By DAPO OLAWUNI
The chairman Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni has assured that the red chamber is ready to enact legislations that would ensure effective take-off of the new Marine and Blue Economy Ministry.
Eshinlokun who was speaking at the weekend at the Maritime and Offshore Awards; The OMIS, listed some of the bills at the Senate which has scaled third reading to include the NIMASA Cabotage Act, the Ports and Harbour Bill as well as the National Inland Waterways Bill.
Eshinlokun called on maritime industry professionals to come up and make suggestions to the government in order to help the new ministry.
“For the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry to take off, we need to take acquainted with the various legislation that has been enacted.
“In terms of status, there are many legislations onboard, we have the NIMASA Act, the Ports and Harbour Bill, the Inland Waterways Bill and a whole gamut of other legislation which are at various stages of reading, about two of them have gone through third reading during the last administration and sent to the President for accent.
“Probably because of time factor, two of these Bills were sent in May this year, so the President was unable to sign it. We shall find a way to re-present them do the needful.
“Normally for the new Ministry, they must call before the operational regulation would follow. For us at the Senate, we assure of our maximum corporation, we are ready to work for the industry, we also need a symbiotic relationship with the experts in the industry” he said
Eshinlokun noted that the Senate is aware that the Nigerian ports are dilapidated and are in need of urgent repairs and that the hundred percent examination of cargoes by Nigerian Customs is not effective.
He said “we want the experts to come forward and make suggestions on how to make this Ministry work”
According to him, the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy would ensure competitiveness of Nigerian ports and to address issues bothering on ships moving to Benin Republic and Togo to berth.
“Why do importers prefer these ports? These are issues impeding the optimization of our God-given resources in the marine and blue economy.
“On Maritime security, I will not give NIMASA a hundred percent, but in the last one year and what I have heard so far, piracy on the waterways have subsided, in the last six months we have heard may one case of such.
“However, there has to be a concerted efforts where NIMASA, Navy, Army and all other security apparatus work together to protect our waterways and all the activities going on there.
“What we would do is review the Cabotage Act to make it efficient, we would look at previous recommendations, get a white paper and move forward from there” he said