NIMASA set to regulate submarine cable, pipeline operations

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) said it has entered into an agreement with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to develop a regulatory framework that will provide operational guidelines for submarine cable and pipeline operators in Nigeria.

The officials of both organisations reached the agreement at a pre-audit meeting on submarine cable regulation held in Lagos recently, which had Dasuki Arabi, the director general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in attendance.

They also agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.

Bashir Jamoh, the director general of NIMASA, who chaired the meeting, said the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing international conventions that are ratified and domesticated in Nigeria.

Pointing out Nigeria, which is now a destination for global communication players, said is time for Nigeria to prevent the burying of unregulated underwater cable capable of becoming hazardous to shipping.

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According to him, the burying of the marine cable has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters and the focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping on Nigerian waters despite the laid underwater cables.

“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We do not just implement laws; we consult because where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another start. Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this,” Jamoh explained.

On his part, Umar Garba Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of the NCC, who was represented by Efosa Idehen, the director of Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, said the dialogue strategy with stakeholders, adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines, would ensure a win-win situation for all.

He urged NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice in the dialogue, a request that NIMASA DG granted immediately.

Also speaking, Dasuki Arabi, the director general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective inter-agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.

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