Government worried about N50 billion cabotage fund
The need for proper implementation of the cabotage fund was brought to the front burner reecently when the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, warned Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) against misuse of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
The fund, which is believed to have accumulated to the tune of over N50 billion has become a source of worry for stakeholders who were alleging the mismanagement of the fund by the past administration.
Amaechi, who gave the warning during the inauguration of the Governing Boards of NIMASA and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Abuja said: “I’m not sure that NIMASA in the past complied with the Cabotage Act. The last administration in NIMASA virtually spent all the money. The money in the cabotage fund is not for NIMASA to build universities or maritime faculties in universities, but to improve shipping activities,”
CVFF came into being with the promulgation of Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage Act 2003. The fund, derived from two percent deductions from every contract awarded was meant to help grow the capacity of indigenous ship onwers intention and also provide the needed capital for them capital to acquire vessels.
The minister reminded that NIMASA had two broad mandates: to promote the development of indigenous commercial shipping capacity in international and coastal shipping trade, regulate and promote maritime safety, security, marine pollution and maritime labour.
“I doubt if NIMASA is doing that but I hope it starts doing that soon,” he said.
The Director, General, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside had earlier assured of adequate disbursement of the fund.
He said: “we will rigorously screen the applicants of the cabotage fund in order to ensure that the funds are disbursed to people who would use it for the purposes that the funds are meant for.”
Amaechi however tasked both boards to set operational administrative policies in accordance with the government’s policy aimed at assisting the agencies achieve their mandates.
He further enjoined them to measure performance against targets and introduce broad policy measures that would curtail deviations and ensure targets were achieved.