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Thursday, July 18, 2024

NMDPRA lacks power to impose $2,000 registration fee -NIMASA ex-DG

Maritime stakeholders have expressed concerns about the $2,000 registration fee newly imposed on indigenous ship owners by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

The former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Temisan Omatseye, while speaking in Lagos recently at the 2024 Stakeholders Engagement, decried the two licensing fees indigenous shipowners are mandated by NMDPRA.

“NMDPRA is insisting on one licence where each ship owner pays $2,000 to register and now they are asking for another N2m.

“There are two licences now, which they call coastal licenses. They have now even issued a regulation in line with the Petroleum Industry Act, which gave them that power,” he said.

Omatseye added that the agency did not have the power to collect such fees. “And they don’t have any powers at all because all powers are related, these are international provisions,” he noted.

He urged the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy to ensure that NIMASA is allowed to perform its constitutional responsibilities.

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“Even any cable laid on the seabed belongs to NIMASA; any pipeline laid on the seabed belongs to NMASA. So, all they are asking for is that the ministry needs to step up, take back its responsibility, and give it back to NIMASA. Let us sit down with NMASA and manage our industry,” he said.

Buttressing what the former NIMASA DG said, a ship owner and President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Aminu Umar, stated the need to address the issue of multiple clearances shipowners are subjected to.

“What he was trying to say is that ship owners are facing multiple agencies; they need to get clearance from multiple agencies in order to operate. The NMDPRA is asking ship owners to come for the same clearance that has already been done by NIMASA.

“There are multiple agencies and you don’t see that in any other sector. I don’t think any organisation comes to say the airline must also come and get clearance if they want to operate.

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“NIMASA should reach out to NMDPRA so that they can work together and ensure that once NIMASA clears, it means the ship is good to go. NMDPRA should take the clearance done by NIMASA and the only one,” Umar asserted.

In his response, the South-West Regional Coordinator of NMDPRA, Mr. Ayo Cardoso, explained that the agency charges $1,200 for the coastal vessel licence.

“The Coastal Vessel License is $1,200, processing fees and application fees are N100,000, as evident in First Schedule Section H.3. Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Operation Regulations 2023,” Cardoso expounded.

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