02 August 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has again reiterated its determination to ensure complete implementation of the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003 also known as the Cabotage Act.
NIMASA’s Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated this when he received the leadership of the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association led by the National President, Comrade, Engr. Matthew Alalade at the Agency’s Headquarters in Lagos.
The DG explained that proper regulation of the Cabotage Act is instrumental to the development of the maritime sector stating that Nigerians must always be encouraged to be key players in the sector and that the issue of abuse of waivers would be checked.
“We have not realised the full potential of the Cabotage Act but we have moved a step ahead. Just to be sure that we are committed to the full implementation of the Cabotage Act, issues relating to waiver abuse are currently being dealt with accordingly,” Peterside said.
Dr. Dakuku added that the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF would only be disbursed to people that would put it into the use for which it is intended saying applicants must have the requisite criteria as beneficiaries.
“We will rigorously screen the applicants of the CVFF in order to ensure that the funds are disbursed to people who would use it for the purposes the funds are meant for,” he added.
The NIMASA DG also stated that the Agency is currently screening maritime institutions across the country and would only accredit the ones that can provide the maritime training required in line with global best practices.
Dr. Peterside, however, noted that NIMASA is not in a position to recognise any Merchant Navy Association as that function falls under the purview of the National Assembly.
Earlier, the Association which decried the abuse of waivers in the implementation of the Cabotage Act also requested the Agency to find ways of reviewing the Act to pave the way for indigenous operators to be more involved in coastal and inland trade in Nigeria.
The Association also sought greater collaboration with NIMASA especially in the areas of maritime regulatory decision making and human capacity building for the growth and development of the industry.