The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has assured that Nigerian importers and exporters can now trade cheaper, as the Council is set to begin implementation of the reviewed three per cent levy collected by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Nigerian imports and exports.
At a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos yesterday, the NSC Executive Secretary, Mr. Hassan Bello said that the three per cent NIMASA levy has been reviewed and reclassified to separate low premium cargoes from high premium cargoes.
Bello, who was represented at the meeting by the Director of Commercial Shipping Services, Mrs. Dabney Shal-holma, assured that there will be a gross reduction in the market price of products, as, according to her, goods that were hitherto over-taxed have now been separated.
“What we import into the country mainly is not premium cargo. So, if you peg it high, you are making it difficult for the trader who is importing to even sell and break even.
“Market price of product will be grossly affected. So, it is not just the trader that ill benefit, it is the Nigerian economy that will benefit,” Shal-holma said.
Making a presentation on the provisions of the reviewed three per cent rates that will be collected by NIMASA from shipping lines, Shal-holma explained that the document has been submitted to the Federal Government and that it is already harmonised in the Nigerian Trade Hub of the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS).
She said: “There are certain trades that were being overcharged and some were being undercharged; in our classification, we have separated them so that high premium cargoes does not benefit extremely while low premium will suffer.”
She further explained that it is a project between the NSC and NIMASA, pointing out that the new classification will affect the revenue that should accrue naturally to NIMASA.
“The NIMASA three per cent collection, shipping company earning are going to be jolted a little, for the time being and a very short period, revenue in NIMASA will certainly drop by a very little percentage but we will be gaining because what it will now mean is that we can trade cheaper, and an economy that trade cheaper is an economy on its way to prosperity, ” she said.
According to her, the implementation of the reviewed rates will begin by October 1, 2013.
Also, a committee for the review of the rates has been set up to include NIMASA, Shippers Council, Grimaldi Shipping, Comet Shipping, Maersk Line and Hullblyth.
It is to be reviewed again by March 2014.
The shipping companies at the meeting, however, observed that the reviewed NIMASA three per cent rates did not reflect the global economic recession, noting that as it has remained the same since year 2008.
Managing Director of Grimaldi Shipping, Mr. Askani Russo, pointed out that it should have been reduced by 10 per cent in order to further reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria.
He also said that there should be a simplification of terms and need for clarity on payment to NIMASA.
However, Shal-holma assured that the complaints have been captured and will be looked at in the review of the document next year.
She said: “A committee sat for six months and evolved a scientific freight rate that will mirror what government wants in Nigeria so that the burden on the shipper and the industry can be reduced.
“The implementation will start on the 1st of September, we hope, but, looking at all the bureaucracies and administrative processes, we might start on the 1st of October.”
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