News

May 28, 2024

Speaker Abbas, Minister, stockholders push for establishment of regulatory agency

Speaker Abbas

Speaker Abbas

By Gift ChapiOdekina, Abuja

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, and the Minister of Blue Economy, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, have pushed for the establishment of a shipping regulatory agency in the country.

The Speaker and the Minister made the call for the establishment in Abuja during a public hearing on the Shipping Council’s repeal and enactment of the Shippers’ Council and Economic Regulatory Bill in Abujanon Monday.

The Shipping Line Association of Nigeria also made a strong case for the establishment of the agency, adding that it would improve efficiency and lower cost.

Barr Boma Alabi (SAN), Chairman, Shipping Line Association of Nigeria, said that any act that will improve efficiency, lower cost, and reduce the bottleneck that we currently face will be most welcome.

She stated that the Nigeria Port cost the country twice as much as others in the region, such as the Benin Republic, adding that there was a need to ensure that shopping businesses did not move away from Nigeria.

“We must be more efficient, and we welcome this regulatory agency that will be created to make things more efficient.

“We have expressed our concern internally and externally, and this committee, which has been involved in this process, must work on some areas of concern.

“There are aspects that should be expunged, like sections 40, 42, 52, and a few others; we understand the reason behind this.

“We need to put in some checks and balances so that those in the saddle will not abuse it.”

The public hearing was organised by the House Committee on Shipping Services, Port and Harbor, Maritime Safety, Education, and Administration in Abuja.

Speaking, Abbas said that the move to establish the regulatory agency was geared toward economic growth, development, and diversification, as well as strengthening the new ministry.

According to him, this re-enactment seeks to ensure that the proposed agency establishes an economic regulatory framework for effective and efficient regulation of commercial and related activities in the shipping and port sectors.

He added that it was also aimed at creating an enabling environment for private sector participation in the provision and operation of regulated services in Nigeria, amongst others.

“The amended bill encompasses critical provisions addressing several key areas essential for the effective functioning of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.

“It details the structure and responsibilities of the management and staff, establishing a clear governance framework that defines roles and qualifications to ensure competent oversight.

“The bill lays out financial provisions, specifying guidelines for the allocation, management, and auditing of funds, which is crucial for maintaining financial integrity and providing the Council with the necessary resources to perform its duties.

“The bill also addresses offenses and penalties, outlining specific non-compliance issues and their corresponding penalties, he said.

The Minister of Blue Economy, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, while canvassing for the need to establish the regulatory agency, said it would improve the nation’s economy.

The minister, represented by Mr. Oloruntola Olufemi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Blue Economy, said it would be a welcome development if the bill became an act.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Abdulsamad Dasuki, promised to provide the legislative framework that would allow the bill to become an act.

“This proposal is aimed at providing the regulatory framework aimed at providing the enabling environment in Nigeria.”