Nigerian Indigenous Shipowners Association(NISA) has called for the elimination of waivers in the nation’s inland shipping regime called cabotage as one of the multi-faceted ways to bolster the opportunities for the Nigerian shipowners as well as create a competitive environment for increased patronage and employment chances.
Delivering a position paper on the effective implementation of the Cabotage Act at the recent stakeholders’ roundtable organized by the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, the Presudent of NISA, Otunba Sola Adewumi noted that only a cocktail of approaches could deliver the potentials of the cabotage initiative
Listing the establishment of a maritime bank as one the keys to unlock Cabotage Act, he said Nigerian government should consider the establishment of a specialized maritime bank to offer financial assistance at single-digit interest rates to provide the needed impetus for growth and development in the maritime industry.
Adewumi called for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund(CVFF) as it is pivotal in providing financial support to operators to enhance their capacity to compete more robustly on a global scale.
He noted that “Efficient Ship building cannot be achieved without the commencement of our steel rolling mill .Encouraging and promoting local shipbuilding can play a significant role in reducing costs for shipowners. This strategy would not only make ship acquisition more affordable but would also stimulate the local economy and technological development”.
Condemning the payment of port charges with foreign currency, he also added that the payment of port charges in local currency is a strategic move that can alleviate the financial burden on Nigerian shipowners, making their operations more economically viable.
He said that Investing in research and training is essential for capacity building within the maritime sector. This approach ensures that the workforce is skilled and knowledgeable, ready to meet the challenges and demands of a rapidly evolving global maritime industry.
According to him, granting national carrier status to Nigerian ship owners would provide them with preferential treatment in national and international trade, enhancing their competitiveness and visibility in the global maritime industry.
He called for the establishment of an African P&I Club, saying that setting up an African Protection & Indemnity (P&I) club would be a strategic move, adding it would provide tailored insurance and risk management services that cater specifically to the unique needs of the African maritime sector.
The NISA President said, “For Cabotage Law to truly be effective and achieve its intended goals, there must be strict enforcement of its provisions. This enforcement ensures that the benefits of the policy are realized, ultimately leading to the growth and development of the Nigerian maritime industry.
He believes that these recommendations, if implemented effectively, could dramatically transform the landscape of the Nigerian maritime sector, leading to economic growth, technological advancement, and enhanced global competitiveness for Nigerian shipowners.