MAN, Oron curriculum.

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