A group known as Asiwaju Maritime Network, has proposed an agreement between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency. (NIMASA) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the purpose of revenue collection.
This is coming on the heels of the Presidential Policy Advisory Council recommending a merger between NIMASA, FIRS and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to harmonize the revenue accruable from these agencies.
AMN made this proposal in a letter addressed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu titled: “Alternative Views on Presidential Policy Advisory Council’s Recommendation to Merge the FIRS, Customs and NIMASA into the Nigerian Revenue Service (NRS)”
“We propose a solution whereby NIMASA would continue to generate the levies payable, but the payments would be directed to FIRS. We suggest that FIRS and NIMASA enter into an agreement wherein FIRS would provide agency services for the collection of and monitoring levies on behalf of NIMASA.”
“Under this arrangement, the mandate of FIRS would be to collect all charges, levies and other revenue due to NIMASA as prescribed by legislations and regulations. Subsequently, FIRS would remit the collected fees to NIMASA monthly. In addition, FIRS should be responsible for preparing monthly reports on the total levy collection in a prescribed format, apart from ensuring the timely collection and remittance of the monthly fees,” the statement read.
AMN said it strongly believes that this proposed model aligns with the intention of the Presidential Policy Advisory Council without necessitating the merger of the agencies and dilution of their respective functions.
According to the National Convenor, AMN, Mr. Usman Shuaibu, this proposition enables NIMASA to continue its vital role in generating levies, while FIRS assumes the responsibility of collecting and managing these funds.
He added that the collaborative approach ensures synergy between the two agencies and facilitates effective revenue collection for the benefit of the Nigerian government and the maritime industry.
The group, however, acknowledged the benefits of merging certain maritime agencies and proposed a broader consolidation of NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
“Drawing inspiration from the successful model developed in Singapore, we believe that this merger can foster robust cooperation and coordination of maritime activities, leading to improved efficiency, elimination of wasteful practices, avoidance of conflicts and duplication of duties, and enhanced service delivery.”
“The merger of NIMASA, NPA, and NIWA would capitalize on the strengths and expertise of each agency, creating a unified maritime authority that can effectively oversee various aspects of the maritime industry. By combining resources and streamlining operations, we can eliminate redundancies, reduce administrative costs, and maximize the utilization of available resources. Furthermore, this merger would facilitate seamless coordination between different segments of the maritime industry, including maritime safety and security, port operations, and inland waterway transportation,” it stated.
While stressing that NIMASA has unique functions that wouldn’t support the proposed merger with Customs and FIRS, Usman opined that the NPA, NIWA and NIMASA merger could promote a cohesive approach in developing and implementing policies, regulations, and infrastructure to support the growth and sustainability of the maritime industry.
“Importantly, this merger should be carried out with a focus on ensuring that the consolidated authority is manned by competent maritime experts who possess the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively manage the complex challenges of the industry. Competency-based appointments and adherence to international best practices in recruitment and training should be prioritized to ensure the highest standards of professionalism within the merged entity,” he stated.
Recalling that the Network wrote a book dedicated to President Tinubu and the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, titled “ASIWAJU: Roadmap to Renewed Maritime Hope”, Usman emphasized that the book delves deep into the complexities of the maritime industry and offers invaluable insights into transforming it into a thriving and competitive force.