The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that it is seeking tax incentives for the Nigerian maritime sector.
The new package is being sought in a bid to stimulate investment and boost activities in the maritime industry, amid the downturn induced by COVID-19.
The director-general of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, said this to the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, in Abuja on Wednesday.
A statement by Philip Kyanet, NIMASA spokesperson, said Mr Jimoh reiterated the commitment of the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi towards ensuring the growth of the maritime sector in Nigeria.
He said many governments around the globe have introduced massive tax cuts or outright elimination to spur activities in key sectors and rev up their economies during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The maritime sector is critical in the growth and development of transportation and, by extension, international trade in the country,” Mr Jimoh said.
“Thus, the need for federal government-oriented programmes and stimulus packages to deliver a response that catalyses a sustainable economic development cannot be overemphasised.”
The director-general said the proposed incentives include zero import duty for brand new vessels imported by Nigerians or Nigerian shipping companies for use in foreign or domestic trade; 0.5 percent only import duty for vessels aged between one and five years intended for use in foreign or domestic trade; and one percent 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 ship building, which will be for an initial period of four years, after which it can be reviewed by the government. 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.
Mr Jimoh emphasised that Nigeria accounted for more than 65 percent of the entire shipping trade of the sub-African continent, adding that it is also the largest producer and exporter of oil and gas in the continent and Africa’s largest economy.