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This is time to replace obsolete maritime laws, Amaechi tells lawmakers

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has revealed that the major challenge militating against the smooth operations of maritime business remains the existence of moribund laws and regulations guiding the management and operations of the industry.

Speaking in Abuja during a two-day retreat organised by the House of Reps Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies, Amaechi said time has come for the amendment and review of all maritime laws and Acts so as to position them to serve current purposes and realities.

The Minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, said “in this respect, some state governments had enacted legislations which were in conflict with the powers conferred on the Federal Government for the management and operations of ports and the inland waterways”.

Besides, the ministry required the support of members of the Committees in the House of Representatives and the National Assembly for adequate allocation of annual budgets to implement maritime projects and programmes.

Amaechi reasoned that the beauty of the workshop is that it has enabled honourable members to have a fair knowledge of the operations and management of the maritime sector, saying the knowledge so garnered will shape their minds in appropriating the required allocation for strategic maritime schemes.

The ministry, with the agencies, sees the retreat as an opportunity to further deepen the existing good relations between the Ministry and the National Assembly, particularly the House Committees in charge of the maritime sector.

In his message, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara said he was aware of the merits of Transport Sector Reform Bill pending before the National Assembly.

“These Bills include: the Port and Harbour, Nigerian Railway Corporation Act Amendment, NBIWA Act Amendment, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Act, and the National Transport Commission.”

Dogara noted that the bills were all vigorously processed for passage into laws as part of the legislative agenda of the eight Assembly of the House of Representatives and as a veritable tool to get our economy out of recession as soon as possible.