Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed the Bill to Regulate Maritime Sector Operations in the State.
The bill, which has been forwarded to the governor for accent, was passed by the legislature following a submission of report by the Chairman Joint Committees on Petroleum, Economic Planning and Development, Works and Transport Hon. Asuquo Archibong.
The bill was sponsored by Rt. Hon Usoro Akpanusoh (PDP-Esit Eket/Ibeno state constituency).
Passing the bill, the lawmakers observed that it had become imperative for the state to intervene in the state’s maritime sector to address safety, security and environmental concerns.
They also agreed that the bill will generate economic benefits as it was capable of generating employment opportunities for indigenes of the state, and as well boost the state’s revenue base.
The Bill will ensure that every oil exploration and production company operating major or marginal fields within the state shall open and maintain a functional office in the state.
The law also stipulated that “every company engaged in or intending to do maritime-related business with any oil company operating within the state territorial waters shall, provide evidence of substantial engagement of indigenes of Akwa Ibom State by the company and be registered with the Ministry (related to transportation and Petroleum matters)”.
Clause 2 of the Bill stated that “Every person whose vessel is used for oil/gas prospecting, exploration and production, drilling, storage, accommodation, lifting of crude oil, refining, personnel movement, and other marine activities within the state territorial waters must be registered with the Ministry before commencing their operations”
The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House Assembly, Rt Hon Onofiok Luke saluted the sponsor of the Bill for his courage and foresight.
He thanked the Chairman and members of the Joint committee and members of the House for their dedication and commitment to duty in ensuring the smooth passage of the bill.
Listing the benefits of the Maritime Sector Regulation bill, the Speaker expressed hope that the law passed by the House will prevent tax evasion in the maritime sector and would as well introduce transparency and accountability in the process of revenue collection.
“This is to further demonstrate our commitment to boosting the revenue of our state through ensuring that we make laws which would protect the financial rights of Akwa Ibom State as we deepen our relationship with business partners and open our doors to new business opportunities.
“It is part of our legislative agenda to boost the IGR of our state”.
The Maritime sector Regulations Law takes effect immediately.