The Federal Government has assured international oil and Gas community that the Nigerian maritime sector is safe for investment adding that special tax regime was under consideration to grow capacity for the industry in the country.

Addressing Journalists at a technical workshop on deep sea exploration on the sidelines of the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston Texas, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Transportation Alhaji Sabiu Zakri noted that Nigeria was not unaware of the drift towards deep sea exploration even as policies to enhance effective maritime transport are now being considered by the Federal Government.

Alhaji Zakari said that the report by the International Maritime Bureau that piracy has declined in Nigerian Waters in the first quarter of 2019 was an attestation that efforts of the President Buhari led administration in safety and security in the maritime sector has started yielding fruits.

“Nigerian waters are safe- NIMASA deep blue project in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, and all other security agencies in Nigeria is already in motion and will use the latest technology to track all vessels in Nigerian waters and reduce criminality to the barest minimum. Foreigners with genuine business interest are welcome to invest in Nigeria. So many have come and are enjoying benefits of their investment.” He said.

On his part, the Director General of the Nigerian maritime Administration and safety agency, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside said that the agency has commenced regulatory reforms to ensure a business friendly maritime environment to spur economic growth hinged on both foreign and indigenous investors.

We are building “ creating the right regulatory framework for the Nigerian maritime sector

He assured the international community that NIMASA is committed to growing in-country capacity so that collaboration between Nigerian and foreigners can take place without fear of compromising standards.

According to him, “We are building up capacity, and creating the right regulatory framework for the Nigerian maritime sector. We believe that our three dimensional approach of creating the right regulatory environment, providing easy asses to capital, build capacity, and facilitate access to business opportunities will hasten the indigenous capacity development. Regulation ought not to stifle businesses, regulation ought to support business, spur economic growth. Without endangering the environment and the people.”

Speaking further on Cabotage implementation in Nigeria, Dr Dakuku said that the Agency had entered into discussion with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian Customs Service on the need to create a special tariff regime for those importing Vessels and vessel parts into the country.

“At the moment, a temporary import permit mainly granted foreigners attract just 1 percent but importing vessel by Nigerian attract 13% so its difficult to compete. We are engaging the Nigeria Customs Service on the need to review this regime. We have also made appreciable progress in our discussions with the Central bank of Nigeria to see Nigerians in the maritime sector have access to single digit facilities so they can compete favorably with their international peers.”

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