The Chairman House Committee on Shipping Services, Mr Abdussamad Dasuki, says the committee is seeking a legal backing for the establishment of a Nigerian Shipping Commission.
Dasuki said this at the opening ceremony of a two-day strategy retreat for senior executives of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NCS) on Thursday in Lagos.
The retreat had the theme: “Strengthening the Economic Regulation of the Marine and Blue Economy for Sustainable Development.”
According to Dasuki, this move aims to bolster and regulate the country’s maritime sector, echoing the urgent need for an independent regulatory body.
Dasuki lamented the disparity in the sector’s existing contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hovering around a meager one per cent and the anticipated 20 per cent.
He stressed the need for strategic interventions to bridge the gap and maximise the industry’s economic potential.
“I believe one of our takeaways here is we should have a Nigerian Shipping Commission, not a council. You are to be independent, you are to be commission. You are the regulator of this very important mission.
“We have not gotten the expected results from the economic activities emanating from the maritime industry. The challenge we believe is that regulatory agencies are not doing what they should do.
“There is a need to enhance the current legislation to have legal backing so that they ensure everything is done well. By doing that, we strongly believe that it will be a catalytic to revamp our industry.
“We are re-enacting the shippers council to be the maritime sector regulator, we are working on that,” he said.
He also highlighted the urgency of implementing the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN), assuring prompt parliamentary facilitation to ensure its swift execution.
“You are one of the most critical pillars in this sector. With due respect to my colleagues in the National Assembly, we are part of a problem that Nigeria is facing today.
“If we had done the needful, if we had done the oversight expected from us, I believe we shouldn’t been where we are today at the moment. We are a nation.
“Based on that, I will take a vow that I, as the chairman of community shipping services, overseeing the NSC, I assure you, we are going to be partners in progress to all that is expected from you as the regulator of this sector,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Akutah Ukeyima, emphasised that the two-day retreat plays a crucial role in steering the council towards achieving its objectives.
Ukeyima added that it would help to contribute significantly to the advancement of sustainable development within the maritime sector.
He underscored the need for aligning the council’s Key Performance Indicators with those of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
According to him, this is a foundational step in evaluating the council’s performance vis-à-vis the ministry’s expectations.
The council’s boss highlighted the retreat’s unique opportunity to foster in-depth discussions, debates, and idea generation pivotal to fortifying regulatory functions.
“It will help the council chart a definitive course aligned with it’s commitments outlined in the performance bond signed with the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy,” he said.
Pushing for collective efforts, Ukeyima urged the participants to leverage their combined strengths, working collaboratively to ensure the council not only fulfills its obligations but emerges as a standout performer within the ministry. (NAN)