By Nwangwu Uba
Peterside Dakuku, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration
One of the major problems that may had confronted him on assumption of office in the last three years at the government Agency was the implementation of the Cabotage Act, 2003, which aims at promoting indigenous participation in the nation’s shipping sector, which is dominated by foreign shipping companies.
The government Maritime Regulation Agency was said to have mapped out Cabotage waivers Cessation plan for indigenous ship owners for the next five years as way of encouraging them to compete with the foreign ship owners in the carrying of cargoes.with Nigeria as its final destination.As part of the efforts to encourage more indigenous participation in the industry, NIMASA wasto have put in place a strategic plan which include s the New Cabotage Compliance Strategy , NCCS, under which certain categories of the waivers would have been suspended.
Note that the Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage Act provides for waiver on the requirements for ownership and manning of vessels by Nigerians and building of such Cabotage vessels where the capacity is lacking in the country.
The proposal to implement the maritime Cabotage policy was said to have emerged at a recent meeting beteween the Agency and stakeholders in Lagos , the nation’s commercial nerve centre which attracted operators from other parts of the world . The Agency was said to have solicited the collaboration of the indigenous ship owners within the next five years to perfect plan for the optimal implementation of the policy.
Peterside, a politician turned maritime expert, was said to have assured the stakeholders at the meeting that NIMASA , under his watch was determined to ensure that Cabotage waivers were stopped in the next five yeats to promote indigenous shipping.
Appealing to the stakeholders for their Cooperation, he noted that that the mandate of the Apex Regulatory maritime Agency was all about promoting and regulating shipping in the country , insisting that the Agency has no intention of stagnating any business. He said the Agency would remain committed to ”promoting, protecting and providing the enabling environment for indigenous ship owners to grow and compete with their counterparts in other parts of Asian, Europe and North America including South Africa. ”We are determined to work with our stakeholders”, he had said.
Gambo Ahmed, who was said to have represented the NIMASA boss at the All important stakeholders meeting was said to have told them that part of the strategies that have been put in place to bring an end to the issuance of Cabotage waivers was to develop infrastructural and human capital development of the country which calls for the training of seafarers to attain global standards. The Asian country of
He was said to have made clear that shipping holds the key to creation of jobs as well as add to the GDP , growth of any shipping nation as reflected in the boom on their economy. Temissan Omatseye, who could not hide his feelings was said to have urged the Agency to use the powers bestowed on it by law to ensure total compliance with the Cabotage Act and apply sanctions against erring shipping Companies which contravenes the country’s shipping Act. Omatseye disclosed that the aim of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, would be defeated if NIMASA fail to start the process of implementing the Cabotage law to give hope to the indigenous ship owners.
Neerag Kumar of TMC Shipping Pvt , India, said there is no time better than now to implement the Cabotage Act , noting that the ports are critical to the country’s economic growth. Kumar, who may have spoken the mind of India ship building yard owners was said to have pledged the country’s willingness to collaborate with Nigeria in the area of ship building.
Aminu Umar President of Nigerian Indigenous Ship-owners Association, NISA who applauded the Peterside led management of NIMASA for their support to the indigenous ship owners to come out of the wood in order to realise a robust maritime sector in the country through their various stakeholders oriented programmes , promised them of their support and Cooperation to ensure greater indigenous participation in the nation’s maritime sector.
This should gladden the heart of Rotimi
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