Wednesday, June 19Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine
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PORTS ECONOMIC REGULATOR BILL: NIMASA,NPA , NIG SHIPPERS COUNCIL MEET TO HARMONIZE POSITIONS….Adeyanju, Akabogu, Hassan Bello, say bill long overdue.

Indications were rife weekend that Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and the Nigerian Shippers Council may have met to harmonize a common position on the proposed Nigerian Shipping and Ports Economic Regulator Agency bill currently before the House of Representatives. Usually dependable sources at the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy who confided in Shipping World said those who attended the meeting last weekend in Abuja included Dr Dayo Mobereola, Barr Pius Akutah and an Executive Director at the NPA who represented Mohammed Bello Koko. Although the outcome of deliberations were not made public, this magazine learned that the meeting was meant to address the perceived inter agency rivalry among parastatals in the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

We learnt on good authority that Minister Adegboyega Oyetola was becoming increasingly worried about the seeming infighting amongst heads of MDAs in his Ministry and directed them to come to a round table . Although, the meeting was presided over by Mr Oloruntola Olufemi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, the message to the CEOs was without any ambiguity, ‘ any CEO found to be sabotaging the passage of this bill should be prepared for exit gate’ , Oyetola was said to have warned. Our investigations have revealed palpable fears in some quarters that the new Agency may take away their powers.

Shipping World was told that decision reached at the weekend meeting was binding and would be conveyed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, this week, as the official position of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy. But speaking at the Public Hearing of the bill a fortnight ago, Chairman of the House Committee on Shipping Services and Related matters, Alhaji Abdusammad Dasuki, had cautioned that the bill was in the overall interest of Nigerians and should not be seen as an attempt to encroach on any one’s territory . Said Dasuki: “,This is not an issue of taking a job from player ‘ A’ to player ‘ B’, this bill is meant to make the sector better, not to make one Agency superior to the other.

In his remarks, President General of the Maritime Workers Union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said the bill was long over due, and that it was totally unacceptable that this very important sector has no regulator, as is the case in other climes. Adeyanju thanked the Speaker of the House of Representatives for initiating the bill and appealed to all Stakeholders to support the bill. Also, in his contributions during the Public hearing , a former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, said the bill couldn’t have come at a better time and urged Stakeholders to support the bill.

A renowned Maritime Lawyer, Dr Emeka Akabogu , made a case for an expeditious passage of the bill . He described the bill as the ” life and blood” of the Sector and asked Nigerian Ports Authority to stop parading itself as the Ports Economic Regulator. Akabogu however called for the inclusion of more professionals in the Composition of the proposed board of the new Agency.

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