HeadlinesPorts Management Shipowners’ hope dashed as FG withdraws approval for CVFF disbursement By maritimemag September 27, 2021 ShareTweet 1 Abiola Seun The hope of indigenous shipowners to get the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF), may have been dashed as President Muhammadu Buhari has withdrawn approval for the disbursement of the fund. Speaking over the weekend at the flag off of the National Wreck Removal exercise in Lagos, with a declaration that the maritime sector was being opened up for great investment opportunities, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, accused indigenous shipowners of going behind to gang up against him after he fought for two years to secure approval for the disbursement of the fund. This, he said, led to the withdrawal of the approval for disbursement by the president. He said, “ The shipowners went around and that approval was withdrawn. Then they said I should come and fight again. Should I fight? The answer is no. I fought for over two years and they gave us approval, and when it was time to disburse, they started to look for trouble. “One day I woke up, I saw a directive from the President withdrawing the approval, Should I fight again? No, I am not fighting again.” Amaechi, who criticised the shipping operators for lack of unity said many of them who claim to be shipowers do not own ships. He also blamed the indigenous ship operators for the withdrawal of the Singaporean firm, Pacific International Limited (PIL) from the Joint Venture it entered with the Nigerian government to establish a national shipping line after they failed to present their own 60 percent equity in the national carrier. “How many of you in the maritime sector are united? So, when you meet men who are fighting among themselves, you move on to something more serious. It is only in the Nigerian maritime sector that you have shipowners that don’t own ships. So, if I am dealing with shipowners that don’t own ships, what will I do? I will go to the railway. “When I came into government, the first place I focused my attention on was on maritime. We went to Singapore to get a foreign investor who will bring 40 percent for the acquisition of a national shipping line and Nigeria to bring 60 percent. The foreign investor brought their 40 percent, till today, Nigeria is still arranging its 60 percent. They couldn’t even raise the 60 percent. “So, the right thing to do if I am to continue as Minister is to go and amend the national shipping law and say the Nigerian shipping line can belong to anybody on earth who will have the capacity to put in vessels and fly the Nigeria flag. © 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.