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Buhari approves disbursement of cabotage vessel financing fund

.Appoints Union, Zenith, Polaris, UBA and Jaiz Banks as Primary Lending Institutions.

.N16bn, $350m for Disbursement -Jamoh

President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the immediate disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, to qualified Nigerians as part of the Federal Government’s commitment to grow indigenous capacity of Nigerians to own vessels.

The Minister of Transportation, Engineer Mu’azu Jaji Sambo who made the announcement at a press conference at the weekend said that the Presidential approval received by the Ministry on Friday confirmed Union, Zenith, Polaris, UBA and Jaiz Banks as the appointed Primary Lending Institutions for the disbursement of the funds.

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, announced that the funds available for disbursement was  slightly over ₦16 billion naira and $350 million dollars. In his words  “What we have collected so far is in two folds made up of Naira and Dollar components. So far, the Funds available under the CVFF in naira component is N16,000,000,000 while contributions in Dollar component hovers around the $350,000,000

On his part, the Minister noted that the Ministry of Transportation has commenced liaison with the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, for the implementation.

His words: “The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has approved my request for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund. It is my belief that finally we are going to break the 17-year-old jinx that has hindered the expansion of the maritime industry.

“We have made a case that the funds belong to you, the ship owners. Mr. President is a man who respects the law and is on the same page with us to proceed with immediate effect. We will be liaising with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to work immediately for the approval.

We have pledged to the president that they will continue to allow the funds to go into the Treasury Single Account, TSA; however, whenever the money hits the threshold of $50million, the CBN upon recommendation from the Nigerian  Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, would be expected to transfer the funds to the Primary Lending Institutions.”

The CVFF was established alongside the Nigerian Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act of 2003, to empower indigenous ship owners to take control of the nation’s coastal and inland shipping business, otherwise known as Cabotage trade. Applicants of the Fund would make an equity contribution of 15 per cent while NIMASA would make an equity contribution of 35 per cent; and 50 per cent would be provided by the banks.

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“We are engaging the banks on the management and disbursement of the CVFF because they are the ones who have the professional know-how in fund management and this would help us in the reduction of risk in order to avoid the same mistakes of the Ship Acquisition and Ship Building Fund,” Jamoh said.

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