NIMASA raises hope on disbursement of N44b cabotage fund

Dakuku Peterside, NIMASA Boss

Succour is underway for the indigenous ship owners, as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), raised hope on the disbursement of the much-delayed Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF).
  
The CVFF, a two per cent contribution by indigenous ship-owners on every contract done in the nation’s maritime sector, now worth about $124 million (N44.6 billion) as at August 2018.
   
NIMASA had earlier blamed indigenous ship owners for pursuing personal interests over collective interest, as part of the challenge hindering the CVFF disbursement, but they argued that it was wrong for government to withhold the fund on that ground.

Rather, they advocated that the fund be used as seed money to set up a maritime bank.
 
NIMASA Director-General, Dakuku Peterside, insisting that the fund is safe and intact, assured that it would be disbursed to deserving indigenous ship owners this year, when the supervising ministry has perfect the strategies on the exercise.
  
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN), Peterside, who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Bashir Jamoh, said some necessary conditions at the instance of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, must be met before disbursement begins to guarantee repayment.
   
Peterside assured that the money was safe, contrary to “the assumption that it has been tempered with. 

All I know and I can say categorically is that the money will be disbursed this year, but I can’t say the particular time, because it is not the responsibility of my agency to disburse, unless we get such directive.
   
“Once they are sure that we can release the public fund to stakeholders and that the fund is guaranteed back, we release it on the instruction of the minister.”
   
He noted that the issue of migration from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF), to enable indigenous ship owners and the economy benefit from Nigeria’s crude oil freighting is yielding fruits, as the agency has gone far on the issue.
   
“We are talking with NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation), and believe that with time, we’ll have a breakthrough in ensuring that some Nigerian ship owners get the right to lift our crude oil,” he said.
   
“Interestingly, from our conversations, we have evidence that Nigerians are already lifting oil, but we cannot unveil those involved. The NNPC has indicated that some of them are already lifting, and feel it is safe for them to lift without any problem,” he said.
  
President, SCAN, Yusuf Babalola, commended NIMASA for its strides in transforming the maritime sector, through various stakeholder oriented policies.

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