Minister of Transport, Idris Umar
By John Iwori
The National Assembly will from today begin a review of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003, otherwise called Cabotage.
THISDAY gathered that the proposed amendments of the Act would enable the National Assembly to effect necessary changes that have hindered the effective implementation of the Act over the years.
The review which will be spearheaded by the House of Representatives Committees on Marine Transport and Justice will kick off with a public hearing scheduled today at the National Assembly.
Already, stakeholders in the maritime sector of the economy, civil society groups and the general public have been invited to participate actively in the public hearing.
The public hearing followed the presentation of an amendment bill titled “Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Amendment (Bill) 2012 HB 256” sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Chairman, House Committee, Marine Transport, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and other legislators.
A public notice signed by Ugwuanyi and published in THISDAY said the hearing which will start by 11 am at the Conference Room 028, House of Representatives, will afford stakeholders the opportunity to make inputs into the amendments of some of the provisions of the Cabotage Act.
The notice also enjoined stakeholders to submit memoranda on the proposed amendments to the Cabotage Act in hard and soft copies to the secretariat of the committee.
The Act which was styled after the Jones Act in the United States of America (USA) is hinged on three pillars, namely, vessels involved in Cabotage must be built in shipyards located in Nigeria, owned by Nigerians and crew by Nigerians.
Though the Act made provision for waivers, this has been abused over the years with some foreign owned ships getting spurious waivers to engage in coastal and inland shipping in the country to the detriment of indigenous ship owners.