IN a bid to enhance the growth and development of the Nigerian maritime industry, the National Assembly has concluded plans to host a public hearing on the establishment of a Maritime Development Bank.
Apart from the Bill establishing the Bank the House of Representative Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration is also to look into four other Maritime Bills namely A Bill to amend the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act 2007, a Bill for an Act to repeal the Merchant Shipping Act 2017 and enact the Merchant Shipping Bill for related matters.
Other Bills slated to heard by both the Committee and stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry includes an act to repeal the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act, 2007, and to re-enact the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency Act, 2021, to provide for the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, for the promotion of maritime safety and security, protection of the marine environment, ship registration and commercial shipping, maritime labour and for related matters, and The Bill to amend the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003 to restrict the use of foreign vessels in domestic coastal trade, promote the development of indigenous tonnage and establishes a Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund.
Part of the law being proposed is the Government moves to enhance exports and imports by using that nation’s national carrier and parts of Bill reads: “National carriers shall have exclusive right to carriage of export and import cargo belonging to the Federal, State and Local Governments including Federal and State-owned companies and agencies just as national carriers shall have the right to participate in the carriage of bulk wet, dry or specialised cargoes.
Speaking on the development, a member of the National Association of Master Mariners, Captain Ihenacho Ebubeogu told our correspondent that the Committee had written to the group seeking their input to the proposed Bills.
Ebubeogu also said that the association has also concluded plans to look into some of the Bills with a view to making its own inputs.