The President of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Aminu Umar, who recently passed a vote of confidence on the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for his good leadership, has now voided his vote by aligning with the leadership of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) to decry the delays by NIMASA in disbursement of the $100m Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
When asked in an interview in Lagos on whether his group is satisfied with government policies on issues concerning indigenous ship owners operation, he said “For Nigerian ship owners, I cannot say we are 100 percent satisfied. We want to see improvement. We want to see government creating intervention fund which are already provided for by our constitution.
According to him, “It is there in the Act, we are supposed to use it but unfortunately, we are still not getting the intervention fund. We are still discussing and engaging the government to see how they can cushion a lot of issues that we are facing, one of which is finance as intervention fund for ship owners.
“Up till today, we have not seen improvement in that area. We are still engaging and talking to the regulatory body in charge which is the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). So far, nothing has happened and we hope that may be next year, it will be in the budget. So we want to see improvement in that area too. It is for government to make the disbursement of the fund transparent so that ship owners can have access to these funds. It is meant for the ship owners to have access to the funds but so far, it has not been disbursed to ship owners.
Umar noted that “We do not know why it has not been disbursed and the government is not telling us why it has not been disbursed. We understand from the regulatory agency which is NIMASA that it will be disbursed this year but unfortunately, the year is almost ending and we are yet to see anything. So we believe it might be for next year and we are hoping that next year, it will be better. We will engage the government and see how we can begin the process of disbursement from the beginning of next year”.