Senator Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, chairman Senate Committee on Marine Transport has disclosed that the ministry needs experts to come forward and make suggestions on how to make it work.
Knowing fully well that the Nigerian ports are dilapidated and in need of urgent repairs with the awareness of the ineffectiveness of the hundred percent examination of cargoes by Nigerian Customs.
Eshinlokun who disclosed this recently at the Maritime and Offshore Awards; The OMIS, said that normally for the new Ministry to function effectively, they must call on industry experts before the operational regulation would follow.
He therefore call on maritime industry professionals to come up and make suggestions to the government in order to help the new ministry. “For us at the Senate, we assure of our maximum corporation, we are ready to work for the industry, we also need a symbiotic relationship with the experts in the industry” he said
While listing some of the bills at the Senate which has scaled third reading to include the NIMASA Cabotage Act, the Ports and Harbour Bill as well as the National Inland Waterways Bill, the Senate Committee Chairman assured that the red chamber is ready to enact legislations that would ensure effective take-off of the new Marine and Blue Economy Ministry.
He added that gor the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry to take off, there is need to make acquainted with the various legislation that has been enacted.
In his words ‘In terms of status, there are many legislations onboard, we have the NIMASA Act, the Ports and Harbour Bill, the Inland Waterways Bill and a whole gamut of other legislation which are at various stages of reading, about two of them have gone through third reading during the last administration and sent to the President for accent.
“Probably because of time factor, two of these Bills were sent in May this year, so the President was unable to sign it. We shall find a way to re-present them do the needful.
Speaking on why importers are diverting their cargoes to neighboring ports, he said “The Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy would ensure competitiveness of Nigerian ports and to address issues bothering on ships moving to Benin Republic and Togo to berth.
“Why do importers prefer these ports? These are issues impeding the optimization of our God-given resources in the marine and blue economy”
He however disclosed that he will not accord a hundred percent to Nigeria Maritime Administrative and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Maritime security, adding that although it has been recorded that piracy on the waterways had subsides in the last one year.
Senator Eshinlokun stressed that there has to be a concerted efforts where NIMASA, Navy, Army and all other security apparatus work together to protect the waterways and all the activities going on there.
He hinted that what needs to be done is to review the Cabotage Act in making it efficient by looking at the previous recommendations, get a white paper and move forward from there.