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Maritime expert urges FG to review tax laws

The managing director/chief executive officer, Starzs Marine and Engineering Ltd., Greg Ogbeifun, has called on the federal government to review tax laws affecting the growth of shipping in the country.

Mr Ogbeifun made the appeal at the inauguration of the national executive council of the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) on Friday in Lagos.

Me Ogbeifun, also the chairman of the occasion, noted that addressing the tax laws would enable the country to establish global trading fleet.

He said that most countries that fly their flags in other countries had five years tax holiday grants and all sorts of taxes waved off.

Mr Ogbeifun noted that such initiatives should be embraced because shipping was a very expensive trade.

“The cost of ship is $18 million and the cost of importing it into Nigeria by Nigerians is about 14 per cent of the cost of the ship.

“Foreign owners are required to post one per cent customs bonds to bring their ship but Nigerians are required to pay 14 per cent.

“This makes a Nigerian who wants to be in this trade to be disadvantaged instantly and government needs to address this,” he said.

He urged AMES to set up a committee to check the current status of the recommendation on tax policy.

Mr Ogbeifun said recommendations reached in the past for global trading fleet were not implemented due to lack of political will.

He also lauded the new ministry of marine and blue economy established by President Bola Tinubu, noting that stakeholders had agitated for it.

He said the minister should be given an opportunity to settle down, understudy the ministry to hit the ground running.

“I imagine that internal working between the ministry and that of transportation to decide which agency goes to where will be his first tackle.

“When that is established, the industry players will now have basis to put together ideas, we must not just jump into issues,” he said.

He said the association would set up a shipping line and bulk of that shipping line would be constituted by professionals, marine engineers, lawyers and many others.

“We will ensure it is a well-put-together entity with clear objectives. We are not going to be asking the government to give us anything but for them to understand that this exists and will help push the industry forward.

“These are the issues affecting us and not making us to get the national line to take off.

“There is work to do and this government is trying to reposition things and find solutions, we as an association will be willing to give the needed help,” he said.

(NAN)

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