The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has refuted the claim that it grants waiver to foreign shipping companies operating in Nigeria and an allegation of bias for international shipping firms bringing petroleum products into Nigeria.
Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA’s director-general, told the Senate Committee on Local Content on Wednesday his organisation was empowered to only process waivers and not to grant it within the purview of the cabotage act.
The panel is undertaking an inquiry into a purported violation of statutory regulations and provisions involving the maritime sector.
“The operation of the cabotage act provides that NIMASA has the responsibility under Section 5 (2) to 5 (4) to process waiver and not to grant waiver. NIMASA never grants waiver, but only processes waiver,” the NIMASA boss said.
“If we process, we send it to the ministry of transportation for the minister’s consideration and approval, and to the best of my knowledge, for over 15 years, no minister has granted a waiver.
“In the entire Africa, only Nigeria allows the trading of single whole vessel. The president is aware of this and when I came in, I issued marine notice that by 31st of December we will no longer certify single whole vessel. This is because if you want to trade, nobody would accept that particular vessel. That is number one.”
The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria had on Tuesday through its president, Mkgeorge Onyung, claimed that favouritism was shown to foreign shipping companies in contravention of maritime laws and at the expense of their of their Nigerian counterparts.
Teslim Folarin, chair of the Senate committee said “the whole essence of this investigative hearing is not to trade blames.
“We understand that they don’t have enough vessels; they don’t have capacity, but the capacity cannot come from heaven.”