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House Committee backs establishment of Nigerian Shipping Commission

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The House of Representatives Committee on Shipping Services has backed the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) operations and made a call for the establishment of a Nigerian Shipping Commission.

This move aims to improve and regulate the country’s maritime sector, echoing the urgent need for an independent regulatory body.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of a two-day retreat for senior executives of the Council which held in Lagos on Thursday, Chairman House Committee on Shipping Services, Hon Abdussamad Dasuki highlighted the disparity between the sector’s existing contributions to the national GDPm which hovered around a meager 1% and the anticipated 20% it should ideally deliver. He stressed the need for strategic interventions to bridge this gap and maximize the industry’s economic potential.

Emphasizing the urgency of legislative backing, Dasuki echoed the call for expeditious action to enact a dedicated law providing the necessary legal framework for the Council’s operations. He stressed that the committee members are committed to a swift parliamentary processes to realize this vital legislation by next year.

Further aligning with the Council’s objectives, the House Committee Chairman highlighted the urgency of implementing the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN), assuring prompt parliamentary facilitation to ensure its swift execution.

He said, “I believe one of our takeaways here is that we should have a Nigerian Shipping Commission, not a council. You are to be independent, you are to be a commission. You are the regulator of this very important mission. I have said it before and I will say it, the maritime sector is expected to deliver nothing less than 20% of our GDP, but now it is being 1% or less. So together with you, we will sit down and deliberate this and God willing, we will see what is coming from the panacea.

“For this ministry to achieve its set goals, and before me today, before all of us, is one of those goals. 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 that is expected from us, I believe we shouldn’t be where we are today at the moment. We are a nation.

“Based on that, I would take out a vow that I, as the Chairman of Community Shipping Services, overseeing Nigerian Shippers Council, I assure you we are going to be partners in progress to all that is expected from you as the regulator of this all-important sector.

“On that note, I would highlight to you that even before the new ES, we have championed the cause of having that all-important law. We have been doing that. We are going to, by God’s grace, first strike that law and make sure that you have a legal backing. That, by God’s grace, we are certain, sometime next year, we should have this law in place and that should give you what is expected from you.

“Having said that, there are some quick wins that are expected of this Council. One of them is the ICTN. These are things that as a Parliament, we will take it up and make sure that whatever is required to implement that is done within the shortest possible time”, Dasuki noted.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr Akutah Pius Ukeyima emphasised that the two-day Special Management Retreat themed “Strengthening Economic Regulation of the Marine and Blue Economy for Sustainable Development” plays a crucial role in steering the Council towards achieving its objectives and contributing significantly to the advancement of sustainable development within the maritime sector.

Ukeyima underscored the need for aligning the Council’s Key Performance Indicators with those of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy which according to him, is a foundational step in evaluating the Council’s performance vis-à-vis the Ministry’s expectations.

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