NIMASA gets House’s nod to disburse $360 million Cabotage Fund



Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has received approval for the disbursement of the $360 million Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) to qualified Nigerian shipowners.

A statement by Mr. Osagie Edward, Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, disclosed in Lagos on Friday.

The House Committee chaired by Mr. Legor Idagbo, a member representing Bekwarra/Obudu/Obanliku Federal Constituency of Cross River State, granted the approval for the disbursement at the end of its investigation.

The committee noted a lack of capacity among indigenous coastal operators in Nigeria and the contravention of the Cabotage and Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Acts by awarding contracts to foreign shipping companies.

NIMASA in its statement disclosed: “The committee, met with the Minister of Transportation and the Director-General of NIMASA on May 11 to find out about the details concerning the matter.

“After a thorough analysis of the various submissions, coupled with the explanations given by the ministry and NIMASA, the committee discovered that due process was followed in the planned disbursement of the CVFF.

“The committee notes that the CVFF is a fund that was set up in 2003 by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act. The fund was established to develop indigenous ship acquisition capacity and to provide financial assistance to indigenous shipping operators.”

NIMASA added that the committee further noted that there was a lack of capacity amongst indigenous or domestic coastal operators in Nigeria, citing it as the reason Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd., (NNPC) still awards contracts to foreign shipping companies.

They added this was in contravention of the Cabotage and Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Acts.

“Some of these awards have been previously investigated by the committee, which led to their cancellation.

“It was also discovered that the total funds of $360m in the CVFF account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) represent 50%, while the remaining counterpart funds of 50% are from stakeholders and banks, which is 15 and 35% respectively.

The Committee however commended the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, on its commitment to awarding shipping contracts to indigenous companies that had built capacity to the level where they could successfully execute these contracts.

Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director General, NIMASA, expressed optimism that the NNPCL’s resolve to award maritime contracts to indigenous companies will give strength to the cabotage regime being championed by the agency and it reaffirmed NIMASA’s transparency resolve in all facets of the agency’s operation.

“The DG also called for more stakeholder support, saying the CVFF will evolve into greater benefit for more Nigerians, grow the per capita income and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria, through the maritime industry.”

Recall, the House of Representatives had ordered the suspension of disbursement for the CVFF.

The Fund which is disbursed by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is expected to finance the purchase of vessels and equipment to provide billions of dollars’ worth of value to Nigeria’s Maritime economy.

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