By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Bill to repeal the Merchant Shipping Act and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act (NIMASA) 2007 has passed a second reading at the National Assembly.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh confirmed this to journalists at a press conference on Monday in Abuja.
DAILY TREND NEWS gathered that the review of the Act would further address the meddlesomeness and bottlenecks of the transport ministry in NIMASA activities, thereby giving her a little bit of autonomy.
The Bill was moved by the Chairman, House Committee on Nigerian Maritime Safety, Education and Administration and member representing Onitsha North and South federal constituency, Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu.
Speaking at the press conference, the NIMASA DG said “The Act that established NIMASA, gave the Transportation Ministry a supervisory role, so, for areas that we feel that it’s going to create a bottleneck, we have to look at those areas and review the Act in order to remove such bottlenecks”
“I want to assure you that the review of the NIMASA Act has scales second reading at the National Assembly”
“Again the supervisory role of the ministry is to ensure checks and balances on what the agencies are doing”
Hon Ikpeazu had proposed the bill to repeal the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act (NIMASA) 2007, and to enact the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act (NIMASA) 2021.
Both bills passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives, on November 25.
“The NIMASA Bill 2021 seeks to improve the maritime labour output by promoting the health and safety, and quality training for seafarers, ensure the utilisation of the agency’s funds towards promoting security in our maritime space, through the suppression of piracy at sea, improve the composition of the agency’s board by including more experienced professionals, for better direction of the agency, promote a healthy marine environment devoid of pollution from hazardous materials and unsafe practices.
The Merchant Shipping Bill 2021 seeks to among others increase the administrative capacity for the implementing agency to enhance management in the maritime sector; provide adequate protection of the rights of seafarers and standardisation of welfare in line with international maritime conventions and practices to domesticate and expand our laws to accommodate current norms, practices, and protocols, especially those related to climate change, maritime pollution and maritime labour to comply with global maritime conventions.
The Merchant Shipping Bill 2021 also protects the rights of consignee of goods and endorsee of bills of lading. As Nigeria diversifies sources of foreign exchanges in the wake of fluctuating oil prices, the shipping industry is a potential goldmine which the appropriate laws will help Nigeria and Nigerians benefit maximally from the sector.