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Government grants duty waiver to indigenous ship owners on vessels, ship parts.

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Abiola Seun

As part of efforts to boost indigenous shipping in Nigeria, the Federal Government was concluding plans to grant zero import duties on vessels and ship parts.

This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, at the maiden edition of Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS).

Jamoh noted that the approval is currently before the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, even as the NIMASA boss expressed optimism that the announcement will be made soon.

The NIMASA boss said that the fiscal policy is long overdue, noting that the government has made similar incentives for manufacturers, airline operators, among other sectors.

According to Jamoh, as buttressed by the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi a fortnight ago, there is also a dire need for the Nigerian maritime sector to be more united in a bid to advocate for issues of common interests and benefits to the nation.

Also speaking, the immediate-past Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele stressed that Nigeria should pick an area of specialization within the maritime sector.

According to him, Asian nations are leading various aspects of shipping as Phillippines lead in seafaring, Singapore a hub for connectivity via ports, while Japan and China are among the top three ship owning nations.

He stressed that African nations should start by exploring their most advantageous areas in the maritime sector before addressing other areas of high value for their economies.

 He  however observed that the change in trade terms for the export of Nigerian crude oil from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) would change the significance of maritime to the nation’s economy.

In her welcome speech, the Chairperson of the NIMS, Barr. Mfon Usoro stressed the need to bring all necessary ministries together in bid to get them in sync to adopt a holistic maritime national strategy.

According to her, a whole government approach to adopt the maritime industry growth is key to attaining the anticipated goals of the shipping sector.

“How can we have Nigerians that own vessels but choose to use the shipping registries of other nations?

“This summit focuses the attention of policy makers, regulators and the industry operators on a critical segment that some consider the substratum for economic growth, the centerpiece for commerce, security and indeed livelihood,” she said.

Also speaking at the summit, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime encouraged the participants at the conference to deliberate on how Nigeria could boost its economy and create massive opportunities for employment within the maritime sector.

Jime posited that 60 percent of Nigeria’s population of 200million are youths and the nation also has a huge economy that ranks 20th in the world by trade volume, stressing that these indices show that the nation could be become a maritime hub in the African region.

On his part, the Chairman of Starz Group, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun said that he was delighted with the development that imported vessels will enjoy fiscal incentive of zero import duties.

He, however, argued that the nation and NIMASA make effort to address issues which have seen other operators choose to register their vessels outside the country.

Ogbeifun also encouraged NIMASA to have frequent meetings with shipowners and other stakeholders in the shipping sector after the Registrar of Ships, NIMASA, Mrs. Nneka Obianyor stated that the last engagement with stakeholders was in February 2020.

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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