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Nigerian maritime reforms to encourage Foreign Direct Investment – Dakuku

     …Set to Establish
International Arbitration Centre

Director-General of Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside (middle),
flanked by Mr Osei Mitchell (right), and Steve Cameron of African and Maritime
Markets (left), during the West African Shipping Summit, a sideline to the London International Shipping Week

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, says policies
of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the maritime industry are targeted at
encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the sector.

 Dakuku stated this
while addressing delegates at the West African Shipping Summit, a side event of
the International Shipping Week.
He disclosed that Nigeria was to set up an International
Maritime Arbitration Centre in Lagos. This, he explained, is to facilitate the
timely resolution of disputes within the Gulf of Guinea area and significantly
reduce ­the current trend where maritime players in the region head to London,
Dubai or Singapore for arbitration on maritime issues.
The NIMASA DG assured his audience, which included key
players in the global maritime industry, that the reforms in the Nigerian
maritime sector were opening up vast opportunities in the industry and invited
investors to take advantage of them.
He said, “I believe that the Nigerian maritime
environment has the largest potential. With a population of about 200 million,
which represents over half of the entire population of West Africa, potentials
in shipbuilding and ship repair are available.
“In the next five years, vessels built outside Nigeria
will not be allowed to participate in Cabotage trade. So you are all invited to
come and invest in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in Nigeria.”
Dakuku also disclosed that the Nigerian Ship registry
was being reformed to make it more attractive by having provisions for both
national and international players.
“We are also reforming the Nigerian ship registry. The
bigger picture is that over time, we are going to have dual ship registry,
which will effectively take care of national interest and international
interest. It will make it more dynamic, more responsive and it will be one of
the most business-friendly registries in the world,” he said.
On his part, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral
Ibok Ette-Ibas, who was represented at the event by the Chief of Policy and
Plans of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Begroy Enyinna Ibe-Enwo, noted that
the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act recently signed into
law by President Muhammadu Buhari would surely curtail the activities of
criminals on Nigerian waters.
“The anti-piracy bill signed by President Buhari will
surely curtail the excesses of syndicates who profit from sponsoring
criminalities in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
Ette-Ibas also declared that Nigerian waters were safe
for investment and regional collaboration among navies in the region, saying
the Yaoundé 2013 declaration has greatly enhanced patrol of the entire maritime
domain in the Gulf of Guinea. He pointed to the steady decline of incidents of
piracy in Nigerian waters over the past four years as a confirmation that
Nigerian waters are safe for business.
CEO of the African Risk Compliance Limited, Micheal
Wingtage, who said he was conversant with the Nigerian maritime domain, noted
that the challenge of information management concerning security in the Gulf of
Guinea was real.
Wingtage said, “Not all of Nigerian waters are unsafe.
The challenges are there but in most cases it’s exaggerated, thus, creating a
myth of insecurity. So much has been done by Nigerian government and the
international community needs to appreciate this.”
Akabogu Law organised the West African Shipping Summit,
in partnership with the London International Shipping Week, and it was attended
by stakeholders from different countries.

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