Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Ade Dosunmu has said that Cabotage law is a potent means of actualising the nation’s aspirations in coastal shipping.
The NIMASA boss who disclosed this in Lagos last week at a stakeholders’ interactive session aimed at reviewing the five year old law said that proper implementation of this regime will also serve a springboard for in-road into cross-border shipping trade.
Dosunmu, who was represented by one of the directors in the agency, Mr. Emmanuel Igwe, explained that the implementation of the law is faced with formidable challenges which are however not insurmountable.
The NIMASA helmsman acknowledged that the Cabotage law “is the type that provides abundant opportunity for the full realisation of national aspirations in coastwise shipping and acts as a springboard for in-road into cross-border shipping trade”, just as admitted that opinions of operators are divided over the success or otherwise of its implementation.
He pointed out that the strategy articulated for the implementation of the Cabotage creates a test case for it, which was what the implementation in the last four years has provided. He said that the interactive session would help to harmonise the different views in a bid to make it more effective.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Ministerial Committee organizers of the interactive session, Senator Ugochukwu Uba, noted that there had been sustained agitations for review and amendment of the law right from the inception
“Five years after the enactment of the law and over four years of its implementation, Nigerians are asking. How has Cabotage Act fared? The Honourable Minister of State for Water Transportation has therefore n his wisdom commissioned a multi lateral review into the implementation of the Cabotage law” he said.
Others members of the committee are drawn form : the ministry of transportation, ministry of petroleum, ministry of finance, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Indigenous Ship Owners Association (ISAN), Master Mariners, seafarers associations, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
The mandate of the committee is to appraise the implementation of the Cabotage law thus far, with specific tasks relating to grant of waivers, Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), implementation apparatus, and stakeholders perception.