ABUJA: In a bid to revamp Nigeria’s marine meteorological operations to deliver world class services that are globally relevant in line with international best practices, the Director-General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu has disclosed that almost a billion naira has been earmarked for this financial budget year for the marine sector.
Prof. Matazu, who noted that NiMet is at an advanced stage of the revamping, said that they will start with visibility and environmental impact assessment.
Making this known on Monday while briefing newsmen at the GCRF-African SWIFT Workshop on the Pre-Testbed 3 Users and Co-Production, the DG pointed out that Nigeria is losing tens of billions of naira by not providing marine and shipping forecasts.
According to him, “We are expanding our services to the non-aviation sector and one of such critical sectors is the marine sector. Remember Nigeria has more than 800 kilometer stretch of coastline and we have a lot of busy seas around us with a lot of shipping activities.
“So, as part of her establishment Act, NiMet was mandated to provide marine forecast for vessels and we need to do a lot of installation especially on high sensitive instruments, in order to monitor the prevailing weather condition around the coast, as well as the sea state; and with the combination of the two, we will be able to provide a full marine forecast”.
While stating that it is capital intensive and involves purchase and installation of tide gauge and other marine made installations, he added that this is the first phase and they are going to expand by next year, based on the very huge support NiMet is getting from the Ministry of Aviation.
“Presently we provide marine forecasts at the elementary level, but with the capital intensive nature of the sector, the utilization of the budgetary provision by the government will help us provide advanced marine tailor-made forecasts before the end of this year.
“We’ve got government approval under the Federal Ministry of Aviation to be able to upscale our forecast and with this, the shipping industry will no longer rely on getting forecasts from outside the country. So, we will be providing the shipping and the maritime industry forecast and also for large scale fishing activities and safety along the coast line.
“It will not take more than six months but we have already started the implementation of the first phase of it and we are in partnership with NIMASA and NPA on this”, he said.
He reiterated that in carrying out this service, NiMet really needs the support of the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency in which the Agency has pending Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to sign, adding that NiMet will continue to provide forecasting services to the industry, so as to help the economy of the country.