CVFF will be disbursed 2019, NIMASA insists

*Peterside assures migration to CIF being perfected

NIMASA Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr. Bashir Jamoh (right), presenting a compendium on Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA) to the President, Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN), Mr. Yusuf Babalola, when the body paid the agency a courtesy visit in Lagos…over the weekend

Chances are high that the Federal Government will at last disburse to deserving indigenous ship owners the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) which it has kept close to its chest for many years, going by the assurances from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Speaking when the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) paid him a courtesy visit in Lagos, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, insisted, however, that the necessary conditions at the instance of the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, must be met before disbursement to guarantee repayment.

Peterside, who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, assured that the money was safe, contrary to “the assumption that it has been tempered with.

“All I know and I can say categorically is that the money will be disbursed this year, but I can’t say the particular time because it is not the responsibility of my agency to disburse, unless we get such directive. Once they are sure that we can release the public fund to stakeholders and that the fund is guaranteed back, we release it on the instruction of the minister.”

Meanwhile, Jamoh noted that the issue of migration from Free On Board (FOB) to Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) trade terms to enable indigenous ship owners and the economy benefit from the nation’s crude oil freighting was getting successful, as the agency has gone far on the issue.

“We are talking with NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) and believe that with time, we’ll have a breakthrough in ensuring that some Nigerian ship owners get the right to lift our crude oil,” he said.

“Interestingly, from our conversations, we have evidence that Nigerians are already lifting oil but we cannot unveil those involved. The NNPC has indicated that some of them are already lifting, and feel it is safe for them to lift without any problem.

More so, he disclosed that a lot of measures targeting cargo support have been introduced to ensure that ships do not go dry of cargo to lift, therefore “we are working towards ensuring that we have cargo support. If those shipping companies are successful in getting the CVFF, we have to ensure that we give them cargo to lift.”

This will be guaranteed by the cargo support scheme, which makes government cargo, project cargo and other heavy cargoes go through NIMASA as a way of assisting the ship owners and forestall a situation where they have to go searching for cargo to carry.

Similarly, “we are looking at different windows in terms of favourable foreign exchange rate for the ship owners for handling, purchase, repairs of their ships.”

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