Wednesday, June 19Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine

SHAME! Nigeria’s Shipping Sector Unregulated Since Independence …. Bayo Sarumi….

One of Nigeria’s “Most Capped” Living Legends in the Maritime Industry, Aare Adebayo Sarumi, has raised the alarm that the Maritime Sector would not make meaningful contribution to our GDP if the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration toys with the issue of an economic regulator.

The sector’s current contribution to our National GDP is less than 1 per cent. Sarumi who was at various times the Executive Secretary/ CEO of Nigerian Shippers Council and Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, raised the alarm Monday at a Public Hearing of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Repeal and Enactment of the Shippers’ Council and Economic Regulatory Bill conducted by the House of Representatives Committee on Shipping Services and Committee on Ports and Harbour.

The former NPA helmsman said it was totally unacceptable that while sectors like banking and finance, Oil and Gas, Communication, Electricity and Energy, etc. were fully regulated by Regulatory agencies such as the CBN, NCC,NERC, the down stream and upstream , for example, the Shipping and Maritime services remained ‘ a largely an Unregulated and ungoverned Space with operators ‘ doing whatever they like ‘. He said:” When the Nigerian Ports were concessioned in 2006 , I had a marching order from then President Olusegun Obasanjo to follow through with a Regulatory Agency, but regrettably, we couldn’t conclude process before the Administration left office. I can remember vividly that both Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Mohammedu Buhari rolled out Excutive Orders which named the Nigerian Shippers Council as Port Economic Regulator, but as we all know, these orders lack the full weight of the law without a seal by an Act of Parliament”, he said . In his remarks, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Chief Adegboya Oyetola , said the creation of a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was a clear indication of his commitment to changing the fortunes of the Sector for the better. Oyetola who spoke through his Permanent Secretary assured members of the Committee that his Ministry supported the passage of the bill . Earlier, the Sponsor of the bill and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr Tajudeen Abbass , had warned that with the passage of the Nigerian Shipping and Ports and Regulatory Agency Bill , 2024, it would no longer be business as usual for those who saw our ports ” as no man’s land”. He urged Stakeholders to come up with useful information and suggestions that would help reshape the face of the shipping Sector.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr Pius Akutah ,in his submission at the hearing explained that the proposed Nigerian Shipping and Ports Economic Regulatory Agency , will among other things, establish a regulatory framework for the effective and efficient economic regulation of regulated Services and related activities, for the control of tariffs, rates and charges to guard against arbitrariness.

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