The lower chamber of the National Assembly has given its nod to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to disburse the $360 million Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) to qualified Nigerian ship owners.

The House of Representatives Committee in its report gave the nod for the disbursement, at the end of an investigation which was chaired by Hon. Legor Idagbo.

The report said it made the following findings: “The Committee requested the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Ministry of Transportation to provide detailed information on the total amount accrued to the Fund and disbursements since inception.

“The Committee met with the Minister of Transportation and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Thursday, 11 May 2023 to find out about the details concerning the matter. 

“After a thorough analysis of the various submissions, coupled with the explanations given by the Ministry and NIMASA, the Committee discovered that due process was followed in the planned disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund.

“The Committee notes that the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) is a fund that was set up in 2003 by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act. The fund was established to develop indigenous ship acquisition capacity and to provide financial assistance to indigenous shipping operators”.

Continuing, the House Committee report said: “The Committee further notes that there is a lack of capacity amongst indigenous/ Domestic Coastal operators in Nigeria, thus the reason Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) still awards contracts to foreign shipping companies in contravention of the Cabotage and Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Acts. Some of these awards have been previously investigated by the Committee, which led to their cancellation.

“It was also discovered that the total funds of $360m in the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) represents 50 percent, while the remaining counterpart funds of 50 percent is from stakeholders and banks, which is 15 percent and 35 percent respectively”.

The Committee commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) for its commitment to awarding shipping contracts to indigenous companies that have built capacity to the level where they can successfully execute these contracts.

Apparently elated by the development, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh thanked the lawmakers for their interest in verifying the due process being followed by the agency.

Jamoh who expressed optimism that the NNPCL’s resolve to award maritime contracts to indigenous companies will give strength to the Cabotage regime being championed by the agency, reaffirmed NIMASA’s transparency resolve in all facets of the agency’s operation

He also called for more stakeholder support, saying the CVFF will evolve into greater benefit for more Nigerians, grow the per capita income and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria, through the maritime industry.

Meanwhile, the Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh has been nominated by the Federal Government as a recipient of the 2021 National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) award. Also nominated for the award is NIMASA Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Hon. Chudi Offodile.

On the other hand, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani was nominated as a 2022 recipient of the award.

Jamoh expressed appreciation to the Federal Government, saying that it is a call to greater service to our fatherland.

His words: “I am spurred by this award, particularly as it is coming from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity which underscores the ministry’s role in ensuring reward for hard work and productivity in public service. Let me also use this opportunity to dedicate the award to the industry’s stakeholders; external and internal, as they have made our work easier as an administration. We will continue to strive to make the maritime sector a viable economic driver, especially with the Blue Economy mantra, which is critical to the sustainability of the maritime sector.”

Commenting the on the selection of Ajani, the NIMASA helmsman said it is a well-deserved honour as she has remained a core professional and astute administrator in the coordination of activities in the Ministry and the agencies under its supervision.

“I am not surprised by her selection, as she is an administrator par excellence and has remained resolute and professional in the discharge of her duties. Little wonder she is commonly referred to as the ‘Head Mistress of the ministry and the maritime Sector’. I congratulate her on the well-deserving award”, he said.

The NPOM award was instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria to recognize and honour productive individuals and organizations in Nigeria in the year of the award for achievements made in the preceding years.


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