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The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside Tuesday failed to give any meaningful reason causing the delay in the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), at his World Press Conference (WPC) held in Lagos.
Since last year, stakeholders had been looking onto the agency for the disbursement of the fund in order to empower local investors to grow the coastal trading business which had been lying fallow for years due to fraud and official inactivity in the federal agency before his appointment.
It would be recalled that even the former acting DG who he took over from, Mr. Jaluo was involved in fraud, just as the former substantive DG, Dr. Akpbolokemi is undergoing trials on the same charges of fraud.
Peterside claimed that “The issue of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund is one we have taken a critical look at and I can categorically say that we are addressing the issues militating against the fund being fully operational and accessible”.
Whereas the DG failed to give any further details on what are really the acclaimed ‘militating issues’, stakeholders have continued to argue that unless CVFF is made accessible, the multibillion dollar Nigerian coastal trading will continue to be a dormant resource at a time government is driving diversification of the economy.
Last week on a national TV, a leading maritime analyst and management consultant, Mr. CA Borha called on NIMASA to either disburse the fund to Nigerian shippers according to the Act establishing Cabotage Act or open up the Nigerian coast for foreign investors take over.
The expert added that NIMASA has no other reason other than lack of the needed understanding that Cabotage is all about empowering indigenous players to create jobs in the coastal trading.
Just yesterday, former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho joined the league of stakeholders calling for the disbursement of the fund so as to empower local shippers.
In concrete terms, he advised the Director General of the NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside to disburse the facility, saying “NIMASA should address the issue. It is a strange thing that the CVFF that was conceived so many years ago with so much money contributed by people who offer and users of shipping services and we are still at the stage where people are talking about disbursing it”.
While describing the non-disbursement of the shipping fund as “strange”, Iheanacho queried thus; “What is the purpose of CVFF?
He made it clear that “there is no reason why that money should not be disbursed. The money should not be diverted into other uses or other courses. The money is specific to the promotion of indigenous capacity in shipping and ought to be applied to that end”.
to those who have experience. I have been in the industry for eons, I have spoken about everything. People don’t really listen to things that we say. So people need to listen to the voice of experience. We cannot be treated as if our time as passed. No it hasn’t past. The knowledge and experience that we have has got to be brought to bear on the requirement for us to develop the industry optimally,” the chairman of Integrated Oil & gas summed up.