Reps $700m Cabotage fund suspension will affect disbursement conditions – Shipowners

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The Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), founding President, Mr Isaac Jolapamo, says the suspension of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) will affect the progress in the fund’s disbursement conditions.

Jolapamo disclosed this in an interview on Saturday in Lagos.

He said members of the association had done enough to meet the conditions stipulated for the disbursement of the fund.

NAN reports that the House of Representatives had ordered the immediate suspension of the planned disbursement of $700 million CVFF to shipowners by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

They also directed the agency to present an audited statement of account showing all monies that have accrued to the CVFF within seven days.

Jolapamo who expressed disappointment prayed the CVFF to see the light of day.

“We, as an association have gone further to have a company, although we had it since 2008. But we floated a new one just to meet the condition.

“Members of the association own the company. If we are 16 or 20, are we not good enough to get the fund?

“We have started making moves to approach the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd because we understand that it is offering to give nine per cent of the 15 per cent the shipowners need to contribute.

“So that gives us six per cent, so if all of us as broke as we are, we are able to see six per cent to add. So why should anybody want to come and spoil what is going on,” he said.

Jolapamo said it was not the right of the House of Representatives to suspend the CVFF, wondering the reason for the vested interest of legislators on the fund.

“We have been on this struggle for 20 years, to disburse the money that we have contributed. It is not government money. They have made laws, why must they disturb the executive.

“After the law, the bus stops on the minister’s table for the disbursement. There are people who want to do it and have their name written in gold, somebody just woke up and say they are stopping it.

“The legal advisory we have is that they don’t have the right to do what they are doing, except there is a vested interest. This matter has gone so far that what is left is the disbursement.

“Some of us that were just fifty something years old when this thing started are now in the seventies and eighties. To me, we have to see to its end,” he said.

On the issue of the 8.5 per cent charged by commercial banks for the CVFF disbursement, Jolapamo said that the 8.5 per cent was the high end of single digit that shipowners were asking for.

He said that they were asking for interest rate in the region of five or 7.5 per cent.

“In other climes, they are getting 2.5 per cent and of course, if we have between five to 7.5 per cent which is in the third quarter of ten, it will be better,” he said.

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