Nigeria’s Federal Government has removed import duty on importation of ships and its spare parts as an incentive to encourage indigenous shipping.
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this at the Nigeria International Maritime Summit, thenigerianmaritimenews reported.
According to Jamoh, the Presidency had heeded the industry’s request for incentives to enhance the local shipping capacity. He added that the Ministry of Transportation would formally announce the approval in due time.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Jamoh added that fiscal policy was long overdue, and that the FG had made similar incentives for rail transport, manufacturers, airline operators among other sectors.
The Chairperson, NIMS Advisory Board, Mrs Mfon Usoro, said a holistic national maritime strategy was imperative for the growth of the sector.
She said, “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 centre piece for commerce, security and indeed livelihood.”
A former DG of NIMASA, Mr Temisan Omatseye added that there was a need for more conscious effort at stripping the nation of sea blindness through a deliberate national orientation programme to ensure that all the citizenry truly understood the maritime sector and what it could offer the nation.
Also speaking at the event, a former Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, cited examples from South Africa and other maritime nations while advising Nigeria.
He 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.
“African nations should start by exploring their most advantageous areas in the maritime sector before addressing other areas of high value for their economies.”