New Laws Required to Harness Blue Economy’s N7tr Potential

New Laws Required to Harness Blue Economy’s N7tr Potential

There are calls for the review and amendment of the obsolete maritime agencies’ laws and regulations promoting foreign illegalities and hindering the sector’s alignment with the newly established Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

These outdated laws and regulations further hinder Nigeria from enjoying the N7 trillion benefits from the numerous potentials of the blue economy.
The agencies with obsolete laws include the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerians Shippers Council (NSC), the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron.

This is just as the Fisheries Act still allows Ghana and perpetrators of Illegal Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) Fishing in West Africa to continuously plunder Nigerian waterways as there is no regulation adequate to deter them from committing the offense.

The calls were made during a capacity-building workshop organised by NIMASA for members of the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration in Lagos.

The theme of the workshop was: “Harnessing the Nation’s Blue Economy, A Legislative Approach.” In her presentation titled: “Legal Requirement for Nigeria’s Blue Economy,” the lead speaker, Mrs. Jean Chiazor-Anishere, said there are no laws protecting illegal fishing or imported fisheries as it falls under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which does not exist.

She said there was a need to review the Fisheries Act, which punishes perpetrators of poaching on the nation’s territorial waters as well as the owner of a craft that failed to license it with a fine of N500 or six months imprisonment.

Chiazor-Anishere, who is also a maritime lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), noted that most of the existing laws of regulatory agencies in the maritime sector cannot function under the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy unless they are amended.

She stressed the need to review the laws, pointing out that despite being under the jurisdiction of the marine and blue economy ministry, the Acts are still supervised by the Minister of Transportation.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, in his presentation, stressed the need for an enabling legal environment, particularly with the linkages between the blue economy and industries like oil and gas, financial sector, hospitality, engineering, mining, waterway transportation, among others that dovetail into national development.

Responding, the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Uduak Ududoh, assured that the committee, with the support of the National Assembly, will expedite the amendment of the NIMASA Act and other obsolete, including the cabotage and fisheries act to unlock the economic potential of Nigeria’s maritime resources.