By Jerry Aguigbo
The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is insisting on a single digit interest rate for the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund to be disbursed. TodayNews gathered that
is on the verge of disbursing the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund ( CVFF) in the next few weeks.
The DG NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh who was the guest lecturer at the 7th series of The Bullion Lecture, organised by Centre For Financial Journalism, held yesterday at the Civic centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos with the theme: Banking on Blue Economy for Nigeria’s Economic Development,” stated that it is a given that NIMASA will disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) in the next couple of weeks but we are in talks with the banks to ensure the disbursement is done with a single digit interest rate.
“We must insist to have a single digit interest rate before we disburse the CVFF but we also know that the banks have a limit they can go and we are mindful of that, we are in talks with them to find a middle ground for all of us, we also want to give the ship owners an interest that is favourable, so that they don’t abandon it for us,” Jamoh said.
The DG NIMASA insisted that they are ready to disburse the $780M CVFF in the coming weeks or, at most before the end of President Buhari’s administration.
Jamoh revealed that his Agency, (NIMASA) is midwifing strategic synergies to further enable ship owners to easily acquire vessels to expand the national fleet through financial investment and cargo support by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL). The NNPCL he explained, has offered to provide 9 percent of the 15 percent CVFF ship – owners’ contribution thereby lessening the financial outlay on the ship owners to just 6 percent contribution.
Additionally, the NNPCL has committed to providing the much-needed cargo for the vessels to engender the business of coastal shipping thus, creating a win-win partnership that will boost the economy and creat employment.
Continuing, Dr Jamoh said Nigeria needs a direct policy to ensure that the Ship Repair Industry is thriving, ” from time to time, interventionary policies must be made by the Federal Government, that was why NIMASA had to acquire one of the largest Floating Dock, a 50bn floating Dry-dock which is expected to generate N1bn monthly to ensure that ships berthing in Nigerian waters, needing repairs are repaired in Nigeria and funds retained (Forex) in Nigeria not Ghana, South Africa, Benin or Turkey.”
While also making his own remarks on the viability of the blue economy for economic development, President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Dr Mcgeorge Onyung said the blue economy has been in existence but only drawn attention to by the United Nations because of poverty. According to him, ship owners are serious minded people who are ready to take the business of shipping to another level, even with the disbursement of the CVFF.
Dr Unyung said that Nigeria must do some disruptive thinking if we must harness the benefits of the blue economy. “Nobody builds a port in the City, Apapa port has become Ajegunle port, Ajegunle must be relocated to make way for proper expansion and development. He stated that 90 percent of global shipping is ship and procuring ships is the solution to the blue economy.
The 2023 Bullion Lecture was chaired by the former President of Women in Maritime Africa, Mrs Jean Chaizor Anishere (SAN), in attendance were the SA Media to the Nigerian President, Mr Femi Adeshina, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) among other dignitaries.