The Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime has assured indigenous ship owners that the Federal Government will soon unveil incentives to enable them to acquire and maintain ships.
Jime, who disclosed this on Wednesday when he hosted executive members of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) in his office in Apapa, Lagos, listed the incentives to include zero import duty of vessels, abolition of the controversial temporary importation permit imposed by Nigeria Customs Service and the setting up of a Shipping Sector Support Fund.
Speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee, Jime said, “Ship ownership to me represents a central core in the maritime industry. I can also go further to say that if Nigeria is actually going to take its rightful place and be recognized as a maritime hub, then ship ownership would become topical as far as the industry is concerned. So, that to me is the reason why I consider this visit as one of the most important engagements I’ve had since my arrival in this assignment.”
Jime said unless the Nigerian ship owning community grows and becomes competitive enough to take centre stage as far as shipping activities are concerned, Nigeria will not derive maximum value from the maritime industry.
He said the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee has been saddled with the responsibilities of mobilising the public and private sectors in a bid to establish a strong ship ownership community in the country.
“We have also been mandated to develop a framework that would support the establishment of a sustainable Nigerian Fleet. Also, we are given the responsibility to develop strategies that will incentivise. In other words, incentives that are needed to be put in place. These are strategies that will engender incentives for ship owners.
“We are also saddled with the responsibility to set out action items that would encourage the development of shipbuilding and ship repair facilities. Then we will provide guidelines and recommendations to augment the maritime manpower capacity.
“What are the incentives? The first, which I believe, is topical and we have been discussing it a little while is the ability to access zero import duty of vessels. I know that part of that has been achieved but there are lots more to go down the road to abolish temporary importation permits to impose stringent measures. This concerns the Nigeria Customs Service.
“We believe that the key incentive is the Shipping Sector Support Fund. We are talking of shipping and it is an area that is highly capital intensive. So if you are able to put that job of the fund in place as an incentive, other things would be easier. We also believe that waiver of export tariffs for the use of Nigerian vessels is also key,” the NSC boss said.
The Chairman of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Steering Committee, Prince Sunday Omatseye, who spoke on behalf of the association, said, “We are here for this courtesy visit to say we are back and also the purpose is actually to partner with you. The position of ship owners cannot be underemphasised. We have observed that in previous meetings occasioned by the council, most of the invitations have not been extended to the association and we don’t want the status quo to remain.”