Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Jauro has dispelled insinuations that the account of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) has been depleted.
The CVFF is a pool of fund collected from ships involved in coastal operation. It is warehoused by NIMASA to be borrowed by Nigerian shipowners for vessel acquisition through selected banks known as Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs).
Jauro told members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport during their visit to the agency on Monday that the fund, which had grown to over N51 billion (about USD255million) remains intact.
He also disclosed that NIMASA remitted $140.8million (N42.22billion) into the Federation Account in five years.
Jauro said the agency collected $270million revenue from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas vessels in 2015, however explained that the remittance was not inclusive of the N4,985,000,000 and $39,025,017 operating surplus for last year which was also remitted to the Federation Account.
He told the Senate Committee headed by Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima, that so far, only statutory revenue disbursements of the agency, which include a 25 per cent maritime fund and five per cent development for the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron had been undertaken.
The NIMASA DG observed that N450 million was remitted to government coffers in 2011, N6, 441, 383, 583 in 2012; N13, 833,431,883 in 2013; N9,732,349,682 in 2014 and N11,770,978,562 in 2015.
Jauro said that the agency had registered no fewer than 1,975 vessels in its ship registry; adding that the agency was now dutifully discharging all the functions it is statutorily saddled with, especially the responsibility of shipping development and regulatory matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers.
He listed other responsibilities as including: administration and regulation of shipping licenses, administration, regulation and certification of seafarers, establishment of maritime training and safety standards, regulation of safety of shipping as regards the construction of ships and navigation, provision of maritime search and rescue services
He said that NIMASA provides direction and ensure compliance with vessels security measures, carry out air and coastal surveillance and control and prevent maritime pollution among others
In his response, Yerima noted that the committee was actually in the agency to perform its oversight function so as to ensure that government agencies manage their resources prudently in the best interest of Nigerians.
He maintained that the issue of corruption, which has become a norm in the society, must be eradicated, positing that the committee was in the agency to beam its searchlight into the activities of NIMASA in the past years; soliciting full cooperation of the management, particularly in releasing vital information that would guide the committee in performing its oversight functions.
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