The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo on Friday visited the headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Apapa, Lagos, vowing to break the “jinx” surrounding the non-disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
It was the Minister’s first official visit to the agency since his appointment in July.
Over the past 15 years, many Ministers of Transport and heads of NIMASA made several promises to disburse the CVFF to empower indigenous ship owners acquire vessels. However, None of the promises was fulfilled.
“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,” the Minister said.
He also commended the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for its capacity development initiative, and for remaining focused in the delivery of its mandate.
“NIMASA of today have come a long way from the NIMASA I knew ten years ago. I commend the entire management and staff of the agency for raising the bar; it is a symbol of teamwork. I am impressed with the customer experience center and your efforts to attract young Nigerian into the maritime sector via various capacity development projects including the essay competition for secondary school students,” Sambo said.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh thanked the Minister for his dynamic leadership in steering the affairs of the ministry, while also assuring that the agency remains committed to actualizing its mandate as stipulated in the four enabling Acts of the National assembly for a robust and attractive maritime sector in Nigeria.
He further used the opportunity to intimate the Minister on some of the activities of the agency in realizing a robust maritime sector. He listed the activities to include obtaining approval for physical and monetary incentives for ship owners to purchase brand new vessels at zero duty, while also assisting them get foreign exchange at the Central Bank of Nigeria rate respectively.
The move, according to Jamoh, is to help phase out old and rickety vessels from the nation’s waterways and encourage more participation in the Nigerian shipping industry.
The NIMASA DG informed the Minister that under the Deep Blue Project, 600 Special Forces from the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Department of State Security, among others are undergoing training for special skills to ensure effective implementation of the Project. The intent is to ensure that the nation’s waterways remain safe from all forms of criminalities.
Jamoh also informed the Minister that under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) scheme over 2,000 Nigerians have undergone training, out of which about 800 are actively engaged on various ships, with a huge number of them working on the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) ships. He added that NIMASA is developing a National Ship Building and Infrastructure Development Strategy, aimed at bridging the gap of capacity building for trained seafarers.
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