By Racheal Ishaya
Abuja – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says it has concluded necessary documentation needed for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), currently estimated at more than 100 million dollars (N30.7 bn).
The Director-General of the agency, Dr Dakuku Peterside, made this known in Abuja at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum.
Peterside said that the fund came into being with the promulgation of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003.
The fund, derived from two per cent deductions from every contract awarded, was meant to help grow the capacity of indigenous ship owners’ intention and also provide the needed capital for them to acquire vessels.
“Now the minister has made regulations but with benefit of hindsight, we are looking at the regulations again. You will recall that there was a ship acquisition and ship building fund which is a precursory to the Cabotage fund.
“We have seen those funds and how they were operated and we have identified a few lacunas here and there.
“And so we want to do is to look at the guidelines again to ensure that we tighten certain knots and be ready to accommodate only credible ship owners, credible entrepreneurs so that they can access the funds, apply the funds for what it’s meant for and build capacity in terms of vessel acquisition.
“That is what we are doing with the CVFF fund. It’s there, we are trying to review the guideline and as soon as we review the guideline we will ensure that credible people have access to it. We believe that it will help them acquire more vessels and build capacity.
“What I can say is that we have about 100 billion dollars in the funds account. This is as specific as we can get right now because the figures keep changing on a daily basis.
“How soon? You know it’s a process. Nobody can say one week, two weeks, three weeks. But as soon as we complete the process of the review of the guideline and get the necessary things in place we should be able to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund.”