Responding to the question posed by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on the success or otherwise of the Cabotage Act, 10 years after its enactment, leading maritime lawyer and former President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, Nigeria Chapter (WISTA-Nigeria), Funke Agbor, has blamed government inconsistency and lack of commitment for whatever lapses in the nation’s Cabotage regime.
While she said that “it’s quite an achievement to have the law in place at all, given how difficult it has become in recent years to pass any really significant bills into law”, Agbor noted: ” The cabotage policy and regime which the cabotage law created cannot be implemented by NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) alone. There are number of agencies that need to work seamlessly in order for any long lasting policies to survive and be successfully implemented. If every government agency is only looking to ensure that it stays relevant and exists only so its board and staff remain in their jobs, then there will be no gains for the Nigerians the cabotage law is seeking to empower.”
She went on: “Many other countries have cabotage regimes retaining exclusivity for its nationals in inland transportation; Nigeria is no different. Our people have the same aspirations but government policy is not consistent, there is no real commitment to the ultimate objective of the policy only threats and scare tactics even as between the government agencies. If government is truly committed, I have no doubt in my mind that the law will achieve it goal.”
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