• Friday, May 24, 2024
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House probes NIMASA over trapped N40bn cabotage vessel fund

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to probe the involvement of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) in the over N40 billion Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) that is trapped in some banks.

The committee, which is expected to report back to the House in three weeks, is also mandated to determine the total income generated by the fund since inception.

This followed a motion raised by Hassan Saleh, who alleged that the amount, which was not utilised for the purpose it was established, has been trapped in some designated commercial banks instead.

Saleh, who noted that the laudable objectives of the fund have been defeated by the actions of NIMASA and the banks, observed that if the maritime sector was fully developed, it had the potentials to generate much revenue as the oil sector.

“Over N40 billion, approximately $525 million of the funds, for some inexplicable reasons are alleged to be trapped in some designated banks, instead of it being utilised for the purpose for which the fund was established and the participating banks are also alleged to have fulfilled their part of the agreement with the funds still in their possession while the intending beneficiaries are not able to access them”.

“The objective was to assist indigenous shipping firms to acquire the requisite capacity to build and develop their participation in the maritime sector so as to enable them compete and possibly overcome foreign shipping firms that have dominated the nation’s coastal and inland trade,” he said, adding that more than 90 percent of the country’s international trade was being carried out on the sea.

TEDDY NWANUNOBI, Abuja