The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has announced that the agency has gotten approval from the federal government that would enable indigenous stakeholders to import brand new vessels at zero import duty.
This as the agency contributed a sum of N37.69 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in 2021 and pledged to reduce the amount spent on regional office buildings across the country.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh noted that the N37.69 billion contribution was higher than N31.83 billion contributed by the agency in 2020.
According to him, “In 2020, the agency contributed to the consolidated revenue account by paying N31.83 billion We went ahead to increase the amount we paid in 2021 with a total amount of N37.69 billion.”
On the duty waiver, he said, “If you are importing a brand new vessel you will end up paying zero duty, one year to two years has a paying marginal between one to two per cent and we continue to graduate it up to maximum of five per cent against what we are been received.
“We try to introduce zero duty on new vessels so that we can encourage indigenous shipowners to procure brand new vessels, so that we will no longer be having experience of ready-take vessels in our own waters causing accidents and havoc here and there; many times they are abandoned and turned to be a wreck.”
On illegal fishing activities on the nation’s waters, the NIMASA DG noted that it was a specialized area adding that NIMASA is not in position to issue certification for fishing operators in the country.
“If for instance now you are allowed to operate as a carbotage operator only NIMASA can come and inspect your vessel and know the papers you have whether it complies with the carbotage requirement or not. So, also in fishing only the Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF) can come and inspect your fishing trawler and documentation of fishing trawlers to ensure that you comply with legal fishing regulations.
“Only the FDF can come and say, ‘no what you are doing there is illegal fishing;’ I made mention in my presentation we have already approached the minister of Agriculture for them to come and join our own team in the event we come to meet fishing trawler they will now be the one to go and inspect. What we have observed, most of these criminals that come and hijack your fishing trawlers hide under the umbrella of fishing, watching vessels passing and attack the vessel claiming they are doing fishing, while they snatch the fishing trawler, “he said.
He added, “So in order to ensure we maintain security within this ambit we have to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure we maintain security, safety and at the same time allow people to earn their own livelihood in terms of fishing.”
On marine pollution claims, the NIMASA boss revealed that the agency has awarded a contract for the development a price index in order to access the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) marine pollution fund.
“We have produced a manual for the admissibility of claims under the IOPC fund. The manual contains the price index for determining the quantum of claims for settlement in the case of pollution.
“We have been experiencing pollution and recently we have been battling with a pollution in Niger Delta; many a time what we often experience is that we have to lodge a claim through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and we cannot do that if we do not have a price index. What we are saying is that we have introduced such a price index and have awarded a contract to a contractor to produce that so that Nigeria can benefit from the funds IOPC marine environment pollution, “he said,
For the deep blue project, he said the nation has recorded progress never recorded in 28 years in terms of maritime security.
According to him, “what informed the success was that the agency had introduced industry working group through the International collaboration and local stakeholders in the maritime and shipping sector to entrench coordinated response to piracy and other criminalities in the Nigerian waters and prompt reportage of escalation of maritime incidents to where action is much expected and to be provided.”
Speaking on the multi-million dollar modular floating dock acquired by NIMASA since June, 2018, Jamoh, emphasized that it would be operational before the end of the first quarter of 2022, noting that “the facility would, however, be subjected to a privatisation process to help lessen the cost burden.”