The Federal Government has said the disbursement of the long-awaited $350m CabotageFundswillstartwiththe inauguration of the special committee set up for the purpose next week by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed. It said it had shortlisted 11 banks to disburse money.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director- General Bashir Jamoh said this during a briefing organised by the President Media teaminthePresidentialVilla yesterday. The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) is an interventionfundspecifically created to help develop indigenous shipping capacity in Nigeria. According to Jamoh, the fund was sourced from a 2% contribution by indigenous ship owners from every contract executed in the nation’s waters.
He said the disbursement of the CVFF was 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. Lamenting the absence of indigenous fleets, Jamoh said the disbursement of the funds would not only enhance local shipping business but also assist in creating jobs for the over 2,041 Nigerian Seafarers trained by the Agency. He said NIMASA has trained about 2,041 seafarers in various institutions overseas, and of these numbers, over 800 have secured jobs with shipping companies abroad.
The agency chief said: “We are unable to retain themhere, duetotheabsence of fleets to provide jobs for them in Nigeria, after their training overseas. “One vessel can employ up to 40 of them. Shipping business is capital intensive, thus the government needs to give helping hands to potential ship owners. “Weneedthemtofeedinto our own system if the fleets are available.” Responding to a question on “War Risk Insurance” imposed on shipments of goods into Nigeria, Jamoh said NIMASA is working to exit Nigeria from such charges, following improved safety recorded in the Gulf of Guinea. He added that efforts had begun to ensure that shipments of goods and services to the country from Europe no longer attract “War Risk Insurance.” He revealed that payment of war risks insurance has been going on for 25 years following insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, butnotedthatwith the recent safety recorded in the region, ships coming into Nigeria waters do not need to pay for such risks The DG said the agency remitted N30 billion into the federation account in the first half of 2022. He said security in the Gulf of Guinea has been largely aided by the deep blue project.