FG to set up shipping support fund, abolish Customs importation permit
The Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, has said that the Federal Government would soon set up a shipping sector support fund, implement the zero import duty of vessels and abolish the controversial temporary importation permit imposed by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Jime, who disclosed this when he hosted executive members of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) in his office in Apapa, Lagos, assured indigenous ship owners that the Federal Government will unveil these incentives in no time to enable them to acquire and maintain ships.
Jime, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee, said indigenous ship ownerships represent a central core in the maritime industry, adding that if Nigeria must take its rightful place and be recognised as a maritime hub, ship ownership would become topical in the industry.
He also said that unless the Nigerian ship-owning community grows and becomes competitive enough to take centre stage in shipping activities, 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 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 incentivize. 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.”
“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 can put 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.
On his part, the Chairman of the Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Steering Committee, Prince Sunday Omatseye, who spoke on behalf of the association, said the position of ship owners cannot be underemphasised.
He said the association has observed that in previous meetings occasioned by the council, most of the invitations have not been extended to the association and they don’t want the status quo to remain.