Nigerian shipowners have appealed to the Bank of Industry (BoI) to expand its intervention to them and save their businesses from total collapse.
The indigenous shipowners have been suffering financial crisis for some time which has led to most of them closing shops.
The shipowners under the auspices of the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) made this known in a 2017 communiqué and made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday. The communiqué was signed by SOAN president, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun
LEADERSHIP had exclusively reported in its May 9, 2017 edition that the nation’s shipping sector is currently experiencing cash crunch as a result of the harsh economic situation in the country.
The cash crunch has led to about 60 per cent of indigenous shipping firms operating in the downstream oil and gas sector of the economy facing serious financial crisis with most vessels at the seaside along CMS, Snake Island and Sea School in Lagos taken over by banks due to indebtedness of the owners to the various financial institutions in the country.
The shipowners are said to be owing banks huge non-performing loans to the tune of N5 billion accrued from ship purchases and financing.
They however asked the BoI to intervene to save the nation’s shipping sector. The shipowners’ situation has been so precarious because seeking fresh refinancing from the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF), meant for assisting indigenous players financially has not been made available because the Fund was yet to be disbursed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
“The Bank of Industry (BOI) expands its fund catering for the maritime industry in general, and shipowners in specific. The association also sought that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) should adhere strictly to all clauses in the Cabotage Act before allowing foreign vessels operate on the nation’s waters.
“That the requirements contained in the Cabotage Act be strictly adhered to in assessing foreign vessels operating in Nigerian waters. That government should review tax laws and policies applicable to the maritime industry, with a bid to providing necessary reliefs and incentives that would spur growth,” the communiqué read in part.
SOAN further stated that the transportation Ministry and NIMASA should hasten the disbursement of the CVFF.
The communique read: “Minister of Transportation and NIMASA should take urgent steps to facilitate access to the CVFF for strategic financial support to vessel owners in order to reverse the slide in Cabotage fleet tonnage.
“The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, should urgently pursue the implementation of the comprehensive report on revamping and restructuring Nigeria’s flag administration. That the Nigerian Maritime Administration make serious effort towards collaborating with operators and other stakeholders in the industry to promote a more co