President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday declared that the N16 billion, $350 million Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF) is now available for disbursement to qualified persons.
The readiness to disburse the fund according the the president, is part of efforts to development indigenous capacities of Nigerians to own vessels.
Five banks including; Union, Zenith, Polaris, UBA and Jaiz banks were appointed as Primary Lending Institutions (PLI).
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo stated this at a press conference with journalists on Saturday.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh stated about N16 billion, $350 million were available for disbursement.
He stated that “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 while contributions in dollar component hovers around Three Hundred and Fifty Million mark.
The NIMASA DG.
On his part, the Honorable 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 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.