The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has disclosed that only shipowners who contribute to the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) would be qualified to access the fund.
Dakuku Peterside who made the disclosure at a forum where the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi met with the stakeholders on the fund disbursement in Lagos noted that the CVFF had grown to $200 million (about N72 billion). ‘’Only contributors to the fund will be eligible to access it,’’ said Peterside.
NIMASA boss who was chosen to lead a committee set up by the minister to review the existing guidelines reiterated that the fund was meant to promote indigenous capacity in the shipping sector by assisting Nigerians in the procurement of maritime assets in line with the Cabotage Act, which seeks to encourage indigenous participation in the maritime industry.
He also disclosed that in addition to talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on how to make funds available to operators in the maritime industry, the Agency was working with the supervising Ministry to ensure that the CVFF was disbursed to qualified applicants using a single digit interest rate.
“On our part as an Agency, our utmost goal is to grow the maritime sector and encourage more indigenous participation. We are working with the Ministry of Transportation and also discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria, to see the possibility of granting loans to qualified operators at single digit interest rate, as this will give room for greater participation and also open up vistas of opportunities for massive job and wealth creation in the sector,” he said.
He said NIMASA was working with stakeholders to ensure that the Cabotage Act was fully actualised through a Five-Year Cabotage waiver cessation plan set for implementation from next year.
Other members of the CVFF committee are Chairman of Nigerian Ship Owners Forum, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi; Vice Chairman, C&I Leasing, Emeka Ndu; Managing Director, Starz Marine, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun; and President, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Aminu Umar, among others.
The CVFF is meant to help Nigerians buy ships and other assets to grow their capacity, support economic growth, and compete favourably on the international scene.