People & Money

NIMASA Moves to Bar Unlicensed Vessels from Operating in Nigerian Waters

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Sunday said it will ban vessels without valid licenses from operating in Nigerian waters and has asked shipping firms that transact business in coastal and inland waters to register within three months.

Thereafter, it will direct the oil companies to cease engaging any ship that has not obtained valid licenses, NIMASA said in a statement.

The Nigerian government is striving to shore up its revenue and boost foreign exchange earnings following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen the price of oil crash with economic activities in all economies around the world. Oil exports provide around 90 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange and more than 60 per cent of government’s revenue.

Also Read: Fitch Revises Nigeria’s Creditworthiness to Stable

Shipping charges like taxes and import duties are major income earners for Africa’s biggest economy, which depends overwhelmingly on foreign trade, particularly oil exports.

The maritime industry comes next to oil and gas as the largest contributor to revenue. But perennial income loss remains a problem, with a recent report by Dynanmar, a Dutch consultancy, putting daily loss at Nigerian ports at N20 billion and annual loss at N7.2 trillion.

Apapa, Nigeria’s biggest seaport, is notorious for chaotic and delayed cargo traffic, lacks sufficient holding bay infrastructure as well as cargo handling equipment and has been plagued by corruption across its operations.

According to the Dynanmar report, to avoid delays due to congestion, shippers divert cargo destined for Tin Can and Apapa Lagos as far Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo, to be trucked to Nigeria, a practice known as transshipment.

Also Read: 2021 Budget: FEC Okays N13.08trn Estimate

Danish shipping and oil group, A.P Moller-Maersk and Bourbon, a French shipping group are two of the licensed foreign shipping firms operating in Nigeria.

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