Shipowner seeks tax policy review, steel industry revitalisation to encourage investments in shipbuilding
|Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, CEO Starzs Group|
Ogbeifun, has called on the Federal Government to consider a review of its tax
policies as well begin a revitalisation of the steel industry if the proposed
ban on importation of certain categories
of vessels for caboatge trade is to be effective.
Association of Nigeria (SOAN), said in an interview that: “Our tax policies
should be reviewed. Just the same thing that is dogging emergence of another
national fleet. Our tax policies, our tax incentives have to be looked at, to
make it competitive to build boats in-country than to build outside the
importing steel. If you don’t also look at that sector in-country to become
functional, then, you are weakening the implementability of this very nice
policy. So, it is beyond just looking at
Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to gradually stop the
importation of foreign-built vessels into the country, calling it “the boldest
policy statement that has been made in the industry with respect to genuinely
wanting to grow the capacity of ship building industry.”
agencies, to ensure their own contributions at making the plan workable for the
benefit of the industry and the nation’s economy.
that happen. Primarily, it behoves on the people who acquire ships from abroad,
to see this as a positive step towards investing in this country, for this
country, for the people of this country, for our economy.
Who are the shipowners? You can think of a company like Starzs, a company like
Marine Platform and many others. But don’t forget that NIMASA is a shipowner,
NPA is a shipowner.
Therefore, we have to come together to understand that this policy that the
government has come out with, laudable as it is, will affect even the
government, because the government through the NPA, is one of the biggest
buyers or builders of ship in the country.
NIMASA is now ordering for security patrol vessels from Damen Shipyard or
wherever, or NPA, who as you know, a few months ago brought in new tugboats
built by Damen, will also go back to Damen to say build us a ship from abroad
when they have made such a policy statement.
look at the IOCs who are the main employers of vessels, particularly upstream
and thinking what are the Total, Shell, the Chevrons of this world “what are
they going to do now that this policy has come out?” But in the same vein, what
is NPA, NIMASA going to do now?”
Ogbeifun said it would be encouraging to start off with foreign professionals,
while it would also be an opportunity to train local manpower to gradually meet
the industry needs.
skilled labour. But the human resources to build ships, we can start with
international skilled personal and gradually build in-country capability of
manpower. So, that is not a challenge.
and commissioned, the Polish people were the real skilled ship repairers who
operated that yard. Today, you can agree with me that a large number of the
workforce there are Nigerians.”
biggest single element that is crucial to the actualisation of the policy, the
shipping industrialist called attention on the need to revive the Continental
Shipyard, which is government-owned.
building to ship repairs, Ogbeifun said the company realised that it was 40 per
cent more expensive to build aluminium crew boats, for which they were reputed,
in-country than to import them.
use to pre-fabricate the components outside the country, bring them to Onne,
and assemble them. They were launching built in-country crew boats, but they
had to stop after a while because it was 40 per cent more expensive to build
those boats in-country in that method than to bring them from outside the
country. So, they migrated from building boats to repairing ships. That has to
be revisited,” he said.
promotion of shipyard operations in Nigeria.