Mr Chinedu Jideofo-Ogbuagu, the President of the Marine Club of Nigeria (MCN) has urged the Federal Government to implement the two major maritime laws that would boost the maritime economy.
Jideofo-Ogbuagu said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
According to him, the maritime laws are the Cabotage law for the maritime industry and Local Content law for oil and gas sector.
He said the laws would address the issues of foreigners dominating the maritime domain and give room to Nigerian investors to thrive.
“One of the challenge we have in the sector is the domination of the maritime economy of Nigeria by foreigners, which the government itself has been trying to address by coming up with two major laws and a good number of executive orders.
“The two laws are the Cabotage law for the maritime industry, which is part of the maritime economy and the Nigeria Content law for the oil and gas which is also part of the maritime economy.
“These two laws are intended to address the issue of domination of our maritime economy by foreigners. Maritime economy is not just maritime industry; maritime industry is about 70 to 80 per cent of the economy.
“There is no ministry, department and agency that have no maritime economy content. When we talk of local content, we are talking about local content or means of doing business in all these ministries, department and agencies that has this maritime economy nature.
“We have gotten a few number of them by the federal government, which we are grateful for the executive orders but those laws need to be implemented religiously, which means that no waiver of any kind.”
The Marine club boss, however, said that for those laws to be fully implemented, Maritime practitioners and stakeholders must wake up to the task to function optimally if given the opportunity.
“No foreigner should come down to take the businesses Nigerians should be doing without any fear or favour; by those laws the country comes first and it citizens.
“There is a need to protect our maritime economy for Nigerians. But I expect the Nigerian practictioner , professionals and the stakeholders to wake up and do the necessary things in order to displace the foreigners.
“To take the place where the foreigners have been enjoying because it is not enough for Nigeria to put a stop to the foreigners but they must have the capacity both professionally, equipment wise, financially to be able to take up the foreigners.
“For instance, if the foreign ships are stopped from servicing the oil and gas industry, if we don’t have the financial capacity and the professional capacity to function on those waters, of what use will that be.
“So our people, including our members, have to wake up in order to take charge of the maritime economy.”