Association wants maritime development bank

The Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) has advocated the establishment of Maritime Development Bank in the country.

Publicity Secretary of the association, Emmanuel Ilori, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

Ilori said operators in the maritime industry would benefit more if a maritime development bank was established, adding that investors would also invest their money in such bank.

He said the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) could also be used as an investment in the bank.

“Access to funding is one of the biggest issue that is affecting the operations and ship investment in Nigeria.

“There is a CVFF, but we as an executive of NISA have said there is no point in giving the CVFF money to just about six companies.

“What we are saying is that we should have a Maritime Development Bank, like we have the development financial institutions in Nigeria, because the foreigners that dominate our economy have access to cheap funding, but then in Nigeria it’s not so.

“We need to be able to empower the indigenous owners by having access to development fund.

“Because of the opportunities in the Nigerian maritime industry, we believe that if we have a maritime development bank, investors will put their money in the bank and we can use the CVFF money as an investment in the maritime development bank.

“All these efforts will bring the cost of borrowing, the cost of finance in Nigeria down,” he said.

According to him, some of the stringent conditions in accessing funds is one of the biggest challenges being faced by operators in the industry in Nigeria.

Ilori said that this was not the case for foreigners who easily accessed cheap funding, procure vessels and dominate domestic shipping operations.

He said that empowerment of indigenous ship-owners through improved funding would develop areas like shipbuilding and ship repairs, which were capable of creating a lot of jobs for Nigerians.

Ilori, however, said that the association was more concerned about an enabling environment for their operations which remained the focus of the executives.

He said that in line with the focus, a technical workshop in engineering was organised to address some of the industry’s operational needs.

NAN reports that the CVFF was created in 2003 to empower indigenous shipping operators to procure vessels to enable them compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.

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