Cabotage: Okuwashi urges FG to stop granting waivers

The Rector, Certified Institute of Shipping (CIS), Prof. Alex Okuwashi has asked the federal government to stop issuing waivers to foreign ships to operate in the country waters if it wants the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003, otherwise known as the Cabotage Act, to work.

Okuwashi disclosed this to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office yesterday .

He said if the government does not stop granting waivers to foreign ships, the aim of the Act would be defeated.

“The regime of waiver should cease because after 13 years of cabotage implementation in Nigeria, foreign ships still infest our waters. So indegeneous should be allowed to take over our water in order to develop our industry.

“Even if government continues granting waiver for another forty years it will be the same and this will continue to hinder the success on the Act.

“I think government is giving waiver in a capacity of where they think the country have no technology to handle and that is not a bad thing to do but the regime of waiver should cease after 13 years of cabotage, indegeneous firm should be asked to take over,” he said.

Also, Okuwashi advised the Federal Government to create shipping curriculum that would be used to build capacity for the industry.

He said the Cabotage regime failed because it had no structure to operate on.

“It is unfortunate that several years after independence, Nigeria still doesn’t have a curriculum for shipping. So the government should develop a curriculum where shipping can be taught in polytechnics, universities and other institutions across the country.

“Government also needs to create enabling accreditation, licences and certification to institutions so that students who graduate from those schools will have valued certificates.

“It is unfortnate that we don’t have schools running maritime. It is also unfortunate that government refuses to upgrade Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron to a degree awarding institution,” he said.

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