Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) would be disbursed to deserving indigenous ship owners, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has restated.
Speaking over the weekend during a courtesy visit by the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN), the NIMASA director-general, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, insisted, however, that the necessary conditions at the instance of the minister of transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, must be met before disbursement to guarantee repayment.
Peterside, who was represented by the executive director, Finance and Administration, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, assured that the money was safe, contrary to the assumption that it has been tampered with.
“All I know and I can say categorically is that the money will be disbursed this year, but I can’t say the particular time because it is not the responsibility of my agency to disburse, unless we get such directive.
“Once they are sure that we can release the public fund to stakeholders and that the fund is guaranteed back, we release it on the instruction of the minister.”
Meanwhile, Peterside noted that the issue of migration from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) trade terms to enable indigenous shipowners and the economy benefit from the nation’s crude oil freighting was getting successful, as the agency has gone far on the issue.
“We are talking with NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) and believe that with time, we’ll have a breakthrough in ensuring that some Nigerian ship owners get the right to lift our crude oil.
“Interestingly, from our conversations, we have evidence that Nigerians are already lifting oil but we cannot unveil those involved. The NNPC has indicated that some of them are already lifting, and feel it is safe for them to lift without any problem,” he said.
More so, he disclosed that a lot of measures targeting cargo support had been introduced to ensure that ships do not go dry of cargo to lift, therefore “we are working towards ensuring that we have cargo support. If those shipping companies are successful in getting the CVFF, we have to ensure that we give them cargo to lift.”
This would be guaranteed by the cargo support scheme, which makes government cargo, project cargo and other heavy cargoes go through NIMASA as a way of assisting the ship owners and forestall a situation where they have to go searching for cargo to carry.
Also speaking during the event, the president of the Shipping Correspondent of Nigeria (SCAN), Mr. Yusuf Babalola , commended the management of NIMASA for its strides in transforming the maritime sector, through various stakeholder- oriented policies.
While assuring the agency of its readiness to partner it to ensure it actualises its mandates, he applauded the agency for its huge contributions to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) of the federal government, its increased awareness in the area of International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) Facility Code, which has led to more compliance by the various facility operators, berthing a modular floating dock amongst other strides.
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