Worried by the heavy duty and import taxes, which have hindered the growth of the Shipping industry, the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee has called for incentives to ship owners to create easy and conducive environment for the business in Nigeria.
The committee stated this when it was led by its chairman, Hassan Bello, the executive secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council, to the office of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma.
Addressing the minister, Bello said the committee needs the support of the federal government in ensuring that fleet development with requisite incentives becomes the focus of the implementation priority in the transport infrastructure programme.
Some of the incentives the committee is seeking include zero import duty on vessels, application of tonnage tax, abolishing of temporary importation permit or imposition of stringent measures, shipping sector support fund.
Others are waiver of export tariff for use of Nigerian vessels, right of first refusal for national carriers in the procurement process for cargo, work permit to be used only upon verification of unavailability of ratings or officers, change of Nigeria’s crude oil trade policy, CAC to adopt FIRS zero duty for ship finance registration and preferential berthing privileges.
He also requested for the minister’s direction on how the committee can go about achieving their request.
Also speaking, the chairman, Shipowners Association of Nigeria, Greg Ogbeifun, lamented that there is no Nigerian ship exporting crude oil from Nigeria due to excessive taxation, which prevents the purchase of larger ships.
He explained that instead of zero taxation on ships purchased and brought into Nigeria as it is obtained in other countries, Nigerian government imposed 14 per cent thereby, discouraging the shipping business.
While reacting, the minister, Udoma, assured the committee of its support and pledged to work with the ministries of Finance and Trade and Investment to actualise some of these requests.
He also noted that government would put everything in place and give all support to the shipping business to ensure that it contributes about six per cent to the national GDP.
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