By DAPO OLAWUNI
Newly elected president of the Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS) Dr Martin Enebeli has called on the Federal Government to unbundle the apex maritime regulatory agency; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and establish a separate agency for Implementation of the Cabotage Act.
Speaking at the institute’s Annual General Meeting and Awards Ceremony in Lagos last week, Enebeli said that currently, NIMASA is trying it’s best, but that the agency is overwhelmed by too many functions.
According to him, the Cabotage implementation touches on Nigerian economy and affects critical businesses in Nigeria, hence, it deserves a special attention and implementation.
He said “Cabotage implementation should be removed from NIMASA, while government can make an independent arrangement, so that we can focus internally.
“Already, NIMASA is involved in international trade, shipping trade, cabotage local arrangements, ship registration, also involved in manning and general regulation of the maritime industry, this is an enormous task and you cannot blame NIMASA
“To a large extent, the manpower wants and bureaucracies is enormous, so the government should look deeply, if we want to enhance our local industries, we must have some independence for Cabotage”
“Even though there are proliferation of similar agencies, but this has to do with the welfare and survival of Nigerians, and as such it needs very important attention” Dr Enebeli argued
He noted that the Cabotage law was drawn from the Jones Act of United States of America.
According to him “Nigeria is growing at an astronomical rate due to procreation, our wants are getting higher everyday, mortality rate is reducing because of science, however characters must survive.
“The issue of Cabotage is very important so that we can capture our economy, especially internally, not all the time relying on foreign shipping nations to come and assist us.
“Today, we don’t have very effective cottages dry docks that you can go in and out and bring out your ship, our freight forwarding system is crying, our ship owning is also crying, so we need a policy to that effect, and also to create an independent Cabotage out of NIMASA, this is very huge task”