By Godfrey Bivbere
NIGERIAN Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has concluded plans to disburse $100 million Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, to indigenous ship owners at a single digit interest.
Director General/Chief Executive Officer, NIMASA, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this in Lagos at a cocktail parley for stakeholders in Ship and Maritime Infrastructure Financing, organised by the Nigerian Ship Finance Conference and Exhibition, NISFCOE. He said funds from the CVFF and the counterpart contribution from the financial institutions would help drive down the interest rate for ship owners wishing to acquire vessels with the fund.
He also assured that the agency has started to work towards ensuring that the CVFF was disbursed in accordance with set down regulations, adding, “We are determined to disburse CVFF according to the law and according to regulation. We are dedicated, we are committed and we are passionate about disbursing it.
“We would match the CVFF fund with some money coming from the financial institutions. This will crash the rate of borrowing, and that is why we are passionate about disbursing CVFF to bring our own funds to come almost at the cost of nothing and match it with their own fund coming at the rate of 25 percent. The first thing that would happen is that the rate would crash from 25 percent to a one digit interest rate.
“CVFF is lying at the Central Bank of Nigeria under TSA arrangement, we are working hard to disburse it, and it is over a hundred million dollars. We are in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria; we want to change the terms of trade from Free-on-board (FOB) to Cost-Insurance and Freights (CIF), but how many persons are prepared for this regime? If we get NNPC to change the terms of trade and we are getting the support of the Presidency, if we get it changed, how many of us are ready?”
The NIMASA boss who represented the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the CVFF fund is with the CBN due to the Treasury Single Account, TSA, policy. He, however, lamented that many Nigerian shipowners were not ready to take advantage of the opportunity when it finally arrives.
Peterside identified lack of debt facility from Nigerian banks and high interest rates as major challenge confronting Nigerian shipowners.