Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transpaort
The National Assembly has begun a review of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003, otherwise called the Cabotage Act.
THISDAY gathered that the proposed amendments of the Act would enable the National Assembly to effect necessary changes that have hindered its effective implementation over the years.
The review, which would be spearheaded by the House of Representatives Committees on Marine Transport and Justice, will kick off with a public hearing scheduled to take place 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’ co-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 would start by 11 am at the House of Representatives, would 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, styled after the Jones Act in the United States of America (USA) is hinged on three pillars, namely that vessels involved in Cabotage, must be built in shipyards located in Nigeria, owned by Nigerians, and crewed by Nigerians.
Though the Act made provisions for waivers but these have 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.