Managing director of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, has said the NPA is committed to enhancing the welfare of seafarers so they can help to develop Nigeria’s maritime industry.
It is difficult, he believes, to ignore the contribution that seafarers make to global trade.
Koko gave this assurance in Lagos during the 2021 World Maritime Day celebration with the theme, “Seafarers at the Core of Shipping Future,” organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
In addition to praising the doggedness of these gentlemen in enabling the movement of goods and services worldwide to various climes despite challenges such as unfavourable weather conditions and pirate attacks at sea, he also commended their efforts in enabling global trade.
He urged all stakeholders to create a welcoming environment for seafarers owing to their significant role in nation-building, noting the multitude of challenges they would face in the near future.
However, he added that the theme of this year’s celebration captures the spirit of professionalism displayed by seafarers, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, under which they strive for excellence.
Koko described seafarers as major players in sea transportation, and global treasures as well as assets in world maritime trade.
He challenged stakeholders to be more contributing in ensuring that global port operations are eco-friendly while effort should be made towards the actualisation of world ports’ sustainability.
At the event, it was revealed that Nigerian ship owners would no longer pay import duties for imported ships and ship spare parts, according to the Federal Government.
Bashir Jamoh, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), who announced the move in Lagos on Tuesday at the ongoing Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS), said the move was aimed at encouraging the indigenous acquisition of ships.
“We have received approval for zero import duty for ships from the Federal Ministry of Transportation. We got the letter from the office of the Permanent Secretary some days ago.
However, we would not officially announce the new development unless the Transport Ministry does,” said Jamoh, who represented the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
According to him, the maritime industry cannot record desired progress without security, ‘and we are pushing towards that and the major issue is to sustain the tempo’.
Shipowners already have the physical incentive of no import duty thanks to the Federal Government. The remaining incentive is only a monetary one.
Jamoh noted that no nation can develop without the maritime industry, noting that Nigeria’s aspiration to become a maritime hub cannot be questioned.