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Senate moves against illegal influx of foreign vessels into Nigeria’s territory  

The Senate on Wednesday mandated its Committees on Local Content Legislative Compliance and Petroleum Downstream to investigate the influx of foreign vessels into Nigeria’s coastal region and the level of patronage of Nigerian shipping companies.

The upper chamber directed the committees to investigate the flagrant abuse of the NOGICD Act 2010 and Cabotage Act 2003 respectively, by operators and stakeholders in the Maritime Industry.

The Senate also resolved to dig into foreign ship owners of freight associated with downstream activities repatriated overseas by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the detriment of the economy.

These were resolutions reached by the upper chamber sequel to the consideration of a motion on the “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.”

Sponsor of the motion, Senator Olalekan Mustapaha (APC, Ogun East), noted that the National Content (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.

According to the lawmaker, “The influx of foreign vessels into the Nigerian downstream sector is alarming against the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 which clearly restricts vessels engaged in domestic coastal trade.”

He added, “Only wholly-owned, manned and registered Nigerian vessels can engage in the domestic coastal carriage of Petroleum products within the Territorial and Inland Waterways.”

Senator Mustapha said that over the last fifteen years, indigenous tonnage capacity and coastal shipping capabilities have grown exponentially with Nigerian operators owning multiple tanker vessels in their fleet.

The lawmaker stated that though NNPC is the largest employer of downstream shipping services in Africa, the corporation’s activities in terms of opportunities and indigenous capacities have not been enhanced.

He stated that the Capital freight spent by NNPC through Direct Sale of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase of Petroleum Product (DSDP) is approximately USD$60 million monthly to about USD$720 million annually.

“The value of DSDP for 2019/2020 contract period is at the range of USD$9 billion, out of which foreign ship-owners amount for one hundred percent of freight associated with this downstream activity, most of which is repatriated overseas to the detriment of the Nigerian economy”, Senator Mustapha lamented.

The lawmaker added that the lack of Contract of Carriage and the absence of guaranteed cargo tonnage in the Maritime Industry have led to significant loses and collapsed of domestic and indigenous shipping.

Consequently, the Senate, in its resolutions, mandated its Committees on Local Content; Petroleum (Downstream); and Legislative Compliance to investigate the reasons for the dominance of foreign vessels above locally owned, manned and registered vessels in the domestic carriage of petroleum products within the coastal territory and Inland waterways of Nigeria.

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
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