Director, Investment Promotion, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC); Mr Adeshina Emmanuel, says Nigeria has all it takes to become a shipping hub in Africa.
Emmanuel said this on Monday at a webinar organised by Zoemaritime Resources Ltd.
He said that to achieve this, the Federal Government through the NIPC had taken steps to attract investments in the shipping sector in the country, especially ship building and repairs.
According to him, maritime business is very important to the country in terms of investment.
“There is the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003, popularly known as the Cabotage, which has to do with ensuring that vessels trading in Nigeria must be built in Nigeria and this is to stimulate ship building in the country.
“Ship building is also one of the industries that qualify for pioneer status incentives in the council.
“Pioneer status incentives is a tax holiday, zero tax for up to three years and if discovered that the person given the tax holiday used the tax saving efficiently to expand business and contribute to the economy, an additional two years can be given.
“To apply for this incentive, you need to apply in the first year of operation before you begin to pay tax.
“Also, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has a desk at the council represented by a deputy director to foresee things and this is a way to encourage ship investment in Nigeria,’’ Emmanuel said.
Comparing Nigeria with its major competitor, South Africa, Emmanuel quoted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report of 2019, as putting “Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 478.9 billion dollars and South Africa’s 51 billion dollars.
“For merchandise trade 117 billion dollars for Nigeria and107 billion dollars for South Africa, on transport service trade, Nigeria has 44 billion dollars, while South Africa has 30 billion dollars.
“Nigeria’s coastal water to area ratio is 3.4 meter per square kilometers, while that of South Africa is 3.1 meters per square kilometers, so we have a lot of advantages but unfortunately, South Africa is doing better in ship building than Nigeria.
“We have the potential to overtake South Africa and make Nigeria to be the shipping hub for Africa and I believe that should be done this decade,’’ he said.
Emmanuel urged stakeholders to bring up ideas or initiatives that would help in deepening the development of ship building industry in the country.
“One of the things we do is policy advocacy, we advocate policies that are investment friendly and thus push to government for consideration,’’ he said.