Shipowners have called for the suspension of duty on new vessels acquired by Nigerians.
The President, Nigeria Shipowners Association, Aminu Umar, stated this in an interview with journalists in Lagos.
He regretted that the situation had contributed to the reluctance of shipowners to register their vessels at the ship registry established by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
In 2018, NIMASA had made moves to review the tariff on Nigerian-owned vessels.
The Director General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said the agency was in talks with the Ministry of Finance towards creating a special duty rate for acquisition of new vessels.
At the time, the duty was 15 per cent and stakeholders had lamented that it was too high and created unfair competition among Nigerians and foreign shipping companies.
It was learnt that if a foreign operator brought a ship into Nigeria to work for a short period, the Nigeria Customs Service would charge a lower duty rate than a Nigerian bringing a new vessel into the country.
“We are engaging both the Customs and the Federal Ministry of Finance to create a special tariff regime for those bringing in vessels and vessel spare parts into the country.
“That will help reduce tariff on vessel acquisition and importation of spare parts,” Peterside had said.
However, Umar said the current rate of 12.5 per cent was still high and sought for complete scrapping of the duty.
“We have made a presentation to the government to make the environment friendly through suspension of the duty on Nigerian-owned vessels.
“Our counterparts in the aviation sector pay zero duty on new aircraft but a Nigerian shipowner is made to pay 12.5 per cent of the total cost of the vessel as duty. This runs into millions of dollars.”