FG shortlists 11 banks to disburse $350m Cabotage vessel fund

Nigeria records 27 attacks on ships at port anchorage

The Federal Government has shortlisted 11 banks to disburse $350million Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, who disclosed this during a press briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday, said a committee would be inaugurated by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo next week for the purpose of disbursing the fund.

He said the CVFF was derived from the two per cent contribution by indigenous ship owners from every contract executed in the nation’s waters.

The NIMASA DG explained that the disbursement of the CVFF is backed by the provisions of Section 42(1)-(2) of the Cabotage Act 2003, enacted to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity by providing financial assistance to Nigerian operators in domestic coastal shipping.

Jamoh said the disbursement of the funds will not only enhance the local shipping business but also assist in creating jobs for the over 2,041 Nigerian seafarers trained by the agency under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).

Jamoh said many NSDP beneficiaries remain unemployed due to the lack of indigenous fleet and the non-disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, which he said has made it difficult for indigenous players to enter into the shipping business.

“We are unable to retain them here due to the absence of fleets to provide jobs for them in Nigeria after their training overseas. One vessel can employ up to 40 of them. The shipping business is capital-intensive. Thus government need to give helping hands to potential ship owners. We need them to feed into our own system if the fleets are available,” he said.

Jamoh disclosed that since 2007, several Ministers of Transport and heads of NIMASA had promised to disburse the CVFF to empower indigenous ship owners to acquire vessels but were unable to do so.

“If there is a jinx about the CVFF, I am going to break it by getting it disbursed to deserving Nigerians. If these funds are disbursed, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the Federal Ministry of Transportation will take credit, while it remains a legacy in your administration,” he said.

The NIMASA boss disclosed that efforts are on to exit Nigeria from war risk insurance imposed on shipments of goods into the country. He said Nigeria has to exit such charges because of the safety recorded in the Gulf of Guinea, adding that efforts had begun to ensure that shipments of goods and services to Nigeria from Europe no longer attract such risks.

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