Proposed maritime bank to boost ports infrastructure, vessel acquisition
The proposed Regional Maritime Development Bank will ensure funding of ports infrastructure, acquisition of ocean going and crude oil affreightment vessels, aquaculture, human capacity development and deepening of the maritime value chain.
Disclosing this in a statement, the Nominated Director of the bank, Theo Patrick, said the specialised multilateral development financial institution is being berthed to ameliorate the many challenges facing the maritime sector and the indigenous operators, which has defied solutions.
Patrick said for years, despite the immense potential of the maritime sector to deepen the economy, generate foreign exchange and create massive employment, it has suffered substantial neglect due to the critical unavailability of sustainable sources of long term funding.
He said the Regional Maritime Development Bank, which is the brainchild of countries in the West and Central African regions was mooted over a decade ago, when the Federal Government of Nigeria agreed to host the headquarters of the Bank.
He said regrettably, this was followed by years of inaction until recently, when the Presidency and the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi galvanised activities towards setting up the Bank.
Patrick disclosed that eight key countries in the West and Central African have signed up to join the Bank, adding that capital-raising exercise is ongoing with close to $500million in commitments already being offered by funding partners to financing projects.
“The Maritime sector is projected to contribute circa $100billion yearly to regional GDP if properly harnessed. Substantial work has been done on the Bank in the past three years and it is expected that indigenous players will now have a vehicle to approach for dedicated maritime funding and shake off the issues of short dated funding, currency mismatches, high pricing and unrealistic collateral requirements,” he added.
Patrick noted that bringing in more local players will have a massive impact on the sector, as it will generate forex, create more jobs and significantly impact national development.