By Godfrey Bivbere
The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN is positioning itself to access an N1.26 trillion ($3.5 billion) funds for ship expansion by the National Content Development and Management Board NCDB, President of SOAN, McGeorge Onyung has said.
Onyung disclosed this at the inauguration of the new executive of the Association in Lagos.
He said that the $3.5 billion is part of $15 billion local content fund to be used to further develop local content in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
He also assured SOAN members that the executive will work towards addressing the challenges such as piracy, access to loans, granting of waivers to foreigners to operate in the Cabotage area amongst others.
According to him, “I did not create the fund, I went to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Forum, NODUF, which took place in Yenagoa, Bayelsa early this month. It was there that the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, revealed that there is going to be a$15 billion that will be spent in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
“The fund is expected to be domiciled in Nigeria for local content and out of the $15 billion, there is a $3.5 billion marine spread for shipping and vessels that will partake in the oil and gas industry.
“The new executive will be creating groups within our membership to address focused issues that affect us.
“This will range from piracy to bank loans, to Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, to Cabotage, to waivers etc.
“It will be a focused engagement that will continue the dialogue and negotiate with stakeholders to ensure that we get the best for stakeholders and SOAN members,” he noted.