Ship-owners Association of Nigerian (SOAN) has called for a review of the government’s fiscal policy which imposes high customs duty of 15 per cent on vessels imported by their members.
The local ship owners asserted that whereas vessels flying foreign flags are required to pay as little as one percent, the indigenes are made to pay more.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting organised by the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Mr Greg Ogbeifun, President of SOAN, said it was grossly unfair for Nigerian flagged vessels to pay much more customs duty than vessels flying foreign flags.
He told newsmen that the group went to the Presidency last Monday to register their protest over the issue.
Ogbeifun described the situation as unfortunate, adding that payment of higher import duty on vessels has put Nigerian ship-owners at a very disadvantaged position, and given the foreign vessel owners a competitive edge.
“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.
“There is a fundamental problem with the industry and we must put our fingers on the issues affecting the industry. Already being a Nigerian flagged vessel, you are at a disadvantage and this is not good for the industry. We must look into the law with regards to this issue.”