Nigerian Fleet Implementation: Transport Minister To Change Committee’s Leadership

Nigerian Fleet Implementation: Transport Minister To Change Committee’s Leadership
L-R: The Minister of State for Transportation Prince Ademola Adegoroye, the representative of the Nigerian President, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, the Representative of the Head of State, Cameroon, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi and other dignitaries that graced the occasion at the official commissioning of Nigeria and Cameroon Commission Border Bridge at Mfun, Cross River State, last week.

 

·  3 names in contention

·  NNPC signs contract with indigenous ship owners

·  VAT rebate underway, Zero duty on vessels granted

The Minister of transportation, Engr. Muazu Sambo may have concluded plans to change the leadership of the Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee(NFIC) from public sector to private sector.  As a result of this, three names of private sector operators in the maritime industry have been penciled down to replace the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Nigerian Shippers’ Council(NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime as the current chairman of NFIC.

It was gathered that the three names submitted to the Minister for consideration include: Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, Chairman, Starz Marine and Engineering Limited; Prince Olayiwole Shittu,Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Skelas Group.

MMS Plus gathered that the Minister believes that the Committee should be led by  private sector operators who are the key agitators of the operational changes desired in the industry if the Committee must succeed. This is coming against the background that some key member government agencies are literally indifferent to the Committee and its objectives.

Meanwhile, the Interim report of the Committee submitted to the Minister recently showed that NFIC has achieved some  monetary and fiscal milestones  since set up in June 2016 by the former Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, following the submission of the committee setup earlier.

 Some members of the Committee who spoke with MMS Plus acknowledged that many of the achievements have not been activated as Federal Government and its concerned agencies and subsidiaries are yet to commence action on the promises.

The report captured that Federal Government has granted zero duty on imported vessels and spare parts across board for vessels between 0-20 years.

Consequently, the Federal Government in the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures and Tariff Amendment granted 0 per cent duty for cargo ships and similar vessels for the transportation of goods, mechanically propelled vessels for the transportation of goods by inland navigation of a Gross Tonnage (GT) more than 500 tonnes.

On Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) crude carriage contract, the report stated that  the NNPC in early 2021 started implementing the   coastal distribution of oil products  now being carried out exclusively by Nigerian registered ships while it inserted a clause in crude oil lifting contracts that gives priority to   Nigerian shipping companies.

The interim also read that NNPC cancelled all contracts for coastal shipping with foreign ship owners and subsequently, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria(SOAN) was requested to submit list indigenous ship-owners with requisite capacity to participate in coastal shipping of products, while NNPC will only procure services of foreign ship owners where it is ascertained that Nigeria lack capacity or have been fully utilised.

On local content clause in Nigeria’s crude oil contracts, NFIC in collaboration with Nigerian Local Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) ensured the insertion of local content clause in NNPC Oil lifting contracts whereby Nigerian shipping companies with requisite capacity are given first right of refusal

   According to the report, many Nigerian shipping companies are now participating in crude and product lifting. For instance, Sea Transport Services, an indigenous shipping company that recently signed a contract with NIDAS Marine Ltd, the international shipping arm of NNPC for crude oil and product lifting.

 

In addition, the Committee is also working towards securing Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions for all spares, precision equipment and imported materials for construction of shipyards, shipbuilding, ship repairs and ship recycling to encourage investment in the shipbuilding, ship repair and ship recycling sector in Nigeria.

According to the report, the  Committee had concluded arrangement to discuss with Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to see possible ways of expediting actions on sale of seized vessels to shipyards for recycling their steel for new construction/repairs rather than leaving to become threats to safety of navigation and marine environment.

 

However, funding was identified as a major set back to the Committee’s work as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA),Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), NSC, among other member government agencies have not been forthcoming with funds.

Recall that Jime inherited the chairmanship position because it was domiciled in NSC originally as Mr. Hassan Bello  the immediate past CEO of the Council was the pioneer Chairman who led the team to  conquer some of the difficult terrains but it seems his exit about two years ago slowed down the pace of work.

The current membership of the Committee include:Mr. Emmanuel Jime ES/CEO,NSC, Chairman;Mr Mele Kyari,GMD, NNPC;Mr. Pius Oteh ,Director, Legal Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation(FMOT);Dr. Bashir Jamoh,Director General, NIMASA; Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko,Managing Director , NPA;Mr. Abubakar A. Bello,Managing Director, NEXIM Bank;Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung,President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria(SOAN);Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan,National Seafarers Welfare Board;Ms Funmi Folorunso,Secretary General, African Shipowners Association;Chief Isaac Jolapamo,Chairman, Morlap Group;Mr. Aminu Umar,Chairman, Sea Transport Group;Mrs. Mfon E. Usoro,Paul Usoro Chamber;Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu,Omick Marine Services;Engr. Adeyinka Okunade,Association of Marine Engineers &Surveyors; Mr Hope Yongo,NEXIM Bank.

The NFIC  had started as Committee on Modalities for the Development of a Nigerian Fleet  which successfully completed its assignment and formally submitted a report to the then Transport Minister, Amaechi on 20th June, 2016. The Minister subsequently transformed the Committee to NFIC to successfully implement the recommendations contained in the report.

 

The terms of reference for NFIC include: Develop an institutional framework to support the establishment of a sustainable Nigerian Fleet as well as provide guidelines to augment maritime manpower capacity; develop strategies in form of ‘government support’ that will incentivize the private sector to invest in ship ownership and to register the ships in the Nigerian Ship Registry; set out the action items to encourage the development of ship building and ship repair facilities; provide practical guidelines for attainment of the mandate and to midwife the implementation of the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee on Modalities for the Establishment of a Nigerian Fleet.

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