By ZION Olalekan
The National Assembly has assured that the Bill on the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences 2018 will be passed before the end of the year.
Chairman of Senate committee on Marine Transport; Senator Ahmed Rufai Sanni Yerima disclosed this at a meeting with maritime industry stakeholders in Lagos.
He said the report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) on cases of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea is a cause for worry as it has increasingly led to high cost of freight as ship owners often demand high insurance premium.
He also disclosed that Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act amendment Bill had been passed; he added that it is currently awaiting the President’s assent.
According to him, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act Amendment Bill has been passed, and that it was returned by the President.
Yerima said the lawmakers have equally passed the Ports and Harbour Bill. He however said that though the bill has been passed, its awaiting conferencing.
He told the stakeholders who comprised of private and public sector players that the motive behind the meeting was to bring the parliament to the industry with a view to hearing from the players and also telling them what the 8thNational Assembly has done to impact on the maritime industry.
Yerima said apart from the passage of the bills, which legislative process he noted is sometimes slow; the committee has also approved various budgets and passed resolutions geared towards the growth of the sector.
He also listed other maritime industry bills that are either awaiting Presidential assent or undergoing legislative process to include the: National Inland Waterways Act, Nigeria Coast Guard Bill, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Others are Maritime Security Administration and Safety Agency, Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill.
The Committee’s chairman also said the Senate will continue to collaborate with the executive arm of the maritime regulatory agencies to grow the maritime industry.
“We have not just been passing bills, we have approved budgets, engaged in interactions to assist the sector and passed resolutions and recommendations beneficiary to the sector.” he said.
Representative of the Transportation Minister, Sani Dangalashi, commended the committee for giving prompt attention to the maritime bills.
He said the bills when passed and assented to by President Buhari will strengthen the legal and regulatory frame work that will not only create enabling environment for businesses in the maritime sector but will also create employment as well as enhance revenue generation for the country.
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