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NIMASA partners Customs, CBN, on review of vessels import tax

 The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, last week disclosed that it is currently engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Customs Service and its supervisory ministry, the Federal Ministry of Finance in working out a special tariff template for  the importation of vessels and its parts by indigenous shippers.
NIMASA spokesman, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi in a statement quoted the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside as saying the effort is in response to the need to ameliorate the workability of Cabotage Law on the backdrop of challenges faced by indigenous players, believed to be swimming against unfair industry policies and competition.
The statement said the DG NIMASA is concerned about certain negatives assailing the implementation of Cabotage, and explained that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to remove bottlenecks militating against indigenous players.

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The statement quoted Peterside as saying, “At the moment, a temporary import permit mainly granted foreigners attract just 1% but importing vessel by Nigerian attract 13%, so it’s difficult to compete”, adding:
“We are engaging the Nigeria Customs Service on the need to review this regime. We have also made appreciable progress in our discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria to see Nigerians in the maritime sector have access to single digit facilities so they can compete favorably with their international peers.”
Similarly, the statement said Peterside who spoke with journalists at a technical workshop on deep sea exploration on the sidelines of the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston Texas, said that the agency has commenced regulatory reforms to ensure a business friendly maritime environment to spur economic growth hinged on both foreign and indigenous investors.
He assured the international community that NIMASA is committed to growing in-country capacity so that collaboration between Nigerian and foreigners can take place without fear of compromising standards.
According to him, “We are building up capacity and creating the right regulatory framework for the Nigerian maritime sector. We believe that our three dimensional approach of creating the right regulatory environment, providing easy asses to capital, build capacity, and facilitate access to business opportunities will hasten the indigenous capacity development.
“Regulation ought not to stifle businesses; regulation ought to support business, spur economic growth, without endangering the environment and the people.”
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari reportedly noted that Nigeria is aware of the drift towards deep sea exploration and policies to enhance effective maritime transport are now being considered by the Federal Government. Zakari said that the report by the International Maritime Bureau that piracy has declined in Nigerian Waters in the first quarter of 2019 is an attestation that efforts of the President Buhari led administration in safety and security in the maritime sector has started yielding fruits.
His words, “Nigerian waters are safe- NIMASA deep blue project in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, and all other security agencies in Nigeria is already in motion and will use the latest technology to track all vessels in Nigerian waters and reduce criminality to the barest minimum. Foreigners with genuine business interest are welcome to invest in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Operating Officer, Upstream of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Alhaji Bello Rabiu, during his visit to the NIMASA stand at the OTC, commended the Agency’s Management for her efforts in seeking collaboration to grow the industry in Nigeria.
On his part, the First Executive Governor of Rivers State and current Amayanabo of Brass Bayelsa State, His Royal majesty Alfred Diete Spiff who led the Bayelsa delegation to the OTC conference was reportedly commended NIMASA for its commitment to capacity development of the maritime industry in Nigeria.

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