Legal Framework for Cabotage Regime in Nigeria: Making a Case for Reform Initiatives

  •  Amarachi R. Dike    
  •  Oluchukwu P. Obioma    
  •  Ngozi J. C. Ezema    
  •  Joy O. Nnani    
  •  Ebele I. Chinelo    


Nigeria's cabotage regime is critical to supporting indigenous involvement and growth in the marine sector. This paper investigates the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003, the legal framework controlling Nigeria's cabotage regime, and makes a case for reform proposals targeted at improving its efficacy in encouraging Nigerian shipping, shipbuilding, and other marine businesses and addressing existing issues. It investigates the current framework's strengths and shortcomings, indicating areas that require adjustment to fulfil the cabotage regime's planned objectives. It also examines key issues such as a lack of local capacity, a limping legal framework, insufficient enforcement, ambiguities in the legal provisions, a lack of capacity building, and limited access to funding that impede the effective implementation of the cabotage regime. The principal results of this study are the recommendation of broad reform initiatives such as enforcement procedures, institutional coordination, capacity-building programmes, financial incentives, and the promotion of shipbuilding and ship repair infrastructure to solve these difficulties and encourage long-term growth in Nigeria's marine industry. This study calls for a comprehensive strategy for reforming the legislative structure controlling Nigeria's cabotage regime. It emphasises the significance of stakeholder engagement, effective enforcement, and focused policy interventions to improve indigenous involvement, encourage economic development, and increase Nigeria's standing in the global marine industry. A major conclusion of this paper is that where these proposed reforms are implemented, they will provide a favourable climate for Nigerian shipowners, seafarers, and allied industries to prosper, thereby contributing to the nation's maritime sector's growth and sustainability.

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