The theme of the conference was “NLNG Ship Movement and Challenges.”
Yusuf noted that seafarers in India were exempt from paying tax unlike their Nigerian counterparts.
He lamented that Nigeria is losing many seafarers to foreigners due to the fiscal problem.
“In India, if you are not in the country for seven months, you will not pay any tax.
“But in Nigeria, if you’re not there for a whole year, you’re still going to pay taxes and you know the tax is graduated according to your level.
“So a sailor who sees where to go and who gets paid tax-free will gladly settle there,” he said
He underscored the need for advocacy with the government to address the issue for economic growth and development.
Yusuf added that seafarers’ pensions were deducted in dollars in Nigeria but were refunded to them in naira.
Speaking in drydock, Yusuf explained that the country’s facilities could not handle the size of the company’s vessels.
“Our vessels are 283 meters long and 45 meters wide and there is no longer any place in Nigeria that can accommodate this size of vessel.
“We would have loved to dry dock in Nigeria as it will be easier for us than traveling hundreds of nautical miles. It will also cost us money,” he said.
He noted that to ensure that the sector and the nation attract investment, there is a need to declare Nigeria as a maritime nation and in doing so, the government should grant waivers.
M Henry AgbodjanDirector of Human Resources, NSML, said Nigeria must be whitelisted by the International Maritime Organization for seafarer certificates to be acceptable.
According to him, to ensure this happens, the government should make a deliberate effort through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to address the issue.
M Abdulkadir AhmedDirector General of NSML, said that the crew of NSML (officers and ratings) had been trained in accordance with international standards.
Ahmed said the ratings were 100% Nigerian while the NSML operates a multicultural fleet of officers including Nigerians, British, Croats, Malaysians, Indians and Filipinos.
“The NSML is unquestionably the largest employer of skilled seafarers in Nigeria with over 700 shipboard personnel (officers and ratings) on its books”, he said.
He listed some of the challenges facing stringent global maritime regulations, new global trends in maritime technologies, piracy and security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, the future of maritime skills and others.
Ahmed instructed the media to deliver timely, accurate, factual and appropriate information.
Earlier, Mr. Eugene AghaChairman of SCAN, said gas is not only the future of global energy exploration and utilization, but also Nigeria’s huge source of income and employment.
Agha noted that changing trends in the global energy sector required a corresponding improvement and updating of the knowledge and skills of media professionals.
“This will help them continually update stakeholders on the opportunities and risks inherent in this sector, which can attract more enabling legislation to reposition the sector.
“It will also help overcome challenges and draw healthier competition and more wins,” he said.