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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has declared that the Ease of Doing Business Initiative programme, coordinated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is yielding fruits particularly in the maritime sector as red tapes and bottlenecks which hitherto mitigated against investment in the sector, have started disappearing.
This comes as the American Government says that the Donald Trump Administration is committed to enhancing business relations between Americans and the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Peterside, who made the new development in the Nigerian maritime sector known to select businessmen from the United States (U.S.), described the Nigerian maritime industry as a thrust of golden opportunities that sincere investors are assured of maximum profit.
Peterside, who spoke during a side event at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, with the theme, “Sub-Saharan African Oil & Gas networking session”, assured them that the focus now is attaining ease of doing business in Nigeria, particularly in the maritime sector.
While stating that Nigeria allows income tax exemptions for infrastructural development in ship building, the NIMASA DG noted that there are financial incentives for ship building and ship scrapping with assurance of foreign repatriation of capital and profit.
In his words “We ensure that we provide the basket of incentives to ensure that you get into the industry, maximize the opportunities in the industry for the benefit of both Nigerians and the investors.”
He stated that the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration to ensure a drastic reduction in bureaucratic red tapes impeding investment in the country sees Osinbajo coordinating the ease of doing business initiative project, adding that the presidential enabling business environment council has approved a national action plan to be implemented across priority areas which will enhance entry and exit of goods and services to spur inflow of foreign investment into Nigeria.
While answering questions form journalists shortly after his presentation, the NIMASA DG noted that the Federal Government of Nigeria is working to refloat a national fleet for the country, which process will be private sector driven.
According to him “You will recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Transportation is trying to refloat the national fleet. The difference now is that the private sector will drive the process while Government will serve as facilitator. That is the way we have chosen to address the issue of national fleet ownership.”
In the same vein, Dr. Timothy Okon of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who delivered the NNPC position at the event, informed that the Federal Government’s gas flare commercialisation programme is on course to attract significant and sustainable growth to the oil and gas sector.
Similarly, Brent Omdahl, a senior commercial officer with the American embassy in Nigeria said that the Donald Trump administration is committed to improve on the trade relations between the United States and Sub Saharan Africa by encouraging more American companies to invest in the region. He said they have the mandate to have American investors explore available opportunities in both the oil & gas, and the maritime sector of the economy. He said the commercial department of the United States embassy has the mandate to facilitate seamless platform for American investors to interact with policy makers, and implementers in sub-sahara.
On his part, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Sani Yerima, assured that the legislature is committed to providing the legislative framework to enhance foreign investment in Nigeria, particularly, the maritime sector.
This position was re-emphasized by the Chairman House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Honorable Mohammed Umaru Bago.
The OTC is where professionals meet annually to exchange ideas and opinions to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources and environmental matters. This year’s event is themed “Sub-Saharan African Oil & Gas networking session”, which is seen as an added advantage to attaining ease of doing business in Nigeria, particularly in the maritime sector.
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