? Operators to access $100m Cabotage Fund
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will ensure that the Federal Government?s dream of owning flagged ocean going vessels is realised, its Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said.
He said the Ministry of Transportation was trying to refloat the national fleet.
Dakuku, who is also the chairman, Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA), told The Nation that lack of flagged ocean vessels was disturbing, noting that the problem was not peculiar to Nigeria.
However, he said there are many Nigerian flagged vessels in the cabotage and regional trade.
He pledged to ensure access to the over $100 million Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) by players in the industry, adding that the agency is working on this.
According to him, no African country has a flagged ocean going vessel but noted that all African maritime administrations are addressing the issue continentally, sub-regionally and nationally to grow African tonnage and fleet.
The NIMASA chief assured players in the industry that he was working with his team to enable them access the cabotage vessel financing fund. He said the fund was abused in the past, adding that what his management doing is to tidy regulation around access to the fund to ensure it is used for which it is meant.
Peterside said: ?We have Nigerian flagged vessels but there are no Nigerian ocean going vessels. There are a lot of Nigerian vessels that are doing cabotage trade. However, lack of Nigerian flagged ocean going vessel is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is a problem in the whole of Africa.
?There is no African nation with its flagged ocean going vessel. Even in Liberia, where we have Liberian flagged vessels, they are not owned by Liberia. So, it is a concern in the entire Africa. It is one of the problems all African maritime administrations are addressing ? how do we grow African tonnage, how do we grow African fleet. We are addressing it from continental, regional, sub-regional and national perspectives. Nationally, Nigeria through the Ministry of Transportation, is trying to refloat the national fleet and the different perspective is that are trying to bring the private sector to drive it while government serves as a facilitator. That is one way to address the issue of fleet as a country. Other countries are adopting different initiatives to address the issue of national fleet ownership to have their own flagged ocean moving vessels convey their goods to international markets.
?The cabotage vessel financing fund was set up by an Act of the National Assembly to support local activation by growing ownership of vessels by players in the industry and growth of national fleet by extension. Over the years because the fund was abused, we are trying to tidy regulation around how it will be accessed.
?The law empowers the minister to approve guidelines for access to the fund. What we are doing is to review those guidelines so that nobody shall abuse the fund and it will be used for the purpose for which it is meant, which is to help indigenous players to acquire vessels. We have made firm promise that within the next one year from now, people will have access to the over $100million fund.?