After what appeared like it has been abandoned, the report of the Cabotage review committee has started receiving attention of the minister of transport, Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio.
The minister has therefore constituted a committee to review one of the most critical aspects of Cabotage law – the waiver clause. The committee is headed by the executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Capt Adamu Biu. Members are drawn from the Nigerian Ports Authourity, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency as well as the National Inland Waterways Authourity.
Sources close to the committee confirmed to our correspondent last week that apart from the report of Cabotage review committee, the minister was also shocked with the extent of abuse that the waiver clause is being subjected to.
Shipping Position Weekly recalls that the review committee which was headed by Senator Ugochukwu Uba had in its report, roundly condemned the implementation of waiver clause.
It had submitted in its report that “the process and procedure for issuance of waivers in the various categories is sometimes over-bureaucratic and not very transparent. Indeed, foreign vessels are allowed to operate, pending the consideration of their waiver application, provided they have settled equivalent debit notes. The vessels start operating before their waiver applications are approved. Some even complete their contracts and leave without their waiver application being approved”.
According to the committee, “this makes the enforcement process unworkable and defeats the need for prior requirement for waiver before operating”.
Our source confirmed that the Capt Biu committee is expected to streamline the process of granting waiver and recommend ways of ensuring that the abuses end.
“Previously, most of the multinational companies operate without obtaining the mandatory waiver certificate once the fee is paid, sometimes they also exceed the statutory period, with some extending up to one year or more in violation of the provisions that waiver is only tenable for six months”, he added.
The Cabotage review committee was inaugurated by the then – Minister of State for Transportation (Water), Prince John Okechukwu Emeka on April 2, 2008.