Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA) has called for a push to overhaul the Cabotage Act, proposing the removal of waivers, establishment of Maritime Bank, granting National Carrier status to Nigerian ship owners, among other pivotal strategies to ensure the effective implementation of the Cabotage Act.
According to the group, this move aims to empower Nigerian shipowners, fostering competitiveness and potentially unlocking increased contracts and local employment opportunities.
Speaking during his address at a stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday organised by the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, the President of NISA, Otunba Sola Adewumi emphasized a multi-dimensional approach to fully realize the potential of the Cabotage Act.
Otunba Adewumi stressed the need to eradicate waivers under the Cabotage regime. According to him, this measure, if implemented, would significantly amplify opportunities for Nigerian shipowners, fostering a more competitive environment and potentially leading to increased contracts and employment within the local maritime sector.
The NISA President strongly recommended the establishment of a specialized maritime bank offering financial assistance at single-digit interest rates adding that this initiative aims to inject vitality into the industry, providing crucial support for its players.
He also advocated granting national carrier status to Nigerian shipowners, envisaging preferential treatment in national and international trade. According to him, this designation could significantly enhance their competitiveness and global visibility.
In addition to these major recommendations, NISA also emphasized the critical importance of effectively implementing the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) stressing that the fund plays a pivotal role in offering financial support to industry operators, bolstering their capacity to compete on a global scale.
Addressing the need for efficient shipbuilding, Otunba Adewumi highlighted the necessity of commencing a local steel rolling mill. He noted that encouraging local shipbuilding could significantly reduce costs for shipowners, stimulating the local economy and technological advancement.
While proposing for the payment of port charges in local currency, Adewumi highlighted this as a strategic move to alleviate financial burdens on Nigerian shipowners, making their operations more economically viable. He also underscored the need for capacity building within the maritime sector maintaining that skilled and knowledgeable workforces are essential to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global maritime industry.
The NISA helmsman opined that granting National Carrier status to Nigerian shipowners would afford them preferential treatment in national and international trade, enhancing their competitiveness and global visibility.
Other pivotal strategies, including the establishment of an African Protection & Indemnity (P&I) Club tailored to the African maritime sector, and strict enforcement of Cabotage laws were suggested as critical issues to addressed in fostering growth and development within the Nigerian maritime industry.
The President of the association stressed that the association remains committed to driving the Ministry’s transformative agenda for the industry’s prosperity and advancement.
“The implementation of these recommendations, if executed effectively, could lead to a transformative paradigm shift in the Nigerian maritime sector. These initiatives hold the promise of economic growth, technological advancement, and heightened global competitiveness for Nigerian shipowners” Otunba Adewumi noted.