Abiola Seun |
The Indigenous Shipowners can now heave a sigh of relief as the committee set up by the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on cabotage implementation is preparing new guidelines for disbursement of the long-awaited Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF).
The fund set up by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, otherwise known as the Cabotage Act, 2003 to give investment leverage to indigenous ship owners, has remained un-accessed 16 years after its creation. The fund currently has a value of $124 million (about N44.6 billion).
Chairman of the committee, Mr. Temisan Omatseye, a former Director-General of NIMASA, told journalists in Lagos that the committee would come up with new guidelines for ship owners to access the fund, among other works it was saddled with.
He said the committee is currently awaiting position papers from various segments of maritime industry stakeholders before it breaks into sub-committees to handle the different issues of players in the country’s maritime trade.
Omatseye said, “We have had our first meeting and we have reached out to stakeholders in the industry to tell us what their issues are. So, they are now writing their position papers. Once we receive sufficient position papers, we will sit and break into sub-committees and begin to look deeply into the papers.
“We are going to come up with new guidelines on the disbursement of the cabotage fund. The committee is handling everything about cabotage, shipyards, foreign direct investments. We have been given a long time to do the job because it has a wide scope. For 16 years, it has not worked, so we have been given the task to make it work
“We are not dealing with individuals, we are talking to mariners, surveyors, shipbuilders, financiers and NIMASA enforcement officials to give us their positions so that when we get them, we would begin to break the issues down. We are also looking at finances and we believe that with all that, we can have a direction.
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