By Godfrey Bivbere
The Federal Government has assured that the disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF) will commence before the end of July.
Giving the assurance at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, Kefas, both the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Nebolisa Emordi and the Chairman of the board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Agbu Kefas, disclosed that all the processes for the disbursement has been completed.
The Permanent Secretary said that “NIMASA has well defined guidelines for the disbursement of the CVFF and as we speak, four banks have been selected as Primary Lending Institutions. They have done their full due diligence and forwarded recommendations to the ministry, as soon as those things are reviewed, we will be making a very strong case to the President because of the volume of money that is involved.
“Once we get that approval, we will be able to disbursed money to indigenous shipping companies and it is a continues process, so as more people are able to meet the criteria, we will be able to disburse more money to them,”
Asked when operators should expect the disbursement he said, “within the next two months maximum.”
However, Kefas had earlier told Vanguard that the disbursement will began before the end of this month.
Chairman of the board also said that the agency has not abandoned it core function of maritime security and capacity development for revenue drive. He explained that the management of the apex maritime regulatory agency is working on all it functions simultaneously with the hope of improving the industry.
Kefas noted that those who say the agency is focusing are those who are affected by NIMASA’s operation in that area. He also noted that operators in other areas who are affected by what the agency is doing will also cry out that NIMASA is focusing too much on their area.
According to him, “Everyone has his own opinion, if you are in the area of security; you will feel that NIMASA is focusing too much in that area. I want to categorically tell you we are doing all to do all this and not focusing on one area.”
On the security situation in the nation’s waterways, he pointed out that the agency is working very hard in that regard and that there has been reduction in the level of insecurity on the nation’s waterway.
He noted that the problem of security is not peculiar to the maritime industry alone and that there is need for government and Nigerians to work together to find solution to the problem.