The Federal Government has removed import duty on the importation of ships and their spare parts as an incentive to inspire the growth and development of indigenous shipping.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety, Dr Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this at the Nigeria International Maritime Summit.
Jamoh disclosed that the Presidency had heeded the industry’s plea for incentives to enhance the local shipping capacity. He added that the Federal Ministry of Transportation would formally announce the approval in due time.
He said, “When I assumed office as the Director-General of NIMASA, I deliberately worked on two incentives for the maritime sector and one of them is fiscal incentives for the shipping industry. Today, the incentive has been granted and I have the memo with me but we are still waiting for the announcement from the Ministry of Transportation, which we believe will happen soon.”
The NIMASA helmsman noted that extension of incentives through fiscal policy was long overdue and that the Federal Government had made similar incentives for rail transport, manufacturers, airline operators among other sectors.
The Chairperson of, NIMS Advisory Board, Mrs Mfon Usoro, argued that a holistic national maritime strategy was imperative for the growth of the sector.
In her submissions, She asked rhetorically that, “how can we have Nigerians that own vessels but choose to use the shipping registries of other nations?”
Mfon Usoro said the summit objective was to “call the attention of policy makers, regulators and the industry operators to a critical segment considered as the substratum for economic growth, the center piece for commerce, security and indeed livelihood.
The former Director-General, DG, NIMASA, Mr Temisan Omatseye, said there was a need for more conscious effort at stripping the nation of sea blindness through a deliberate national orientation program to ensure that all the citizenry truly understood the maritime sector and what it could offer the nation.
Speaking in the same vein, the former Chief Executive Officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, said, “Asian nations are leading various aspects of shipping as the Philippines lead in seafaring, Singapore a hub for connectivity via ports, while Japan and China are among the top three ship owning nations”.
He charged Nigeria to take up the challenge in Africa by providing quality leadership in the west coast of Africa and latch on to various regional programs in ECOWAS and Africa at large, (Africa Conference on Trade Agreement, AFCTA) to begin gradually to make impact.
Tsietsi Mokhele thus charged African governments, “African nations should start by exploring their most advantageous areas in the maritime sector before addressing other areas of high value for their economies.”
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