Reps consider Bill to stop foreign vessels in Inland business

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A bill for an act to restrict the use of foreign vessels in domestic coastal and inland commercial activities on Thursday scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill which seeks to promote the development of indigenous tonnage and establish a Cabotage Vessel financing fund was sponsored by Representative Lynda Ikpeazu (PDP Enugu) and will amend the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, Cabotage, 2003.

The lawmaker said if passed, it would make operations in the sector smoother and ensure good financing funding in the sector.

Ikpeazu identified a number of challenges in the sector, which included the unknown number of vessels operating in the sector, restrictions in operations inadequate compliance with the provisions of the Act, among others.

The Bill is aimed at addressing the challenges in the current regime noting that amending the Act is the way out. She also noted that the amendment would bring about innovations on how things are done.

she says the amendment seeks to also review upwards, the fines and penalties associated with violations of any of the related laws.

The Bill was unanimously adopted for second reading when put to voice vote by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila. It was referred to the Committee on Maritime Safety and Administration.

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