President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the immediate disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), to qualified Nigerians as part of the Federal Government’s commitment to grow indigenous capacity of Nigerians to own vessels.
The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo who made the announcement at a press conference at the weekend said that the Presidential approval received by the Ministry on Friday confirmed Union, Zenith, Polaris, UBA and Jaiz Banks as the appointed Primary Lending Institutions for the disbursement of the funds.
Recall that the President had in 2019 approved the disbursement of the CVFF through the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, but the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab, according to Amaechi, had frustrated the disbursement of the CVFF, which she said is a public fund and shouldn’t be disbursed to private operators.
But speaking at the event, the Minister noted that the Ministry of Transportation has commenced liaison with the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria for the implementation.
His words: “The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has approved my request for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund. It is my belief that finally we are going to break the 17-year-old jinx that has hindered the expansion of the maritime industry.
“We have made a case that the funds belong to you, the ship owners. Mr. President is a man who respects the law and is on the same page with us to proceed with immediate effect. We will be liaising with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to work immediately for the approval.
“We have pledged to the President that they will continue to allow the funds to go into the Treasury Single Account, TSA; however, whenever the money hits the threshold of $50million, the CBN upon recommendation from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, would be expected to transfer the funds to the Primary Lending Institutions.”
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, announced that the funds available for disbursement was slightly over ₦16 billion naira and $350 million dollars.
In his words, “What we have collected so far is in two folds made up of Naira and Dollar components. So far, the Funds available under the CVFF in naira component is around Sixteen Billion naira (₦16,000,000,000:00), while contributions in Dollar component hovers around the Three Hundred and Fifty Million Dollar mark ($350,000,000:00).”
The CVFF was established alongside the Nigerian Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act of 2003, to empower indigenous ship owners to take control of the nation’s coastal and inland shipping business, otherwise known as Cabotage trade. Applicants of the Fund would make an equity contribution of 15 per cent while NIMASA would make an equity contribution of 35 per cent; and 50 per cent would be provided by the banks.
R-L: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, OFR; Minister of Transportation, Engineer Muazu Jaji Sambo and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani during a press conference with media stakeholders in Lagos on Saturday.