By Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu, in Houston Texas
Houston — The Nigerian government has assured the international oil and gas community that the country’s maritime sector is safe for investment and that a special tax regime are under consideration to grow capacity for the industry in the country.
Addressing Journalists at a technical workshop on deepwater exploration on the sidelines of the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, noted that Nigeria was aware of the drift towards deep sea exploration and policies to enhance effective maritime transport were now being considered by the government.
Zakari said the report by the International Maritime Bureau that piracy had declined in Nigerian waters in the first quarter of 2019 was an attestation that efforts of the government in providing safety and security in the maritime sector has started yielding fruits.
“Nigerian waters are safe- NIMASA deep blue project in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, and all other security agencies in Nigeria is already in motion and will use the latest technology to track all vessels in Nigerian waters and reduce criminality to the barest minimum. Foreigners with genuine business interest are welcome to invest in Nigeria. So many have come and are enjoying benefits of their investment.” He said.
On his part, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said the agency had commenced regulatory reforms to ensure a business-friendly maritime environment to spur economic growth hinged on attracting both foreign and indigenous investors.
He assured the international community that NIMASA was committed to growing in-country capacity so that collaboration between Nigerian and foreigners could take place without fear of compromising standards.