The management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has met with the management of the five banks approved by the Federal Government as the Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
The banks include Jaiz Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), Union Bank, Zenith Bank and Polaris Bank.
Shortly after a closed-door meeting, Bashir Jamoh, the director general of NIMASA, said that the meeting is a major step towards implementing the Presidential directive on disbursing the CVFF as announced by Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, the Minister of Transportation last year.
Jamoh said that their engagement was to ensure that the Agency and the PLIs are on the same page to ensure that lessons from the past will prove useful in implementing the CVFF disbursement and lead to developing shipping and the blue economy in Nigeria.
“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.
“The banks are expected to come up with issues such as the interest rate, tenor, collateral, and other requirements needed to access the fund. NIMASA is of the position that the interest rate should be of international best practices because the fund being disbursed is Dollar denominated,” he said.
The DG also said that the CVFF regime is a win-win for all stakeholders involved including the banks adding that the banks should look at the windows of opportunity inherent for the benefit of all parties involved. On their part, the PLIs applauded the initiative and pledged their support towards ensuring judicious use of the funds to the beneficiaries in order to ensure accountability of the funds is guaranteed.
Sirajo Salisu, the managing director of Jaiz Bank, who spoke on behalf of the PLIs, assured of prompt action towards disbursing the funds, noting that interested shipowners should be ready to abide by the provisions of the Cabotage Act.
“We will try our best to partner with the beneficiaries or the proposed beneficiaries of these funds and I believe they are much aware that this is not a grant, this is money that is meant for a purpose and we will ensure that that purpose is achieved to the benefits of the country.” He said.
The Cabotage Act provides that NIMASA makes 50 per cent available, the PLIs are expected to support the project with 35 per cent, while intending shipowners would be required to make their contribution of 15 per cent of whatever amount of money is needed for the acquisition of a vessel.