SOAN Expo: Gbajabiamila Stresses Huge Potential of Shipping, Pledges Patnership with Stakeholders

Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the House of the Representative

By Sandra Chukwunyere

The National Assembly recognizes the huge potential of the shipping industry in turning around the economy for steady growth and would work closely with private stakeholders to fully develop the industry as well as ensure compliance with regulations..The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila stressed the point at the First Shipping Expo organized by the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) in Lagos.
Gbajabiamila who noted that the shipping industry accounts for as much as 90 percent of international trade, commended Nigerian shippers for job well done in taking advantage of the opportunities inherent to accelerate job creation, but said a lot still needed to be done.
He commended SOAN for organizing the “extraordinary” event, pledging that as a partner in progress, the House of Representatives was fully committed to coming up with Bills as well as accelerating passage of existing ones, towards moving the shipping industry forward, even as he solicited the cooperation of shippers to expose unethical practices.
His words “Let me commend the ship Owners Association of Nigeria for organizing this extraordinary event which showcases the vital and pivotal role of the shipping value chain across the full spectrum, not just of our national economy but indeed the global economy accounting directly or indirectly for 90 percent of the global international trade. 
“Please be assured of the full support of the House of Representatives. We will not betray your mandate. There will be zero tolerance for violations of NOGIC Act. As we seek to fine tune the act to strengthen it and incorporate other sectors of the economy, we call on all stakeholders to work with us to report and expose violations. We will ensure appropriate sanctions are applied”.“On the eve of major upcoming legislative interventions: the amendment of the Nigerian Content Act, the Finance Bill 2019 and the Petroleum Industry Bill, I must confess , the timing of this event is impeccable.
“The National Assembly shares a special bond with the maritime industry. We are partners in progress. The real story of the Cabotage Act 2003 and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act 2010 is that they were both Private Members Bills. They vividly demonstrated the commitment and determination of the extraordinary Nigerians in the Maritime industry who were able to take advantage of these legislation and use them to successfully transform their industry into a multidimensional enabler actively supporting several critical sectors of our economy and employing thousands of Nigerians.
 They clearly established the value of the partnership of legislation and entrepreneurship in the successful implementation of policies. “We are proud of you. You have done well, but I am sure you will agree with me when I stated that we were barely scratching the surface of the potential of this industry. A lot more needs to be done to incentivie local investments in the sector”, said 
Gbajabiamila who was represented at the occasion by a Member of the Committee on Local Content Development and Monitoring, Mr. Legor Idagbo.
He announced a plan by the House to hold a Local Content Summit in the first quarter of 2020, to share ideas and chart the way forwards towards enhancing local content across all sectors of the economy,

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