By Raphael Ekpang

The Senate on Wednesday mandated its committee on local content and petroleum down stream, t.o carry out an investigation and unravel influx of foreign vessels in the coastal region.

The committee is also expected to determine the level of patronage of Nigerian shipping companies.

However, the debates seeks to probe why foreign vessels dominate above locally owned, manned and registered vessels in the domestic carriage of petroleum products within the coastal territory and inland waterways of Nigeria.

In a motion sponsored by Senator Ramoni Mustapha (Ogun East) and co-sponsored by 10 others, sought to investigate flagrant abuse of the NOGICD Act  2010 and Cabotage Act 2003 respectively, by the operators and stakeholders in the maritime industry, through ship-ship transfer with coastal foreign vessel.

The motion titled: “Urgent need to investigate the breach of Nigerian laws by Foreign vessels in coastal shipping of petroleum products in downstream sector of the Nigerian maritime industry”, the lawmakers resolved to probe foreign ship owners of freight associated with downstream activities repatriated overseas by NNPC to the detriment of the local economy or patronage.

Leading the debate on the motion, Senator Mustapha noted that “the NOGICD Act 2010 was enacted to promote value addition to the National economy by stimulating growth and industrial development in the oil and gas sector of the economy”.

He said “Section 105 of the NOGICD Act, grants powers of enforcement to both Nigerian content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA) as matters pertaining to Nigerian Content Development in the coastal and inland shipping sector of the maritime industry.

“Lack of contract of carriage and the absence of guaranteed cargo tonnage in the maritime industry have led to significant losses and collapse of domestic and indigenous shipping” Mustapha said.

Consequently, the Senate resolved to also investigate the actions of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in ensuring participation of indigenous companies in the freight of petroleum products, in line with the provisions of presidential executive order 5 (2018).

Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun central) while seconding the motion urged the senate to support the motion, saying it “will support capacity building initiative, create employment and will help in transferring technology”.

Meanwhile Senator Ajibola Basiru (Osun Central) also expressed expeditious approval of the motion.

“Nigeria is a maritime state, and one of the benefits of been a maritime state is to have the necessary capacity in the industry to be able to tap the God endowed resources.

“In terms of technology there is a need for Nigerians to be actively involve in that important area, particularly as it relates to oil and gas sector and also the maritime industry” Basiru said.

 

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