Shipowners to benefit from $200m cabotage fund ― Amaechi

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has announced that Shipowners will now benefit directly from the $200 million Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

According to a statement issued from his media office on Friday, Amaechi made this known at a meeting organised by NIMASA for Cabotage Stakeholders in Lagos, on Thursday.

“In the past, the money was applied to building maritime universities and faculties of maritime in other universities across the country. This would be the first time the money is applied to ship owners directly.

“We have also agreed today to set up a committee that will come forward with the proposed guideline which will be presented to the National Assembly. It is the committee that will determine if it will be a single-digit or not, and the committee would be chaired by the DG of NIMASA,” he said.

Amaechi explained that, as part of efforts to mitigate the risk involved in disbursing the funds, financial institutions would be involved and the fiscal risk would be borne by the banks involved.

Earlier, Director General, NIMASA and Head of committee set up to supervise the disbursement of the funds, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said the meeting was convened at the instance of the minister to discuss the issue of CVFF disbursement.

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He said after extensive discussions with the relevant stakeholders, it was decided that the committee should come up with the draft guidelines, adding, “The minister will study this draft and pass on to the National Assembly for approval in line with the Cabotage Act. Thereafter, we will move to the next phase of actual disbursement, using the banks as a platform.”

He also disclosed two factors that would determine the disbursement of CVFF: “One factor will be how soon the National Assembly approves the draft guidelines and the other factor will be that the provisions of the guidelines will have to be followed adequately by the participating banks. So stakeholders have to meet these requirements before the disbursement of CVFF.”

Responding, Chairperson, Ship Owners Forum (SOF) Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, expressed satisfaction at the development, noting that she would look forward to the disbursement of the fund and a better shipping industry where the fund would be utilised judiciously.

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