- As Shipping Association highlights Confidence in NIMASA management
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has indicated that over $100mn of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) is currently idling away with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), due to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
Peterside stated this at a cocktail parley for stakeholders on Ship and Maritime Infrastructure Financing organized by the Nigerian Ship Finance Conference and Exhibition (NISFCOE) in Lagos at the weekend, assuring Nigerian shipowners that the agency is already making frantic efforts to disburse the Fund, in line with set down regulations.
He said that in line with its cargo support initiative for indigenous practitioners, the agency is already getting the support of the presidency to change the Nigerian terms of trade from Free-on-Board (FOB) to Cost insurance and Freight (CIF), even as he lamented that many Nigerian shipowners are observably not prepared to take advantage of the opportunity if approval is given now.
Peterside identified lack of debt facility from Nigerian banks and high interest rates as major challenges confronting the Nigerian shipowners and vowed that NIMASA would crash the interest rate in order to allow Nigerian shipowners compete favorably against their international counterparts.
“We are determined to disburse CVFF according to the law and according to regulation, we are dedicated, we are committed and we are passionate about disbursing it.
“We would match the CVFF fund with some money coming from the financial institutions, this will crash the rate of borrowing, and that is why we are passionate about disbursing CVFF to bring our own funds to come almost at the cost of nothing and match it with their own fund coming at the rate of 25percent; the first thing that would happen is that the rate would crash from 25 percent to a one digit interest rate.
“CVFF is lying at the Federal Bank of Nigeria under TSA arrangement, we are working hard to disburse it, and it is over a hundred million dollars.
“We are in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria; we want to change the terms of trade from FOB to CIF, but how many persons are prepared for this regime? If we get NNPC to change the terms of trade and we are getting the support of the presidency, if we get it changed, how many of us are ready?”
Peterside said that the NISFCOE is apt because it would enable NIMASA meet critical private sector investors who would translate its vision.
According to him, NIMASA depends on private sector energy to set frame work and it is ready to partner anybody that has concepts that can change its story.
Also speaking, the Moderator of the conference and former Director General of NIMASA, Barr. Temisan Omatseye said that the Minister of Transport needs to be properly guided on how to draw the attention of financial institutions to the benefits of supporting shipping trade in Nigeria; adding that changing the terms of trade from FOB to CIF would only require a presidential order.
Also speaking, a ship-owner and former President of Trawler Owners Association, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi said it was wrong for government to keep holding on to the CVFF fund, advocating that the fund be used as seed money to set up a maritime bank.
According to her “CVFF does not belong to the Federal Government, it is our money, the government is only to monitor it, but they are now squeezing life out of us”
Convener of the Nigerian Ship Finance Conference and Exhibition, Mrs. Ezinne Azunna said that the parley was held as preparatory to the actual NISFCOE conference 2017 billed to hold in November 2017.
She noted that the Nigerian maritime sector although endowed with huge potentials cannot be called a maritime nation because it lacks ships and many other maritime infrastructure. She said that one of the aims of the conference is to look at how to raise money to acquire ships by bringing the regulators, banks and the private sector together to design a way-out.
In the meantime, the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) has expressed confidence in the transformation initiatives of Dr. Dakuku Peterside led Management at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Val Usifoh who indicated this during a courtesy visit to the Agency with other members of the association, stating that they were impressed with the level of cooperation between the shippers and NIMASA and called for a more robust relationship towards actualizing the opportunities that abound in the sector.
The Chairman who was represented by Mr. John Odunewu also assured that the association on its part will continue to support the good initiatives of the Agency as regards improving the day to day affairs of the maritime sector in line with international best practices.
“On behalf of members of the Shipping Association of Nigeria, we would like to thank the Management of NIMASA for giving us the opportunity to discuss issues and rub minds. We are glad that we have this level of cooperation going and we look forward to improving further on it”.
In his response, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who described the group as key players in the maritime transportation sector assured them that the Agency will continue to engage and partner with the association so that Nigerians can reap the benefits of the maritime sector.
Speaking further, the NIMASA DG used the opportunity to inform them of the efforts being made by the Agency in the area of security, through the integrated maritime security infrastructure and waterways surveillance system, noting that no stone will be left unturned to achieve the Agency’s objectives of zero tolerance to all forms of criminalities on the nation’s waterways.
“Let me assure you that very soon, the issue of maritime security will be history, because by then we would have fully implemented the new maritime security architecture which will include deployment of more equipment, more personnel and of course upping the game in the area of intelligence”, the DG said.
Accordingly, he stated that the Agency on the whole will continue to work closely with all relevant Stakeholders so that the benefits in the sector can be fully optimized.
“We are not on different sides; we may be working from different perspectives, but we are working towards the same goal in ensuring that people optimize benefits from maritime transportation. We are ensuring that there are no inefficiencies and that our effectiveness is on top of the game, so that Nigeria will be a preferred destination for commerce and for doing transaction”, Dr. Dakuku averred.