Reps to probe N40bn Cabotage Vessel financing fund held up in some banks

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday mandated an ad hoc committee to probe the more than N40 billion Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) allegedly trapped in some designated banks.

The resolution emanated from a motion moved by Rep. Hassan Saleh (PDP-Benue), which was unanimously adopted.

Leading the debate, Saleh alleged that more than N40 billion was trapped in some commercial banks instead of being used for the right purpose.

Saleh said that the actions of the banks and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had defeated the laudable objectives of the CVFF.

He said that if the maritime sector was fully developed, it had the potentials to generate much revenue as the oil sector.

According to him, more than 90 per cent of the country’s international trade was being carried out on the sea.

The legislator stressed that only 20 active Nigerian registered vessels were handling the country’s external trade, while the others were owned by foreigners.

The committee is expected to report back to the House in three weeks.

The house also mandated the committee to determine the total amount that had been generated under the fund since inception.

The house further mandated the committee to determine the banks warehousing these funds and their level of participation in the scheme.

In his contribution, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) urged the House to allow the relevant committee to embark on an oversight to ascertain the position of the funds.

“This motion calls for the House to exercise its oversight function on the agency,” he said.

Rep. Friday Itulah (PDP-Edo) noted that Nigerians’ participation in the cabotage industry was not satisfactory and that there was a need for Nigerians to look inward to develop the economy.

Rep. Frank Enekorogha (PDP-Delta) said that the committee in carrying out the assignment should come up with the number of Nigerians participating in the cabotage business.

Rep. Patrick Ikhariale (PDP-Edo) said that the motion before the house would afford it the opportunity to examine NIMASA.

He noted that if the economic sector was well managed, the management of other sectors would not pose any problem.

The CVFF was established by the Cabotage Act 2003 to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity.

This is by providing financial assistance to Nigerian operators in the domestic coastal shipping business.

 

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