Govt Indicts Agency Over Poor Implementation Of Shipping Law
THE Federal Government has observed the haphazard implementation of the country’s Coastal and Inland Shipping Act and has therefore directed the maritime regulatory body, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to strictly implement the provisions of the 13-year-old Act without delay.
Unimpressed by the level of compliance with the Act, which prohibits the use of foreign vessels for shipping business within the Nigerian territorial waters, the minister for transport expressed his displeasure at the level of implementation of the ACT
The minister’s directive was a reaction to complaints from ship owners, who alerted the government of the proliferation of foreign vessels that were operating within the country’s inland and coastal water in violation of Nigerian laws
In a letter to NIMASA dated 16th April, 2015, and signed by the Director of Maritime Safety and Security, Mr. D. M Dauda, the minister said: “Arising from series of complaints by organisations and public spirited individuals, the minister has noted with deep concern our inability to effectively harness the potentials in the maritime sector. The Honorable Minister has specifically noted that strict application of the Cabotage and NIMASA Acts will go a long way to ensure greater revenue to NIMASA and the country, as well as unleash a chain of economic benefits to corporate bodies and individual players in the industry”
Although, industry watchers said on Friday that the minister’s observation and directive over the implementation of the Act was belated, the President Nigeria Ship owners Association (NISA), Dada Olaniyi Labinjo, said the minister was in order, adding that the in-coming administration will have something to work on as from May 29.
The NISA President had written government, saying 500,000 direct and indirect employment could be generated immediately with a disposable income of N4.8 Billion monthly by the maritime sector if Nigerian flagged vessels are engaged exclusively for the lighter age of the 1.6 billion litres monthly of petroleum products for domestic consumption
The ship owners told the minister in their letter that 912 assorted offshore support vessels are required by the Oil and Gas industry, adding that they could provide over 500,000 direct and indirect employment and a conservative daily spend of over US$2m.
They said these services are being provided by foreigners to deny Nigerian the benefit of the “maritime local content law’, which was passed in 2003.
“By this directive, the government has demonstrated that it has the political will necessary to unlock the potentials in the maritime sector.
The entire members of the Association and the seafarers and employees welcome the development as they chorused, “we shall now have our jobs back,” said the NISA president.