By Godfrey Bivbere
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is set to put in place series of incentives to encourage and boost indigenous participation in the shipping industry currently dominated by foreigners.
To this end, the Authorityâ€™s management is to hold a two-day workshop with relevant stakeholders to examine the incentives to ensure they are in conformity with the aspiration of operators before being sent to government for approval.
According to a document sighted by Vanguard signed by El-Yakub Hassan, Deputy Director in charge of operations on behalf of the Executive DirectorÂ MS & SD, some of the incentives include 12 years tax holiday for Nigerian incorporated companies investing in green field projects, a shipyards to be designated free trade zones to allow for import of equipment, spare-parts and allied infrastructure and waivers of Value Added Tax (VAT) on ship, engines, spare parts etc as subsidy for the capital intensive nature of the industry in line with global practice.
Other incentives are income tax exemption for seafarers employed locally as a means of encouraging more people to take up seafaring jobs, 50 per cent reduction in berthing charges for ships awaiting repairs, ship laid-up after repairs and ships lying afloat for repairs to help shipyards facilities in the country and also help reduce the over head cost of business.
The apex maritime regulatory body also intend to give accelerated depreciation regime for ship and capital assets to assist Nigerian companies accumulate capital for future investment in fleet expansion, as well as 10-20 per cent rebate on port dues for ships using local shipyards for repair and regularÂ maintenance for any ship that has made use of local shipyards forÂ upward of three times consecutively.
NIMASA, according to the document would similarly recommend 10 years minimum company taxation based on its available tonnage, instead of the net income and this would be for companies involvedÂ only in shipping.
The agency is also recommending for the review of terms of trade for the sale/purchase of crude oil/petroleum products from Free on Board (FOB) to Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) which is expected to enable Nigerian Carriers participate in the lifting of Cargo, especially as it affects petroleum products.
These amongst other recommendations are being put forward by the management of NIMASA and the agency would be seeking input from various stakeholders in the industry to deliberate on all the recommendation on the 26th and 27th of this month before approval is sought for them to become effective.