*Begins Probe of CVFF, Summons Minister, DG NIMASA
The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo’s ambition to disburse the multi-billion naira Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) before the end of his tenure on May 29, 2023 has been dashed as the lower chamber of the National Assembly has ordered the immediate halt to the exercise.
Since his appointment last year by President Muhammadu Buhari following the resignation of Right Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to contest the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primaries, Sambo has not failed to use every forum to make public his intentions to disburse the CVFF before end of the Buhari’s administration on May 29, 2023.
Sambo did not only announced his desire to disburse the funds, he also directed the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).to appoint selected financial institutions to serve as the primary lending institutions (PLIs) in readiness to disburse it to qualified Nigerian ship owners.
However, the House of Representatives in a report obtained by Maritime Bits ordered the immediate suspension of the planned disbursement of $700 million CVFF to Nigeria shipping companies.
The lower chamber of the National Assembly also directed the agency to present an audited statement of account showing all monies that have accrued to the CVFF within seven days.
Adopting a motion of urgent public importance brought before it by Hon. Henry Nwawuba, the House also directed its Committee on Local Content to engage an external auditor to audit all contracts entered into in the cabotage regime and report same to it within seven days.
In the same vein, the committee is also to commence immediate investigations into the CVFF to determine all monies that have accrued into it since its establishment in 2003 and report to the House within 14 days.
The House also asked the Minister of State for Transportation and NIMASA Director-General to report to the House Committee on local content on the state of CVFF and how the funds have been applied in the past 20 years.
Maritime Bits had reported that previous attempts to disburse the funds have never seen the light of the day as it has suffered several setbacks in the last two decades.