NIMASA DG Jamoh vows to address bottlenecks affecting cabotage fund disbursement in six months

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says the bottlenecks affecting the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) will be addressed in the next six months.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said this when the Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Shipping, Mr Panos Gliatis, with the members of the Nigerian Chambers of Shipping (NCS), paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday in Lagos.

Jamoh described the disbursement of the CVFF as one of the key hanging fruits that would boost the nation’s blue economy.

“I appeal that we move back to the drawing board and see how we can revive this, so that shipowners can have vessels that will enable our young ones to have jobs and reduce insecurity in the country.

“To address the bottlenecks, we have other Private Lending Institutions (PLIs) that will come in and compete with the others that we have and we have also gone far in the establishment of a maritime bank,” he said.

He lamented that the shipping industry contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was less than one per cent.

Jamoh said the target of the industry was to surpass the seven per cent contribution of Singapore to ensure a viable blue economy.

“We have been having discussion with your predecessors and this was centered on issue of disbursements of the CVFF and at that time the NNPC promised to provide data in terms of ships we intend to procure.

“The guidelines provide that NIMASA will provide 50 per cent of the cost of the vessel, the PLIs, the banks will provide 35 per cent while the beneficiary will provide 15 per cent.

“This is a way of trying to protect public funds and to remove ourselves from the previous experience of shipping frauds.

“It was at that junction that the NNPC Shipping agreed to take off nine per cent from the beneficiaries and the beneficiaries will pay six per cent and our discussion did not stop at what they can contribute.

“We will also involve them in strengthening the interest rate.

“We have gone far and the disagreement now is that the PLIs are insisting on the interest rate of 7.5 per cent, while NIMASA and NNPC Shipping are saying that they will only pay 6.5 per cent,” he said.

Jamoh noted that the issue would be discussed with the Managing Director of NNPC Shipping to fast track the funds disbursement.

Jamoh explained that the establishment of the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry by the Federal Government was to concentrate more on the gains and benefits of blue economy.

He said the collaboration with the NNPC Shipping came at the right time.

Jamoh noted that from their analysis, there was decline in the turnaround of vessels coming in and out of Nigeria as a result of many factors.

He said that government decided to establish a ministry that would bring up policies that would ensure the development of shipping and other related activities to assist the blue economy to thrive.

Earlier, Gliatis noted that the visit was to ensure cooperation between stakeholders in the industry for economic growth and development.

“This is not a new partnership but just to continue with what we had in the past

“Obviously, situation has changed, in NNPC and there is a new government, we need to see the jobs that have been done so far, opportunities and agree on the path for the future,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Aminu Umar, President, NCS, noted that shipowners under the auspices of the NCS had an interactive session with the NNPC shipping on shipping in the country.

Umar expressed optimism that the disbursement of the funds would create jobs and investment opportunities that would strengthen economic growth.

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