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Funding constraint stalls establishment of national fleet

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By Godfrey Bivbere & Joshua Yousouph

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said that the inability of local investors to raise funds for equity participation has stalled the establishment of a national fleet and licensing of private national carriers.

Dakuku who disclosed this in Lagos, said that the recession has made it difficult for Nigerian ship owners to raise    funds to take up the 60 percent equity.

Peterside Dakuku

On the designation of private carriers as national carries, the NIMASA boss blamed practitioners for not coming forward to apply to for the National carrier status.

He said that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has made it clear from day one that the National fleet envisaged by the Federal Ministry of Transportation with the support of NIMASA is one driven by the private sector.

According to Dakuku, the Minister immediately set up a committee to draw up a frame work, which    came out with the proposal that the core investor or technical investor    should have 40 percent of the shares while    Nigerian investors will have 60 percent of the shares.

In his words, “The committee put a process in place and they have identified a core investor, PIL of Singapore which has expressed her willingness to invest 40 percent equity in the proposed national fleet. The next phase is for Nigerian investors to come forward to express their own part of the equity which will constitute 60 percent, “Dakuku said.

Speaking further, the NIMASA boss stated that since we just came out of recession, it will be quite difficult to mobilized people to bring 60 percent of the funds. “It is not the government. The government is only playing the role of a facilitator, it is to midwife the process. There is no 60 percent of the equity that can be picked up anywhere and so that is why the process seems fairly long.

“All I can tell you is that it is on course. There is a committee pursuing it. That is why it has been slightly difficult to conclude the transaction of national fleet.” Peterside added.

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