Former NIMASA DG opposes proposed merger with FIRS, Customs

A FORMER Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ade Dosunmu, has kicked against the plan to merge the agency with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). 

Dosunmu said the proposed merger would be counter-productive and have substantial negative implications for the country. 

Last Friday, June 16, President Bola Tinubu’s economic advisory committee had advised that NIMASA be merged with the NCS and the FIRS to ease the collection of direct and indirect taxes and levies on behalf of the Federal government.

Responding to this in a statement issued on Tuesday, June 20, Dosunmu said the agency was not a revenue-generating establishment.

He called the proposed merger a misconception that could endanger the maritime industry in Nigeria.

The former DG asserted that NIMASA had no relation with the FIRS or the Customs.

He said, “My attention has been drawn to a speculation purported to have emanated from the presidential policy advisory group erroneously classifying the NIMASA as a revenue-generating agency, thereby proposing a merger of NIMASA, Customs, and FIRS.

“It is my strong view that the proposed merger will be counter-productive with huge negative implications for Nigeria in the global shipping community.

“Our waters may be considered no longer safe for international shipping, and that can affect the volume of maritime trade and eventually lead to a drop in revenue. Another implication is that our waters can become a destination for rickety ships, thereby becoming a dumping ground for shipwrecks and derelicts.”

Dosunmu asked the Federal government to work on strengthening the agency to deliver more on its technical mandates. 

He warned against merging the agency with agencies he considered incompatible with its philosophy and objectives.






     

     

    Dosunmu, saying the revenue generated by NIMASA was being used to carry out technical functions and the surplus paid into the Federation account at year-end, urged the government to rethink and consult stakeholders in the marine sector for the best way to address issues around the industry.

    “My advice is that the Federal government, under the able leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, should consult major maritime stakeholders on issues affecting the maritime industry for proper guidance.

    “The industry is the gateway to the economy of Nigeria and is very critical to the logistics aspect of the oil and gas industry since most of the crude oil production and exploration activities take place offshore Nigerian waters.

    “Trial and error will not work. Rather, NIMASA being the regulator, should be strengthened technically. The whole idea of merger should be set aside until wider consultation with the industry stakeholders is held,” he said.

     

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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