Maritime

Incessant accidents: Oyetola vows to reinvent coast guard, to set standards for boat operators

...says releasing CVFF without proper monitoring amounts to throwing money inside water

 

 

Segun Oladipupo

Happy Diamond Age

 

Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola has hinted on revisiting the once rested reinvention of coast guards to monitor and set standards for boat operators.

He expressed displeasure over the rate of accidents on the waterways saying it is appalling and worrisome.

The former Osun state governor explained further that the coast guard would help to check the excesses of the boat operators and help curtail the rate of accidents.

“We have been confronted with the issue of security but it is a national issue but in the area of Maritime, it is important that we will be able to secure the Maritime space.

“We are going to revisit the issue of coast guard because you can’t operate a serious waterways without a coast guard

“The rate of accident is appalling, worrisome. People using rickety boats, boats that should carry 10 passengers are carrying, 20, 30 or even 50 passengers

“There is that problem of safety, they will come up with standards on boats, we are talking with some of the people who said they could design boats that will be fabricated locally

“Boats must be made standard before it can be allowed to operate, if you don’t have coast guard, who will monitor what they are doing?

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“They have many points of loading and if you don’t have men to monitor what they are doing, they leave your point of loading and go and load elsewhere. That is the major problem confronting movement of boat from one point to another.”

On disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), the minister said that the government is being careful in disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) saying releasing it without due diligence would amount to throwing money inside water.

While reiterating government’s resolve to disburse the fund to eligible beneficiaries, he queried why the fund which should be revolving be released to people who will not pay it back.

He maintained that the fund is not national cake but meant to be invested and ensure its refund.

The Minister informed that banks will be involved in disbursement of the fund as well as getting making sure that refunds are gotten from borrowers.

“I listened to the issue of Cabotage fund but we are careful not to disburse because we release that it is like throwing money to the water

“Now, what we try to do is to get the banks to be involved and there must be a guarantee. It is supposed to be a revolving scheme but if you collect and you don’t pay back, how do you expect us to support other people?

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“It is not a national cake, it is something that has to be invested to ensure that we are able to get refund.

“We will be willing to look at that in order to support people but there must be transparency, a process that will ensure that we are able to recover the money back.

“We have quite a number of banks that are talking to us about that and I believe if we saddle them with that responsibility of disbursement, they will be in the position to monitor the disbursement and would be able to collect back the money.

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