A former Chairman, House Ad-hoc Committee on Maritime Security, West Idahosa on Friday called for a review of Nigeria’s maritime policies for the benefit of indigenous operators.
Idahosa made the call in Lagos.
He said maritime policies, especially the Cabotage Act, must be evaluated based on three critical factors of national capabilities, availability of qualified manpower and global best practices.
According to Idahosa it is important to know what has happened to indigenous participants’ capacity to compete with global competitors since the Cabotage law was enacted.
“We must find out the percentage growth to the degree of participation by indigenous ship owners in the sector since the passage of the Cabotage law,” he said.
Idahosa said the international nature of maritime trade made it imperative to operate on the same level with the rest of the world with necessary infrastructure.
“I know the Cabotage law was largely meant to promote growth of indigenous entrepreneurship and give a sense of economic support to those who have invested in such a major sector of the economy.
“I do not think the advantage can come, given the fact that Nigeria does not have, to the best of my knowledge, more than one or two shipyards.
“I know that Nigerdock is there and a few dockyards around to possibly do minor and pedestrian ship repairs.
“But I think that when it comes to major assemblage of ships, you have to defer to America, China, Germany, South Korea, even Singapore,” Idahosa said.
He said that since the Cabotage law was meant to promote Nigerian-owned vessels, it was important to define the ownership being referred to.
“Is it ownership by presence? Is it ownership commercially by purchase? Is it ownership by assemblage? Is it ownership by flagging? These are the various issues,” Idahosa said.
He suggested that the Cabotage law be reviewed in order to make adjustments and align with time to avoid operational difficulties.
Idahosa suggested more private sector initiatives in realisation of the objectives of the Cabotage law.
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