There appears to be no end in sight to the wasteful spending of public funds at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), as the agency has been found to be paying a whopping $30,000 (N9,210,000) daily as wharfage charges on a floating dock it acquired more than 10 months ago but which has remained idle.
A memo dated 18-03-2019 with the subject “STATUS UPDATE ON MODULAR FLOATING DOCK (MfD NIMASA)” signed by the Head, Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standards (MSSS), Capt. Sunday Umoren, and which was obtained exclusively by SHIPS & PORTS, also revealed that the agency is owing the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos an outstanding sum of $90,000 (N27,630,000) as wharfage charges on the idle facility.
In additional to the $30,000 daily wharfage charges, recently the agency spends another $10,000 daily on skeletal staff and other sundry expenses for the upkeep of the idle facility.
This implies that the agency squanders a total of $40,000 (N12,280,000) daily on maintaining a vessel that adds zero value to the shipping industry and to the Nigerian economy. This means NIMASA has so far wasted close to $12 million (N3.68 billion) on maintaining the dock since it arrived in the country.
The floating dock, acquired at the princely sum of about N50 billion last year, has remained idle since it arrived the country on June 11, 2018.
NIMASA staff and maritime industry stakeholders have accused the Director-General of the agency, Dakuku Peterside of foot-dragging on recommendations made by various committees to get the vessel meaningfully engaged and stop the wastage of public funds on the idle facility.
“The issue is that NIMASA has no business acquiring such a facility in the first place. It is a total waste of scarce resources.
“But months after it was acquired, a committee was set up by the DG in January and none of the committee’s recommendation on how to put the floating dock to use has been implemented.
“It appears the management is interested in maintaining the status quo whereby the floating dock remains idle and millions of naira wasted daily for reasons best known to them,” an aide in the NIMASA Director-General’s office said on condition of anonymity.
The aide said a memo dated 29th January 2019 and signed by one Engr. Olu Aladenusi on how to put the floating dock to productive use has been ignored by Peterside.
NIMASA spokesman, Isichei Osamgbi, did not respond to enquiries sent to him on the idle floating dock.