BY GODFREY BIVBERE
The Chairman of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, has attributed the collapse of indigenous shipping firms to over $3 billion (N480 billion) owed to banks.
Jolapamo, who disclosed this in Lagos during a meeting held with the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, and stakeholders on policy guidelines for the granting of ministerial waivers under the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003 otherwise known as the Cabotage Law, stressed that about 50 percent of Nigerian shipping companies have folded up.
Both Jolapamo and the Secretary of NISA, Capt. Niyi Labinjo, called for immediate removal of the waiver clause contained in the Cabotage Law.
The waiver clause, according to Labinjo, has been made more important by the Ministry of Transport at the detriment of implementation of the Cabotage Law itself.
“I am alarmed at the kind of the vessels that are granted waiver in Nigeria. Instead of giving waivers to specialised vessels in consonance with the dreams of the initiators of the Act, we end up giving waivers to Anchor Handling and Tankers, which the Act did not provide for,” Labinjo stated.
He said: “In other climes, they do not leave the administration of waiver to be handled by the ever busy government officials like the Minister, Permanent
Secretary or NIMASA, but rather an all inclusive exercise where applications for waivers should be received by the maritme administrator and forwarded to the stakeholders, who do the needful and make recommendations to the implementing agency which then carry out the recommended action.”
Senator Umar said the federal government in conjunction with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was open to receiving contributions from stakeholders on how to make the Cabotage regime work.