The $360 million Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund will now be distributed to eligible Nigerian shipowners by the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency of Nigeria.
According to Nairametrics, this information was revealed in a statement released on Friday in Lagos by Assistant Director of Public Relations, NIMASA, Mr. Osagie Edward.
After conducting an investigation, the House Committee, which was chaired by Mr. Legor Idagbo, a member who represents the Cross River State federal constituency of Bekwarra/Obudu/Obanliku, approved the disbursement.
The committee demanded that NIMASA and the Ministry of Transportation submit specific details on the total amount accruing to the fund and disbursements since its inception, according to NIMASA’s statement on the committee’s findings in its report.
“On May 11, the committee met with the director-general of NIMASA and the minister of transportation to discuss the specifics of the situation.
“The committee found that due procedure was adhered to in the planned payout of the CVFF after carefully examining the numerous arguments and the justifications provided by the government and NIMASA.
“The committee took note of the fact that the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act established the CVFF as a fund in 2003. The fund was formed to support indigenous maritime operators financially and to build local ship purchasing capacity.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd. continues to grant contracts to international maritime companies, according to NIMASA. The committee also stated that local or indigenous coastal operators in Nigeria lacked capacity.
“It was also found that the $360 million total funds in the CVFF account with the Central Bank of Nigeria represent 50% of the entire funds, with the remaining counterpart funds, which are made up of 15% of the money from stakeholders and 35% of funds from banks, constituting the balance 50%.”
However, the Committee applauded NNPCL for its dedication to granting shipping contracts to local businesses that had developed sufficient capacity to carry out these contracts successfully.
In addition, it reaffirmed NIMASA’s commitment to transparency in all facets of the agency’s operations.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, expressed optimism that the NNPCL’s decision to award maritime contracts to indigenous companies will strengthen the cabotage regime being championed by the agency.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, which releases the fund, is expected to use it to finance the acquisition of ships and other equipment that will boost Nigeria’s maritime sector by billions of dollars.