Blue Economy Ministry Commits to Disbursement of $700million CVFF Fund, As NIMASA DG, Mobereola Talks Tough

0

L-R; Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, NIMASA Director General, Dr Dayo Mobereola, Shipowner and President of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Alhaji Aminu Umar

…DG Vows to Tackle War Risk Insurance Premiums on Nigerian Bound Vessels

…Sets to Revive Bunkering Business, Creation of STS Zones

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has assured maritime stakeholders, particularly shipowners, that the ministry is exploring fiscal and trade policies to promote greater participation of Nigerians in the shipping industry.

Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola (left) addressing maritime stakeholders in Lagos on Tuesday

Oyetola while speaking at a stakeholders engagement with shipowners and operators held at Eko Hotels in Lagos on Tuesday said that a major part of the Ministry’s plan, is to unlock the $700million controversial Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) for disbursement to support the growth and development of shipping businesses in the country.

The CVFF Fund has been trailed with controversies, even as stakeholders have raised alarms that disbursement of the fund is unrealistic as it has been misappropriated on political activities.

However, while allaying the fears of shipowners on Tuesday, Oyetola assured that the Ministry is committed to delivering this soonest.

“Ship owners and operators are the backbone of the maritime sector, contributing to trade, transportation, and job creation. We acknowledge the challenges you face, from safety and security concerns to regulatory hurdles and market fluctuations. It is the resolve of government to address these challenges and foster a conducive environment for your operations” he said

Meanwhile, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dayo Mobereola has said that it is not acceptable that Nigerian Bound Vessels are still being charged with payment of War Risk Premiums by Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Insurance companies, even though there are no incidences of piracy or attack on Nigerian waters.

“We are going to seat together and approach the insurance companies, the likes of Lloyd’s and others, and ask them questions as to why we are being compared to Sudan and Somalia when there has not been War in Nigeria since 1966, why are they charging us on the same premium” he said

Dr Mobereola also hinted that NIMASA is seriously looking at streamlining the Cabotage policies in other to make it more accessible for practitioners. According to him, the CVFF fund has been dormant because it has not been used for the purpose for which it was being contributed

Speaking on the dearth of Ship bunkering business in Nigeria, the NIMASA DG said “We are fully aware of the STS Zones, NIMASA is creating it and it would be made public very soon. The bunkering business is a big business, we would work with you to domesticate it, so that our Vessels would not be going to Lome, Takoradi and others to bunker when we are capable of doing these businesses here.

“We are going to engage NNPC on availability of cargoes, they would stop trading on FOB and rather embrace CIF in order to allow Nigerian Vessels carry trade for us. We want NNPC to change their trade terms from FOB to CIF, and nominate Nigerian vessels to be carrying these products”

Earlier, indigenous shipowners took turns to reel out myriads of challenges that has bedevilled their operations. Firing the first salvo, a respected shipowner and President of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Alhaji Aminu Umar lamented that the NIMASA Deep Blue Project has been a facade

According to him, the $195million NIMASA Deep Blue Project is only felt on paper but not physically. He said the assets have not been properly deployed to safeguard the waterways as shipowners are still being compelled to hire private security to navigate Nigerian waterways.

“Up till today, no vessel moves on Nigerian waters without hiring private securities and we are still on War Risk Premiums by international insurance companies. We need to see and feel the presence of the deep blue assets and infrastructures, not to hear them alone” he said

Also speaking, President of Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Otunba Shola Adewunmi advocated for the waiver clause to be expunged from the Cabotage Act, especially on the shipping building clause, adding that Nigeria is not yet a ship building nation.

Additionally, the NISA President said “We are loosing a lot to other neighbouring countries like Lome on the Ship to Ship (STS) Transfer operations. Auxiliary jobs are being taken away from us in millions of dollars, there is need for NIMASA to rebrand Ship bunkering, there is nothing like illegal bunkering ” he said

Otunba Adewunmi stressed the need for the Ministry to engage the Nigeria Customs Service as a matter of trade, to scrap payment of duties on importation of ships and ship spare parts, just like it is being done for the aviation sector.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Share