The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has again assured ship owners and the entire maritime community of its commitment to commence the disbursement of over $200 million accumulated in the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
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.
Sadly, 17 years after, the Federal Government is yet to apply the over $200 million accumulated in the fund into the acquisition of vessels, which was the real reason for setting it up.
Dakuku Peterside, immediate past director-general of NIMASA, gave the assurance in Lagos on Tuesday while presenting his valedictory speech prior to his handover of leadership mantle to the new executive management of NIMASA led by Bashir Jamoh, immediate past executive director, Finance and Administration.
Peterside, whose four-year tenure at NIMASA expired on Tuesday 10th March 2020 without renewal, said the agency would commence the disbursement of the fund toward the end of the year if the National Assembly gives the agency its consent to do so.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari and Chibuike Amaechi, minister of transportation, for the opportunity given to him to serve Nigeria in the maritime industry, he disclosed that the agency under his leadership has been able to put a solid foundation in place for the disbursement of the CVFF fund.
He further disclosed that in a few weeks’ time, NIMASA would be the first maritime administration in West and Central Africa to be ISO 2015:9001-certified.
According to him, the agency has also reached an advanced stage in the domesticating six new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions, and to also review both the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and NIMASA Act 2007.
He said the agency under his care had also developed an integrated roadmap for the reform and repositioning of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office while the ship registry is currently being modernised to increase Nigerian tonnage.
Responding after taking over the leadership mantle, Bashir Jamoh, the new director-general of NIMASA assured the entire maritime industry that his management team would do everything necessary to not only follow the footstep of Peterside but to also improve on the achievements he left behind.
He also thanked his predecessor and the outgoing board of the agency for their resilience, team spirit and vision to make NIMASA a leading maritime administration on the African continent.
“I must acknowledge the great strides we have made in the area of maritime safety and security particularly with the Deep Blue Project as well as ensuring the enactment of the Antipiracy Law,” he stated.
The new executive management of NIMASA led by Bashir Jamoh as director-general has Victor Ochei as executive director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services; Shehu Ahmed, executive director, Operations and Chudi Ofodile, executive director, Finance and Administration.