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Money accrued under CVFF not missing—- Saraki



Segun Oladipupo
The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Rukayyat Gbemisola Saraki on Friday dismissed insinuations that the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF) valued at over N210 billion, has been misappropriated or diverted into another venture.She made this statement against insinuations that the fund might have been misappropriated which is why it has not been disbursed after several failed attempts.
The Minister assured that the fund was still intact.She however regretted that the fund is yet to be disbursed 19 years after its creation, describing the non-disbursement as national shame. She averred that it was rather a shame that the fund meant to empower indigenous ship owners  has not been accessed by any of them since then.
Senator Saraki stated this at an interactive session with maritime press after her five days assessment and inspection of seaports and other facilities in LagosRecall that the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) created in 2003 under the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003, is a pool of funds from two percent of every contract under the Cabotage regime. The pool covers shipping activities within the inland and coastal areas of Nigeria, designed to help indigenous ship owners to acquire vessels to enhance competition with foreign ship owners.The Minister disclosed that the guidelines for the disbursement of the fund have been formulated and awaiting to be presented to the National Assembly for approval.She added that the disbursement would follow the approval by the National Assembly after beneficiaries have been shortlisted. On allegation that the Federal Ministry of Finance had at some point withheld the fund, she noted that it was not about the Finance Ministry but inability to secure approval of the guidelines for the disbursement from the National Assembly.According to her, the approval would soon be secured and the fund disbursed in no distant time. Her words, “It is really very disheartening that the fund has not been disbursed but we will work with the National Assembly to ensure its disbursement.“Just watch, it has to be disbursed, especially with the coming on stream of the African Continent Inal Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.“In the course of this visit, I have also interacted with so many stakeholders including the indigenous ship owners. I know the number of vessels that Nigerians had 10 years ago and I know how many they have now “It is really a shame that this fund has not been disbursed, I learnt the value is $350 million now and I am not sure any part of it is missing.
” We will work with the National Assembly to pass the guidelines. It is not really about the Federal Ministry of Finance but I think it is more of the political will to disburse it and I think we have the political will to do so.”The immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi had in 2020, set up a committee to formulate fresh policies for the disbursement of the fund which included that only indigenous ship owners who contributed into the pool were qualified for the loan. 

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