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Reps pass for second reading, a bill to establish Maritime Bank

The House of Representatives Tuesday passed for second reading, a Bill for an Act to Establish Maritime Development Bank of Nigeria to enhance and promote Indigenous participation in the Nigerian Maritime Sector, Accelerate Capacity Building in the Maritime Sector.

Sponsored by Mansur Soro (APC, Bauchi), the Bill seeks to establish the Maritime Development Bank of Nigeria that will focus on galvanising and promoting accelerated participation of indigenous entities in the Nigerian maritime sector through targeted industry-focused banking products that will enhance local capacity and contribute to the prosperity and development of the country.

This is as presently, activities and profitability in the maritime space is dominated by foreign vessel owners who consistently outperform competent local maritime entrepreneurs due to the latter’s lack of access to finance and other critical resources.

Thus, the Bill is intended to establish a Maritime Development Bank of Nigeria possessing all the powers and attributes of a financial institution, and the Bank will be governed by a Board while the Chairman and Executive Team of which will be appointed by the President.

The Bank will provide long-term credit facilities to indigenous maritime
enterprise or project in Nigeria at such terms as may be determined by the Board in accordance with the policy directed by the Federal Government, being rates and terms designed to accelerate operational efficiency of a maritime enterprise or project.

It will also provide loans either in Naira or other foreign currencies or both for the requirements of an eligible maritime enterprise or project and administer the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund established under section 42 of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003.

Further more, the Bank, subject to the approval of the Minister of Finance, will raise loans from the local and international capital markets from bilateral or multilateral sources as the market situation permits, encourage and promote the development of indigenous maritime enterprises and projects in Nigeria; and supervise and control the activities of maritime institutions in Nigeria.

The according to the Bill: “the Bank’s capital shall consist of equity and loan capital. The equity shall be ten billion naira which shall be fully subscribed and paid up at par by the Federal Government. Also, the Federal Government shall provide loan capital to the Bank in such amount and on such terms as may be determined by the Minister of Finance.

“In order to be eligible to facility from the Bank, an entity or project shall possess a record of at least 10 years active participation in the Nigerian maritime sector prior to its application to access funds and must be wholly-owned by Nigerians”.

In a lead debate, sponsor of the Bill, Soro said the passage of this Bill will rapidly build capacity of Nigerians operating in the Nigerian Maritime sector; put the local operators on a level playing field with their foreign competitors; and ultimately increase the Federal Government’s revenue generation capacities.

The Bill was passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration for further legislative action.

 

James Kwen, Abuja

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