Nigerian to Head Regional Maritime Development Bank

March 21, 2022
Regional Maritime Development Bank

By Adedapo Adesanya

The headquarters of the proposed Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB) will be in Nigeria following the 12 per stake in the financial institution.

RMDB is being proposed to replace the Maritime Development Bank of Nigeria (MDBN) and Nigeria is playing big in the process, with the presidency ceded to the self-acclaimed giant of Africa, supported by the 25 countries that make up the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA).

At the just-concluded public hearing on some maritime bills organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, the Director of Legal Services at the Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr Pius Oteh, said that the entire members of MOWCA in 2011 agreed to have a $1 billion as the capital base of the bank.

Mr Oteh said that the establishment of a maritime bank in Nigeria would have sent a wrong signal to other countries that are already committed to the formation of the RMDB.

“There is an agreement that dates back to 2011 where the Transport Ministers in West and Central Africa approved and ratified that the various governments of Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa. But for some period, there was no serious follow up on these decisions until about four years ago, we have re-energized this process.

“Countries have signed the charter to the bank, and we have enough number of countries to activate the process of the bank, as at this time processes are going on.

“The headquarters of the bank will be in Nigeria; the other 24 countries have conceded to that, and they have also agreed that a Nigerian will be the President of the bank. But it is going to be a private-public sector-driven bank, so the states in the two sub-regions of West and Central Africa collectively have 51 per cent of the shareholding of the bank given to the MOWCA states and these shares were allotted to them on the basis of the volume of trade and so naturally, Nigeria has the lion share of 12 per cent and the other 49 per cent will be for institutional investors.

“More like African Import Bank AFREXIM has shown a lot of interest, we have quite o lot of institutional investors particularly, within member countries who want to be part f the bank.

“Like I said, Dr Paul Adalikwu, a Nigerian, who is the current Secretary-General of MOWCA, has been given the mandate to follow the process and ensure that the bank takes off as quickly as possible. Hopefully, within this year.

“As a matter of fact, the Federal Ministry of Transportation is currently engaged in discussion with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for some assistance with respect to office spaces and all that.”

He said that with Nigeria at the helm of affairs, the country would be able to push its strides as a cooperative country.

“The point we are making is that having gone that far, having reached an agreement with sister countries in the two sub-regions, we will like to continue and conclude that process as quickly as possible and push ahead with the Nigerian initiative.

“It is likely to bring a wrong impression that we are no longer fully committed to the Regional Maritime Development Bank that is why we used that language that we should step down the Nigerian initiative and at the appropriate time, there is nothing wrong in having a domestic Maritime Development Bank.

“Given how far we have come with the Regional Maritime Development Bank and properly structured, the Bank will give Nigerian a wider playing field and more access to funds in terms of pulling funds from 25 countries instead of from a single country. So we think it is an initiative we should pursue to a conclusion before we take up any new initiative.

‘‘We are looking at one billion Dollars as capital base of the Bank.

Prior to this latest development, other stakeholders in the maritime industry kicked against the establishment of the Maritime Development Bank of Nigeria saying that it will be a waste of funds.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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