By Maritime Security News
The shipping arm of the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), Nigeria Ship Management Ltd (NSML), on Wednesday said that only Nigerian seafarers pay tax globally.
The Fleet Manager, NSML, Capt. Hambali Yusuf, made this known at an annual conference organised by the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) in Lagos.
The conference was themed, “NLNG Vessels Movement and Challenges.”
Yusuf noted that seafarers in India were exempted from tax payment unlike their counterparts in Nigeria.
He lamented that Nigeria was losing many seafarers to foreigners due to the tax issue.
“In India, if you are not in the country for seven months, you won’t pay any tax.
“But in Nigeria, if you are not around for a whole year, you are still going to pay tax and you know the tax is graded depending on one’s level.
“And so, a seafarer that sees where to go and be paid without tax deduction will gladly move to that place,” he said
He stressed the need for advocacy with the government for the issue to be sorted out for economic growth and development.
Yusuf added that seafarers’ pensions were deducted in dollars in Nigeria but paid back to them in naira.
Speaking on dry dock, Yusuf explained that the facilities in the country could not handle the company’s size of ships.
“Our ships are 283 metres length and 45 metres in width and there is no place in Nigeria now that can accommodate that size of ship.
“We would have loved to dry dock in Nigeria because it will be easier for us than to move hundreds of nautical miles away. This will also cost us some money,” he said.
He noted that to ensure that the sector and the nation attract investment, there was a need to declare Nigeria as a maritime nation and in doing so, government should give waivers.
Mr Henry Agbodjan, Human Resources Manger, NSML, said that Nigeria needed to be on the International Maritime Organisation whitelist for seafarers certificates to be acceptable.
According to him, to ensure that such happens, there should be a deliberate effort by government through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to address the issue.
Mr Abdulkadir Ahmed, Managing Director, NSML, said that the NSML crew (officers and ratings) were trained up to international standards.
Ahmed said that the ratings were 100 per cent Nigerians while the NSML operates a multicultural fleet of officers comprising Nigerians, Britons, Croatians, Malaysians, Indians, Filipinos.
“The NSML is, unarguably, the largest employer of qualified seafarers in Nigeria with over 700 shipboard personnel (officers and ratings) on its books,” he said.
He listed some of the challenges faced as strigent global maritime regulations, emerging global maritime technology trends, piracy and security challenges at the Gulf of Guinea, the future of maritime skill sets and others.
Ahmed tasked the media on timely dissemination of accurate, factual and appropriate information.
Earlier, Mr Eugene Agha, President of SCAN, said that gas is not only the future of global energy exploration and usage but also Nigeria’s huge source of revenue and employment.
Agha noted that the changing trends in the global energy sector demanded a corresponding improvement and updating of the knowledge and skills of the media practitioners.
“This will help them to continually avail stakeholders of the opportunities and risks inherent in this sector, which can attract more enabling legislation to reposition the sector.
“It will also tackle challenges and pull healthier competition and more gains,” he said