… As Agency Tasks Banks on Modalities
By Shola Fadeyi
There are strong indications that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, ( NIMASA) will disburse the over $350 million Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF), before May this year, when the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will terminate.
This followed NIMASA DG , Dr Bashir Jamoh ‘s optimism yesterday, that due to the efforts that are being made by the Agency on the disbursement of the fund, ‘’ the ship owners , who are the direct beneficiaries of the fund , will have a firm commitment of receiving their new ships in 60 days time’’.
Jamoh disclosed this at a meeting NIMASA had yesterday, at his Boardroom in Lagos, with the Managing Directors of the five Primary Lending Institutions(PLIs) , which are banks that are part of the scheme, in a series of such parleys, the Agency has lined up to ensure that the fund is disbursed before May, this year.
The CVFF is an intervention fund created by the Federal Government for the development of indigenous shipping capacity in Nigeria, to enable ship owners maintain existing vessels or purchase new ones.
The Fund comprises two percent of the proceeds of contracts executed by indigenous shipowners on Nigeria’s coastal waters to develop cabotage fleet and local shipping capacity.
The PLIs , namely Union Bank, Zenith Bank, Jaiz Bank, Polaris Bank and UBA are expected to contribute 35 per cent of the funding for the scheme, NIMASA, on behalf of the Federal Government ,50 per cent , while the beneficiaries, which are shipping companies , are to be responsible for the balance.
NIMASA’s ongoing efforts on the scheme, is also sequel to President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for the disbursement of the fund last December, due to the Transportation Minister, Muazu Sambo’s promise to ensure that the Fund is given out by the current administration. .
The need to accelerate the process of disbursement of the fund has also made Jamoh to issue a 72 hours ultimatum to the PLIs to release their own modalities for giving out the funds to the beneficiaries at the meeting he had with them.
After the meeting with the Banks CEOs, he had advised them to put heads together at the Agency ‘s Board Room to ensure that they give him their positions on the disbursement modalities in time , so that he can meet with the shipping companies among other stakeholders latest by next week.
Apart from tasking the PLIs on the modalities for the disbursement , the NIMASA DG had also explained that his engagement with them was to tap from their financial and lending experiences, to avoid the pitfalls of the CVFF’s predecessor- the Ship Acquisition and Ship Building Fund (SASBF).
According to him, the final outcome of the large meeting, NIMASA intends to have with the shipping companies, PLIs will form the kernel of the final decisions of the federal government on the disbursement.
The PLIs however lauded NIMASA and the federal government on the proposed disbursement of the Fund, and expressed their readiness to key into the arrangements , but requested for about a week , to do their own homework and report back to the NIMASA management.