NIMASA Eyes Acquisition of 28 Vessels from $700m Cabotage Fund
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is targeting the acquisition of 28 vessels with a total of $700 million through the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Transportation, Mr Ademola Adegoroye, while speaking at the maiden annual lecture of the Institute of Maritime Studies at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
He said that the government would do everything possible to make it easier for ship owners to acquire more ships with a view to growing the Blue Economy initiative.
Mr Adegoroye also said that the ministry is working hard to ensure that the CVFF is disbursed before the end of the current administration.
He expressed faith in the incoming administration of Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu, adding that if the fund is not disbursed, the All Progressive Congress (APC) government will disburse the fund as the government will continue the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also noted that another top priority in the Blue Economy agenda is the underexplored fishing sub-sector.
“The fisheries sub-sector is another area the government is working very to create jobs for our people and make water transport easier for Nigerians.
“Absolutely, that is what every responsible government would do but I can assure you that Government will do everything to make it easier for Ship owners to get more ships so that we can continue to grow our Blue economy. It makes sense for every responsible government to do that, once it gets too expensive, it becomes a problem even for our economy.
“We are hoping and praying that we disbursed the Fund before the end of the current administration, we have a short time, we have barely eight weeks, but I know they are working day and night to achieve this. It is possible good if not, the government is a continuum. It is a policy of the government, and nobody can do anything about it,” he stated.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, said the agency already has a total of $350 million as its contributions to the fund while the Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) and local ship owners that want to benefit from the fund will contribute 35 per cent and 15 per cent respectively so as to acquire the targeted number of vessels.
Mr Jamoh also said that from his calculations, a total of $700 million is expected to be expended on the acquisition adding that the loan will be given at a single-digit rate.
According to the agency boss, the number of jobs that will be created by the time the entire acquisition is completed, cannot be over00p emphasized.
“Besides using the Blue Economy to drive local shipping growth, the initiative will also awaken the nation’s dying marine insurance sub-sector.
“The Blue Economy initiative is everybody’s business as the benefits will also be for everybody. The ocean is a way of life, we need to exploit it in a sustainable manner for our economic benefits,” he said.