The federal government is concluding plans to grant zero import duties on vessels and ship parts as part of efforts to boost indigenous shipping in the country.
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 NIMASA boss expressed optimism that the announcement will be made soon.
He said the fiscal policy is long overdue, noting that the government had made similar incentives for manufacturers, airline operators, among other sectors.
According to Jamoh, as buttressed by the minister of transportation, 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 interest and beneficial to the nation,
Also speaking, the immediate-past chief executive officer, South African Maritime Safety Authority, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, urged Nigeria to pick an area of specialisation within the maritime sector.
According to him, Asian nations are leading in various aspects of shipping as the Philippines lead in seafaring, Singapore is a hub for connectivity via ports, while Japan and China are among the top three shipowning nations.
He said African nations should start by exploring their most advantageous areas in the maritime sector before addressing other areas of high value for their economies.
In her welcome speech, the chairperson of the NIMS, Barr. Mfon Usoro, stressed the need to bring all necessary ministries together towards adopting a holistic maritime national strategy which is key to attaining the anticipated goals of the shipping sector.
Also speaking at the summit, the executive secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), 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.
On his part, the chairman of Starz Group, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun said he was delighted with the development that imported vessels will enjoy a fiscal incentive of zero import duties.