By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Ship-owners Association (NISA) has decried the involvement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in approving the disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to intended beneficiaries.
Speaking at the House of Representative Ad- hoc Committee to investigate the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, Chairman of NISA, Chief Isaac Jolapamo said that principal challenge in administering the CVFF under the extant regime has been the involvement of both the Presidency and the Federal Executive Council.
Jolapamo explained that the recommendations for the disbursement of the Fund have severally been made by Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) to successive Ministers who have simply failed to issue their approval reasons that are not made public.
“While it has been suggested that approval for the disbursement has to be obtained from the Federal Executive Council before the disbursement can be made. We respectfully disagree.
“Interestingly,. There is no statutory provision for the Presidency or Federal Executive Council to be directly or indirectly involved in the administration of the CVFF.
“It is useful to summerise the statutorily established modus operandi for the Fund’s administration
“We are not aware of any appropriation into the CVFF by the National Assembly since it was created, thus, virtually every single penny accruing to and currently in the purse of the Fund has been raised from operators one way or another.
“The Funds are to be collected by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), deposited in Commercial Banks and administered in line with the CVFF guidelines.
“It is not the intendment of the Act nor the CVFF guidelines that applications for loans from the accrued Funds should be permanently marooned in the murky waters of government bureaucracy, inefficiency and daresay lack of transparency.
“The very issues currently militating against the disbursement of the Fund is the mischief meant to be cured by the provision requiring that the CVFF is administered professionally by banks”. Jolapamo added.
He noted that the involvement of the both the FEC and the Presidency will only end up in frustrating the entire process of disbursement.
His words “It is therefore simply in appropriate that government through the Federal Ministry of Transport, has been the one frustrating the effective disbursement of monies from the Fund for the last ten years, when the Fund do not belong to it and it has made no contribution therein”.