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Senate promises speedy passage of Maritime bill

The Senate Committee on Marine Transport has assured of its willingness to partner with stakeholders through proper legislation that will guarantee full harness of opportunities that abound in the maritime sector for the nation’s prosperity.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Ahmed Sani Rufai, at a stakeholders forum in Lagos, said the committee would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that every bill relevant to the growth of the maritime sector got the required attention and legislative backing within the shortest time possible.

He therefore called on stakeholders to join the government in its efforts to promote the maritime sector given its enormous resources that can boost the economy of Nigeria.

The committee chairman listed some maritime industry-related bills under consideration in the National Assembly to include the Nigerian Ports Authority (Act repeal and re-enactment) Bill 2016; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage Act) Bill, 2018; and Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Bill 2018.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said Federal Government is committed to the growth of the maritime sector, but said this could only be achieved through proper legislation.

Amaechi, who was represented by the Director, Maritime Services of the FMOT, Mr. Galadenchi, also pledged the commitment of the ministry to partner with the Senate and industry stakeholders to enable the Nigerian maritime sector fully realise the enormous opportunities within.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, commended the Senate committee for its doggedness and patriotism in ensuring that the sector took its rightful place in the comity of maritime nations through the legislative backings.

Dakuku reiterated the Agency’s commitment to the realisation of a robust maritime sector in the country through collaboration with the committee and other stakeholders.

He called for synergy among sister agencies in the maritime sector, saying it is the only way to fully harness the opportunities in the sector.

“Collaboration is the only way our country will grow and the maritime sector must not be left out. Let me therefore state categorically that through synergy with relevant stakeholders, there will be massive boom in the maritime sector, and by extension, the entire economy.” Dakuku said.

He appealed to the Senate to ensure speedy passage of the anti-piracy bill to provide a legal backing for the prosecution of issues relating to piracy and other criminal activities on the country’s territorial waters.

Former Director-General of NIMASA, Temisan Omatseye, said one of the ways to optimise the benefits of the maritime sector was to decentralise the ports and make them more attractive and competitive.

He said this would help to boost investors’ confidence and decongest the traffic situation in the Lagos ports.

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