The House of Representatives Committee on Shipping Service, on Thursday, advocated  the establishment of a maritime bank for the development of the nation’s shipping industry.

This is even as Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NCS) seeks an approval for the 1 per cent freight stabilisation fee statutorily embedded in the Council’s act.

The chairman of the committee, Abdulsamad Dasuki, hinted that creating maritime bank will stop capital flight in the country.  He disclosed this when he paid an oversight visit to the Council’s headquarters in Lagos.

He revealed that the committee was planning to have a meeting with the shipowners for effective service delivery in the country.

“The committee is looking at the possibilities of establishing maritime bank so that the maritime sector will have its own bank and the shipowners will have their bank as this will help stop capital flight,” he said.

Dasuki, further stated that the bill to give the council backing as port economic regulator has passed second reading in the house of representatives, adding that the bill will be a catalyst for changing the nation’s economy.

saying the council will perform exceptionally when the bill is passed into law.

“We have taken note of most of the issues you highlighted, the successes and challenges. The NSC is the port economic regulator which is operating with regulation and by God grace the bill to make the agency a true regulator has passed the second reading and we will soon call for public hearing, that bill will be catalyst for changing the economy. Also, Shippers’ council will do better when the law is passed,” Dasuki stated.

The committee chairman also spoke about the one percent freight stabilisation fund, saying, “we have taken note as well of the current issues that are happening with Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF), with 50 percent of your revenue and you will get support to get the fund due to your agency. We expect you to deliver more and bring more money to Nigeria. You said NSC will ensure that the GDP of Nigeria go up through your contributions by end of 2024.”

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Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Pius Ukeyima Akutah, sought the support of the House of Representatives Committee on Shipping Service on getting approval for the 1 per cent freight stabilisation fee statutorily embedded in the council’s act.

Akutah, said once the Oronsaye report is fully implemented, the council will no more get their statutory 2 per cent share from the 7 per cent Port Development Levy.

“There is a need for us to implement our statutory funding, which is the 1 per cent Freight Stabilisation Fee. I think this is very pivotal at this time that the Oronsaye Report is being implemented. Once the Oronsaye report is implemented, the 7 per cent Port Development Levy which the Shippers Council gets 2 per cent from, may no longer be available. So, I think we need to work very hard to ensure that the Nigerian Shippers Council funding position is secured.”

Akutah also disclosed that since the council’s mandate has been expanded to be the port economic regulator, there is need for a law that will back up its new mandate.

According to him, the council has been at the fire front of facilitating trade and also ensuring efficiency of the port for business to thrive and for government to make more money.

‘’Today is a very important day, first of its kind especially since I resumed here. The mandate of the council has been expanded and we are to do more as Port economic regulator. We have a lot to do to regulate the sector and President Bola Tinubu, has created ministry of Marine and Blue Economy with the mindset to focus on blue Economy and to diversify nations economy from crude. Our mandate is to facilitate trade and ensure efficiency of the port for business to thrive and for the nation to make more money,create opportunities for youth empowerment, job creation and others.

“And now that we have a committee for shipping service and with their collaboration, we will see rapid development in the sector. We are grateful to receive you today and we know that the impact of the visit will live with us for a long time. We need to contribute to the GDP and the nation’s economy and to achieve this, we need your protection.

“We have some bills before the national assembly such as repealing the council act to be Port economic regulator and you have tried to see to the passage, the bill is operational to carry out our mandate because without it, it will be difficult for us to achieve our mandate,” he said.