Abuja – The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has approved the report of the Ministerial Committee on modalities for the establishment of the Nigerian fleet in the maritime sector.
Amaechi, while receiving the report of the committee in Abuja, pledged to provide the necessary instrument for the implementation of the recommendations of the committee. According to him, part of the fund to be used in the implementation of the report will come from the Cabotage Fund.
The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) was created by the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003, to promote ship acquisition by supporting ship owners. Section 42, Part VIII of Section 44 of the Act empowers NIMASA to collect and administer the fund, under guidelines by the Minister of Transport, after approval by the National Assembly. “Let me say that you are more serious than I am on this and that I will give you people the necessary instrument to implement it; part of the fund we will use is the Cabotage Fund.’’
The minister warned that the criteria for choosing who should benefit must be transparent. “How do you choose those qualified to access the fund because in the 60 per cent you would have, I am sure that most of you will want to access the Cabotage money as part of your equity contribution. “If you are selfish, I will pull it out; it means that I must not see your private interest; you must ensure that everybody’s interest is involved, otherwise you will tear the maritime sector apart.’’
The minister directed that the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, should commence the implementation of the report. Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Mr. Olu Akinsoji, said that the report provided three categories of maritime transportation that Nigeria could establish a shipping company.
He listed them as wet cargo, dry cargo, coastal/offshore support service and facilities. “The road-map to the successful establishment of a Nigerian fleet is the implementation of this report as well as repositioning NIMASA. “Consequently, this report must not gather dust.
On our part, we have taken a bold step to advise the minister on the way forward by a simplified table of action plan and an associated graphic version. “The plan emphasised the need for the establishment of a Nigerian Fleet Implementation Committee (NFIC). “ Akinsoji said that the committee noted significant barriers to the full realization of the objectives of establishing a sustainable Nigerian fleet. He, however, expressed optimism that the full implementation of the report, would move the maritime sector forward.