The House of Representatives in Nigeria has decided to investigate the low implementation of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003, which is causing an annual loss of $100 billion. The Act was introduced to promote the development of indigenous tonnage and establish a vessel financing fund, as well as stimulate indigenous shipping companies for participation in Sub-Saharan shipping activities. However, after 20 years, the shipping trade is still dominated by foreign-owned vessels. The House has adopted a motion to probe the poor implementation of the law, with concerns about the impact on the economy and job creation.
The motion was moved by Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, who highlighted the objective of the Act to protect indigenous shipping companies and create economic and employment opportunities for Nigerians in the maritime sector. At a recent event, it was revealed that the nation’s maritime industry is losing $100 billion annually due to the government’s failure to implement the Cabotage Act. The Secretary General of the Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria also noted that many jobs intended for Nigerian seafarers are being occupied by foreigners, leaving 80% of Nigerian seafarers unemployed. The full implementation of the Cabotage Act is seen as a solution to creating thousands of jobs for Nigerians.
The House has mandated the relevant committee to investigate the low implementation of the Cabotage Act and report back within four weeks. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, and other entities involved in maritime activities will be scrutinized. The aim is to address the threat to the nation’s economy and job creation caused by the lack of implementation of the Act.