The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is determined to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) for the first time since it was established in 2003.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this in Abuja on Sunday.
Peterside said the agency was engaging all relevant stakeholders to ensure that disbursement was made.
“You are very correct that since the inception of the Cabotage regime, the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) has not been disbursed but we are set to break the jinx.
“We are getting the necessary support; it is the responsibility of the Minister of Transport to give final approval for the disbursement of the fund.
“We are engaging both industry stakeholders, the honourable minister and Mr. President on the need to disburse the CVFF but the minister has expressed concern that he doesn’t want the fund to go the way of other funds.
“So, we are going to engage with CBN, the commercial banks, we are on course and I am satisfied we are making progress. I believe that this year, the CVFF will be disbursed”, he said.
According to him, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has directed for a quick review of the guidelines governing the disbursement of the fund for progress to be made.
“He has directed that we quickly review the guidelines governing the disbursement of the fund so that the fund will be accessed by those who will benefit from it.
“For the purpose that it’s meant for, to build capacity, to enable them build capacity and compete with the rest of the world.
“The ultimate purpose of the fund is that it should help bring down the cost of fund to enable stakeholders to acquire vessels and build up capacity,” he said.
Peterside, however, said that part of what the agency intended to do within the year was the enforcement of Cabotage Law which would bring more Nigerians into the shipping trade.
“We will prioritise the enforcement of the Cabotage Law which will include a programme to fizzle out the issuance of waivers, so that Nigerians can benefit from coastal trade.
“We are already doing audit of ship building and ship repair yards in the country with the aim to see how we can intervene and give them support so that they can do more.
“By employing more Nigerians and building more vessel in the country and reduce the dominant of foreign vessels in our coastal trade,” he said.
The CVFF was established in 2003 mainly to promote indigenous shipping through loans to local operators.
The fund is made up of contributions from indigenous operators by way of fees imposed by NIMASA.