FG picks UBA, Zenith, others to disburse $350m Cabotage vessel fund 

FG picks UBA, Zenith, others to disburse $350m Cabotage vessel fund 
L-R: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani; Minister of Transportation, Engineer Mu’azu Sambo and Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, during a press conference in Lagos weekend.


The Federal Government has chosen five banks namely Union Bank, Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA and Jaiz to serve as primary lending institutions for disbursement of $350 million Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to Nigerian ship owners to enable them acquire vessels. 

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, disclosed this on Saturday at the flag off ceremony of the third phase of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Program (NSDP) held at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos.

The Minister said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the disbursement of the over $350 million fund following convictions that the money belongs to ship owners.

The CVFF was established under the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003 to raise funds for indigenous ship owners to acquire vessels for the country’s coastal trade. 

Sambo said the approval would break the 17-year-old jinx that has hindered the expansion of the shipping industry.

“The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has approved my request for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund. It is my belief that finally we are going to break the 17-year-old jinx that has hindered the expansion of the industry when we disburse the funds in days to come to the deserving beneficiaries. 

“We have made a case that the funds belong to you ship owners. Mr President is a man who respects the law and he is on the same page with us that we should proceed with immediate effect. We will be liaising with the Minister of Finance for implementation and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to work immediately for the approval.

“We have pledged to the President that they would continue to allow the funds to go into the Treasury Single Account. However, whenever the money hits the threshold of $50million, the CBN upon recommendation from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Ministry of Transportation would inspect the transfer of the funds to the primary lending institutions,” he said. 

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said that the funds are in two folds, which is N16 billion and $350 million, with the N16 billion being the addition to the $350 million earlier announced by the former Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi.

He assured that there would be timelines for the disbursement, down to the issuance of the cheques to the beneficiaries.