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Vessel import duty: Ministries of Finance, Transportation on opposing pages

President of Ship-owners Association of Nigerian (SOAN) and chairman of Starz Investment Group, Engineer Greg Ogbeifun has called for synergy between the Ministries of Finance and transportation especially on issues bordering on Customs duty on acquired new vessel which currently stands on 15 per cent.

While calling for an immediate downward review of the law that imposes high Customs duty of 15 percent on importation of Nigerian flagged vessels, he queried why vessels flying foreign flags are required to pay as little as one percent.

Ogbeifun, who spoke at a stakeholder’s meeting organized by the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, argued that it was against the spirit of local content development and even the prevailing Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the current administration for two strategic ministries to lack synergy in policy development and compliance monitoring.

To him, the Ministry of Finance, through the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), wants to maintain the duty in a bid to meet or surpass its targeted revenue collection at the same time the Transport Ministry is working towards reducing the payment of such high duty on vessels.

He stressed that “There is a contention between the Ministry of Transport and that of Finance, while the Transport Ministry is working towards reducing the payment of such high duty on vessels, the Finance Ministry through the Nigeria Customs Service, wants to maintain the duty in a bid to meet or surpass its targeted revenue collection”.

He recalled that the group had gone to the Presidency penultimate Monday to register their protest over the issue, insisting that a review of the law is the best option to salvage the shipping sector where Nigeria is still under-shipped.