The Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMoT) on Tuesday disagreed with the proposed amendment of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007 that states that the agency will provide 12 per cent of its revenue to the Nigerian Maritime University, (NMU) located in Okerenkoko, Delta State.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, while speaking at the National Assembly during the public hearing on the amendment of the NIMASA Act 2007, Inland and Coastal Shipping Act and the repeal of the Merchant Shipping Act 2017, by the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration headed by Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu stated that the FMOT kicked against the 12 per cent allocation of NIMASA revenue to NMU because the university, like every other university, has access to funds appropriated by the National Assembly on an annual basis.
The Minister who was represented by the Director, Legal Service of the FMOT, Paul Oteh, said, “The ministry does not support this amendment as the proposal is not only excessive but is equally not cognizant of the diverse other responsibilities of NIMASA, which require the deployment of its revenues in an increasingly challenging fiscal environment.
“The proposal, in our view, also does not recognise the fact that the university, like other public institutions under the supervision of the NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education, is ordinarily entitled to public funds as may be appropriated by the National Assembly on an annual basis.”
The Minister, however, stated that the bill will ensure that NIMASA becomes a more efficient and responsive regulatory agency able to better discharge its responsibilities within the domestic regulatory space.
He also disclosed that the ministry supports the retention of the roles and powers of the minister to grant waivers and other responsibilities.
He said, “The Ministry notes and supports the retention of the roles and powers of the Minister under Sections 9, 10, 11 and 14 among others in relation to the granting of waivers, among other responsibilities.
“While it is desirable to ease the regulatory process through the apparent delegation of some ministerial functions to the Agency, it is posited that the present provisions in the Act, suffice to provide a healthy balance between administrative discretion and political support.
“I am to also state that the intendment of the CVFF was to make it an independent fund free as much as possible, from the rigours of government bureaucracy in order to make it easily accessible to eligible contributors to the Fund.
“The Ministry will therefore support the retention of the present Section 44 of the act to enable the funds to be deposited in commercial banks, rather than the Central Bank, and as proposed in the present bill and administered under guidelines that shall be proposed by the minister and approved by the National Assembly.”