By John Okoh
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside has expressed the Agency’s dissatisfaction with the judgment of the Federal High Court by Justice M. B. Idris, delivered Tuesday in the case between NIMASA and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, (NLNG).
In a statement by Isichei Osangbi, Head of Corporate Communications, Dakuku stated the Management would appeal the judgment. He noted that “the Agency’s Legal team are waiting for the certified true copy of the judgment which we will study and respond as appropriate”.
He said that NIMASA had in 2013 requested the NLNG to pay all statutory Levies accruable to the Agency, including the 3 per cent levy on gross freight on inbound and outbound international cargo, 2 per cent Cabotage levy and Sea Protection levy stating that the NLNG was not exempted from payments of statutory levies after its tax holiday ended many years ago.
He quoted Section 2 (1) and (2) of NIMASA Act to buttress his case. According to him, the Act states that: “This Act shall apply to ships, small ships and crafts registered in Nigeria and extended to ships, small ships and crafts flying a foreign flag in the Exclusive Economic Zone, Territorial and Inland Seas, Inland Waterways and in the Ports of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. The only vessels exempted from levies under the NIMASA Act are “…warships and military patrol ships”.
(Section 2 (2) states that NIMASA has portfolios of statutory revenues that it collects from shipping companies/ship operators, manning agents and seafarers. This the agency pays into the coffers of the government. It is within these funds generated that the agency uses to develop and police the maritime sector. NIMASA does not receive any government allocations.
He said the court had in 2013 ruled on the agreement by both parties which stipulated that NLNG would pay outstanding levies and also to continue to pay all applicable levies in line with the NIMASA mandate.