By Stephen Ubanna
Dame Gladys Olajumoke Simplice, President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigria, CTN, is a happy woman. Simplice source of happiness is the Institute’s association with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under the lose watch of Bashir Jamoh, who over the last eight months of assumption of office had taken the maritime regulatory agency to a new height.
Speaking at the Institute’s recent 22nd Annual Tax Conference which had centered on the broader role of Taxation as an essential tool for economic growth and effectiveness, Dame Simplice, who could not hide her feelings had described the Jamoh led NIMASA, as ‘’pivotal in the country’s attempt ‘’to fast- track Tax revenue as a prime source of government Finance in economic development drive’’.
An elated CITN President was said to have Commended Jamoh and his Team of resourceful staff for their Commitment to the development of the nation’s maritime industry through the promotion of the government’s ease of doing business initiative at the ports and expansion of infrastructure.
Acquainted with the fact that the Federal ministry of Transportation agency is saddled with the responsibility of regulating shipping business in the nation’s maritime sector, creating the enabling environment to simplify taxes on businesses to attract Foreign Direct Investment, FID, and revenue generation for the government, she insists that ‘’NIMASA , is the key to national progress’’.
Given an insight into the importance of marine tourism and water transportation she was said to have called on the maritime agency to initiate and develop measures to develop them. The CITN President may have challenged the Jamoh led NIMASA Management ‘’to take it as a point of duty to regulate the tourism aspect of Nigerian maritime sector, encourage indigenous shipping and financially empower Nigerians to develop their cargo businesses.
According to her, this will go a long way to automatically speed up the country’s local and Foreign cargo exports through the sea. She may have gladdened the heart of Jamoh, the NMASA Director General when she urged the agency to bring water tourisminto focus, in Nigeria, described as one of Africa’s largest economies in Africa.
Perhaps, what may have enthused the CITN President with the Jamoh led Maritime regulatory agency was the successful fight against piracy and other Criminal activities in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, to ensure the free sailing of ocean cargo vessels into the Nigerian ports without harassment.
She noted that the partnership between the agency and the Nigerian Navy, under the close watch of Ibok Ekwe-Ibas, a Vice Admiral, over the years was a welcome development, as it had made the anti-piracy war, a huge success.
This is evident going by the number of Pirates that had been arrested and vessels with their Crew members that had been rescued in the recent time by the Navy and handed over to NIMASA in the spirit of inter-agency relationship.
Recall that in May, 2020, the Ekwe-Ibas led Navy, had handed over 10 arrested pirates who had attacked and boarded a Chinese vessel, MV. HAILUFANG, off the coast of the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire and directed it towards the Nigerian waters.
The good news was that the arrest of the pirates by the Navy and subsequent handover to NIMASA, marked the beginning of the prosecution of the water Criminals under the country’s Supression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences, SPOMO, which was signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari in June, 2019.
The first batch of the pirates dragged to the PortHarcourt Court, in oil Rivers state, south-south Nigeria, by NIMASA, over their involvement in hijacking of a Chinese ship last march off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire and directed it towards Nigeria were fined $52,000 each.
As a Tax expert , who was said to have had much influence on the government on Tax Collection in the country, the CITN, boss was said to have called ’’for equal treatment of the operators in the nation’s shipping industry and tax Concessions to the shipping Companies, given what the Companies had gone through over the last couple of months because of the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, as most of their businesses were virtually closed down. This is because the Pandemic had adverse effect on global shipping, which in turn had advese effet onthe shipping industry in Nigeria.
Among the notable dignitaries that were said to have attended the CTN, Conference in Lagos, were Inuwa Yahaya and Nasir El-rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, under former President Olusegun Obasanjo led People’s Democratic Party, PDP, government , between 199 and 2007 and now governor of Kaduna state, north west Nigeria
. El-rufai may have picked interest on events of the nation’s maritime sector because of the good works of Jamoh, the Director General, NIMASA, an indigene of the state, and Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, described in Political circles as her god daughter and who incidentally is an indigene of Katsina state.
The governor may have seen that the country’s future economic survival lies in the government diversifying into the nation’s maritime sector in order to attract more investment that could earn Foreign exchange for the country with the drop of oil price in the International oil market due to the COVID 19, which had reduced investment in the sector.