The Federal government on Thursday disclosed that disbursement of the long-awaited $350m cabotage funds will commence with the inauguration of the special committee next week by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as 11 banks have been shortlisted for the purpose.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this at the 53 sessions of the Presidential Media chat organized by the President Media team, in Abuja.
The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), is an intervention fund created to help the development of indigenous shipping capacity in Nigeria
He disclosed that 11 banks have been shortlisted to disburse the fund, sourced from a 2% contribution by indigenous ship owners from every contract executed in the nation’s waters.
The disbursement of the CVFF is backed by the provisions of Section 42(1)-(2) of the Cabotage Act 2003, enacted to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity by providing financial assistance to Nigerian operators in domestic coastal shipping.
Jamoh while lamenting the absence of indigenous fleets, stated that the disbursement of the funds will not only enhance local shipping business but also assist in creating jobs for the over 2041 Nigerian Seafarers trained by the Agency.
He disclosed that NIMASA has trained about 2041 Seafarers in various institutions overseas, out of which over 800 have gained jobs with shipping companies, globally
“We are unable to retain them here, due to the absence of fleets to provide jobs for them in Nigeria, after their training overseas
“ One vessel can employ up to 40 of them. The shipping business is capital intensive, thus government need to give helping hands to potential ship owners.
“We need them to feed into our own system if the fleets are available.
The Director General while speaking on the payment of “ War Risk Insurance” imposed on shipments of goods into Nigeria, stated that NIMASA is working to exit Nigeria from such charges, following safety records at the Gulf of Guinea Jamoh stated that efforts are on to ensure that shipments of goods and services to Nigeria from Europe no longer attract “ War risks insurance”
He disclosed that Payment of war risks insurance has been going on for 25 years following insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, but noted that with the recent safety records in the region, ships coming into Nigeria waters don’t need to pay such risks
“ There are three basic insurance charges p, including “ War risk insurance, insurance on the valuables in the ship and personnel insurance for workers in the ship.
These are the three key elements which we ought not to be paying, as they are responsible for a 90% increase in the prices of goods and services imported into Nigeria.
“ They have commended NIMASA for the security recorded in the Gulf of Guinea and we are waiting for the report from the Lloyds of London very soon, we hope to exit this insurance
Speaking on NIMASA’s achievements, he disclosed that the agency remitted N30b into the federation account in the first half of 2022,
He disclosed security in the Gulf of Guinea had been largely aided by the deep blue project, adding that “the Gulf of Guinea has recorded zero attacks since the last quarter of 2021 to date
“ We have not experienced any attacks in Nigeria since the last quarter of 2021 to date which was why they have removed us from the piracy list.
He disclosed that the agency has five vessels and ordered 7 new ones.
“Under the deep blue project, the agency acquired 2 specials mission vessels, 3 specials mission helicopters, 16 armoured vehicles that can enter the creeks, 2 special mission aircraft, 17 special interceptors, 4 unmanned air surveillance, for data transmission for possible intervention, 600 specially trained forces to respond to threats on the high sea”