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FG Bans Vessels Importation To Encourage Local Shipbuilding Sector

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 The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has announced that importation of certain categories of vessels into the country will be stopped by the federal government by 2022.

According to NIMASA, such vessels will be stopped from being imported into Nigeria from 2022 in order to further strengthen capacity of local shipbuilding facilities.

The director-general of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this in Lagos at a press conference over the weekend.

He said the decision to ban importation of vessels was taken by NIMASA and has been approved by the Ministry of Finance and necessary government organs.

According to him, by 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would stop granting foreign exchange and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) would stop issuing permit to importers of vessels.

The Cabotage Act 2007 was designed to empower indigenous operators to build ship in Nigeria and provide local capacity to run the ships.

According to Peterside, the agency drew up a Cabotage Waiver Cessation plan and discovered that the main reason why the Cabotage Act failed to work was as a result of the abuse of the waiver clause.

“One of the gaps we have identified is the abuse of the waiver regime, we realised that if we have to stop the waiver in its entirety, then we must begin to build certain categories of vessels here and stop importation of certain forms of vessels into the country. We have Nigerians trained to man all forms of vessels,” he said.

The NIMASA boss stated that they have commenced a number of engagements including with welders who would be involved with building of vessels, with entities of government who would be involved in aluminum production, steel development and other components required to build vessels.

Peterside revealed that NIMASA is working with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to engage in joint ship building.

“We now have a common yardstick for categorisation of vessels, we have a five-year forecast of vessel demand. This is to notify the Nigerian builders,” he said, adding that there has been a general improvement in the vessels on NIMASA’s Special Cabotage Register.

According to him, between 2008 and 2019, the agency had 125 new vessels in her Cabotage register, representing 33 per cent increase when compared 94 that was registered in 2018.

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