Levies: NIMASA to appeal court ruling

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says it will  appeal a Federal High Court ruling exempting the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) from paying taxes and levies to the agency.

Justice M.B Idris, of the Federal High Court in Lagos had on Tuesday ruled that the agency was not obliged to pay statutory levies or make any other form of payment to NIMASA.

In a statement made available to newsmen, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the judgment will be appealed once his team gets a “true copy” of the court ruling.

“Our legal team are waiting for the certified true copy of the judgment which we will study and respond as appropriate,” said Dakuku.

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In 2013, NIMASA had requested NLNG to pay all statutory levies accruable to the agency including the three percent levy on gross freight on inbound and outbound international cargo, as well as two percent cabotage levy and sea protection levy.

NIMASA also argued that the NLNG was not exempted from payment of statutory levies after its tax holiday ended many years ago.

Following the dispute, NIMASA had blocked the NLNG’s export from Bonny Island for 22 days.

In his judgment, Idris also said all payments already made by NLNG to NIMASA should be refunded.

Immediate past MD/CEO NLNG, Babs Omotowa, said the company lost $475 million during the period of NIMASA’s blockade.