NIMASA Demands Tax Incentives for Maritime Sector
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has pleaded with the federal government to provide tax incentives for the maritime sector to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry and the economy.
This plea was made by the Director-General of the agency, Mr Bashir Jamoh, during a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed in Abuja.
He reiterated the commitment of the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, towards ensuring the growth of maritime in Nigeria, adding that many governments around the globe had introduced massive tax reduction or elimination to spur activities in key sectors and rev up their economies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Jamoh stated, “The maritime sector is critical in the growth and development of transportation and, by extension, international trade in the country. Thus, the need for federal government-oriented programmes and stimulus packages to deliver a response that catalyses sustainable economic development cannot be overemphasised.”
The NIMASA DG said the proposed incentives included zero import duty for brand new vessels imported by Nigerians or Nigerian shipping companies for use in foreign or domestic trade; 0.5 per cent only import duty for vessels aged between one and five years intended for use in foreign or domestic trade, and one per cent only import duty for vessels aged between five and eight years intended for use in foreign or domestic trade.
There was also a proposal for zero import duty for parts or components imported by Nigerian shipyards for local shipbuilding, which will be for an initial period of four years after which it can be reviewed by the government.
According to Mr Jamoh, all these are expected to give the sector the vibrancy it needs for growth.
The NIMASA DG said the incentives were being proposed because of the importance of the Nigerian maritime sector to the entire sub-Saharan African region.
He emphasised that Nigeria accounted for more than 65 per cent of the entire shipping trade of the sub-African continent as it is also the largest producer and exporter of oil and gas in the continent.
He added that the Nigerian economy has witnessed substantial growth in the last two decades owing to reforms that boosted private investment in the maritime industry.