With no single dissenting voice, stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime sector last week unanimously expressed their support for the bill which seeks to establish the Chartered Institute of Shipping of Nigeria (CISN).
Venue was the House of Representatives where the committee on marine transport held a public hearing on the bill alongside the maritime Zone bill.
Setting the scale for what turned out to be a most cordial interaction between stakeholders who had come in from Lagos and other parts of the country, chairman of the committee, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had explained that the hearing was put together to collate stakeholders and experts views on the two bills and enjoined the invitees to bare their minds.
Following from this the, chief whip of the House, Hon Emeka Ihedioha who represented the speaker, Hon Dimeji Bankole reminded the stakeholders that the bill would have been passed during the last legislative session, but for the disunity among interested parties. According to him, most stakeholders did not also show sufficient interests in the bill.
The CISN bill is being promoted by both the Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS) and the Certified Institute of Shipping (CIS); both of which had also set up a joint committee on the charter. The committee is headed by Mr John Patrick Egesi, the first vice president of NIS and former director, National Maritime Authourity.
Turn after turn stakeholders who attended the hearing eulogised the marine transport committee for dedication to duty and for agreeing to push the bill.
Top among them is the chairman, African Business Roundtable, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur who said that with the CISN bill, the lawmakers are putting up a strong foundation for shipping practitioners to control shipping. According to him, “CISN will direct and promote shipping and also protect indigenisation”.
Speaking in the same manner, the chairman Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Chief Isaac Jolapamo submitted that the CISN bill will develop Nigeria’s maritime industry and also uphold professionalism. “The bill is the best thing to happen to industry”, he stressed.
Both the national president of NIS, Chief CES Okoye and the registrar, CIS, Reverend Alex Okwuashi were full of appreciation to the lawmakers for the bill, even as the former lamented that a lot of scarce foreign exchange was being wasted as Nigerian seek shipping education outside the country. On his part, Okwuashi lamented that no Nigerian University offers a degree programme in Shipping.
Among stakeholders who attended the hearing and who gave her support were: Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Maritime Industry Advocacy Initiative, Nigerian Shippers Council, Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Port Consultative Council as well as the Port Industry Anti- Corruption Standing Committee, among others.