The Federal Government is planning a new structure that would see the reduction in tariff on vessel acquisition, and importation of spare parts for vessel maintenance.
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed this at the Nigerian Shipowners Workshop and Dinner in Lagos, said his team has commenced negotiation with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to reduce tariff on such items.
Peterside said NIMASA is determined to make a huge difference; and has embarked on a number of engagements in the overall interest of the shipping industry.
He said: “We are engaging the CBN to secure (a) Special Interest Rate (Single digit) for Ship Owners, (b) Special FOREX Window.
We are engaging the Custom to reduce tariff on vessel acquisition and importation of spare parts for vessel maintenance.
We are pushing for the review of fiscal policies militating against favourable trade competition and growth of the sector.
“We are addressing manpower development through the regular funding of MAN, Oron; Training of Cadets, Dockworkers and Seafarers, as well as the provision of Sea time for NSDP Cadets.
We are coordinating efforts towards the review of trade terms from FOB to CIF to ensure Nigerians benefit from the affreightment of cargoes (NNPC).
“We are leading efforts towards the disbursing of the CVFF. We are working for a dedicated intervention fund for vessel acquisition and ancillary transactions.
We are working on the Annual Maritime forecast to give ship owners head start.
“We are focused on Comprehensive implementation of Cabotage Act especially the New Cabotage,” he said, noting that “a good policy followed by poor implementation would only produce troublesome outcomes.”
Similarly, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, said the Authority would ensure the installation of Vessel Tracking Information System in conformity with International and Ports Facility Security Code (ISPS).
Bala-Usman, represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Services, Dr Sekonte Davis, said NPA is on the verge of deploying simulation facilities for continuous development of maritime professionals and seafarers.
She said that NPA encouraged and supported the development of deep seaports in Lekki and Akwa Ibom to sustain the growth of maritime industry in Nigeria.
This, according to her, would enable Nigeria to further receive vessels with deeper drafts that would be constructed to respond to economy of scale.
Bala-Usman said NPA had developed a Revenue Invoice Management System (RIMS), and Electronics Ship Entry Notice, to enhance port system, adding that management would soon complete the review of concessioning agreement.
President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Greg Ogbeifun, argued that the failure of industries is not for lack of policies, but for non-implementation, poor implementation or a total lack of will/power to execute the policies, and charged the government to rise to the call of indigenous ship owners to rescue the industry from foreign dominants.
Former Managing Director, NPA, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, bemoaned the total dominance of foreign companies in the lifting of all project cargoes in contravention of Nigeria’s shipping policy that reserved the transportation of all such cargoes for indigenous companies.
Sarumi urged ship owners “to fight for their rights beyond the issue of oil and gas as well as oil exploration support services.
Even if we have to start with non-vessel owning common carriers, we should insist on carrying most of our project cargo; we should not leave the business to the supplier to go and look for his countries’ shipping services to bring our cargo to us.”