By Kenneth Jukpor
Despite the paucity of seafarers in Nigeria, the nation is the only country in the world where seafarers are subjected to compulsory taxes and pension before receiving their salaries.
The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, Ship Management Limited, revealed this at a conference organized by Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) in Lagos, today.
Speaking during the panel of discussion at the summit, the Fleet Manager, NSML, Hambali Yusuf said this problem has since many top seafarers jettison the NLNG Shipping after attaining global.
His words: “Imagine that you’re a seafarer and Company A will pay you $100 monthly and Company B in Nigeria will also pay $100 but deduct 18% pension and 18% pension. You’ll definitely want to work with company A where you get all your money. It’s only in Nigeria that seafarers pay taxes. In India, seafarers would spend over 7 months on sea and taxes will be waived but Nigerian seafarers spend the whole year and still pay taxes and pension.”
When quizzed on NSML propensity to patronize foreign shipyards for dry docking, Yusuf said: “Our ships are 283meters length and 45meters in width and there is no place in Nigeria now that can accommodate that size of ship. We would have loved to dry dock in Nigeria because It would have been easier for us than to move hundred of nautical miles away. You know it will also cost some money to do that outside the country”
At the conference themed: “NLNG Vessels Movement and Challenges,” the Managing Director of NLSL, Mr. Abdulkadri Ahmed noted that piracy and security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea is also a concern to the company.
“Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) remains a worrying concern in the global maritime industry as incidents and attacks have soared in the last decade. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) the GoG continues to be the hotspot for piracy attacks with 43% of all regional attacks in 2021. Pirates operating in the region are well equipped to attack further away from shorelines and are unafraid to take violent actions against innocent crews. Though these security challenges persist, the recently launched “Deep Blue Initiative” by NIMASA has significantly reduced the impact and frequency of these piracy incidents,” Ahmed said.
He, however, expressed delight at the successes with the implementation of the Seafarers Continuous Development Program (SCDP) iin conjunction with NIMASA, stressing that it ensures development and continuous supply of certified, competent, and qualified Nigerian seafarers.
Earlier, the President of SCAN, Mr. Eugene Agha, said that with the dwindling global fancies for crude oil, there is an increased focus on gas exploration and freighting, while piracy and other maritime criminalities remain a concern to both present and prospective investors, as well as regulators.
“The changing trends in the global energy sector demands a corresponding improvement and updating of the knowledge and skills of the media practitioners to continually avail stakeholders the opportunities and risks inherent in this sector, which could attract more enabling legislation to reposition the sector,” he said.
He noted that SCAN had taken upon itself a responsibility for effective coverage of the entire maritime sector for the benefit of stakeholders and the citizenry, and commended the sponsorship of the Nigeria LNG for the event.