Stakeholders, others applaud amendment of NIMASA Act

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that the Ninth Assembly embarked on the Amendment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007 and the Cabotage Act 2003 due to the need to improve regulatory instruments in the Nigerian maritime sector to meet current realities.

Gbajabiamila stated this, while declaring open the two-day public hearing of the House Committee on Maritime Safety Education and Administration on the Merchant Shipping Act, Repeal and Enactment Bill 2021, NIMASA Act Repeal and Enactment Bill 2021, as well as Coastal and Inland Cabotage Amendment Bill 2020.

He stressed the need for appropriate regulation of the Nigerian maritime industry in line with cur- rent realities to ensure maximum utilisation of the nation’s maritime sector.

On her part, Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety Education and Administration, Linda Ikpeazu, said the public hearing was to ensure that the decision of the Legislature on the Bills were taken from well-informed position premised on submissions from maritime stakeholders from all aspects of the industry.

She said: “It is common knowledge that the mari- time sector is the founda- tion and catalyst for the growth of countries with marine endowments.

And by any standard, Nigeria is well endowed with ocean coastline, rivers and a rich marine biodiversity. “Not only are we focused on making the maritime sector a key alternative source of revenue and economic growth to our dwindling oil resources, we are also poised to develop a prosperous blue economy for our nation, akin to similar success in the maritime country around the world.”

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In his submission, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, commended the National Assembly for embarking on the review of the laws governing the maritime sector noting that the new NIMASA Bill under consideration will enhance the capacity of the agency to effectively regulate the Nigerian maritime industry in line with international best practice.

The minister, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services of the Ministry, Paul Oteh, however, expressed reservation about NIMASA’s funding of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Oke- renkoko in Delta State. “The ministry does not support 12 per cent of NIMASA revenue go- ing to the University, The Trumpet gathered.

The proposal, in our view, also does not recognise the fact that the university, like other public institutions under the supervision of the NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education, is ordinarily entitled to public funds, as may be appropriated by the National Assembly on yearly basis.” Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who was represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Victor Ochei, adopted Amaechi’s position as that of NIMASA.

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