By Steve Agbota

In a bid to boost local shipping in Nigeria, the Federal Government has granted zero import duty on vessels and ship parts.

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this yesterday at the maiden edition of Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS), said that the approval is currently before the Ministry of Transportation and waiting for the official announcement of the development.

“When I assumed office as the Director General of NIMASA, I deliberately worked on two incentives for the maritime sector and one of them is fiscal incentives for the shipping industry.

“Today, the incentive has been granted and I have the memo with me but we are still waiting for the announcement from the Ministry of Transportation, which we believe it will happen soon,” he said.

However, he said that the fiscal policy is long overdue, adding that the Federal  Government has made similar incentives for trial, transport, manufacturers, airline operators among other sectors.

In her welcome speech, the Chairperson of the NIMS, Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro, stressed the need to bring all necessary Ministries together in a bid to get them in sync to adopt a holistic maritime national strategy.

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She added that a whole government approach to adopt the maritime industry growth is key to attaining the anticipated goals of the shipping sector.

“How can we have Nigerians that own vessels but choose to use the shipping registries of other nations? This summit focuses the attention of policy makers, regulators and the industry operators on a critical segment that some consider the substratum for economic growth.

the centerpiece for commerce, security and indeed livelihood,” she said.

Meanwhile, the immediate-past Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of South African Maritime Safety Authority, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele stressed that Nigeria should pick an area of specialisation within the maritime sector.

“Asian nations are leading various aspects of shipping as Phillippines lead in seafaring, Singapore a hub for connectivity via ports, while Japan and China are among the top three ship owning nations.

‘African nations should start by exploring their most advantageous areas in the maritime sector before addressing other areas of high value for their economies, however, he opined that the change in trade terms for the export of Nigerian crude oil from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) would change the significance of maritime to the nation’s economy,” he said.