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FG approves disbursement of $200m cabotage fund 15 years after

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Barely 15 years after the creation of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), the Federal Government has approved its disbursement to indigenous shipping operators.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this at Stakeholders Appreciation Night organised by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) in Lagos, said the fund has hit $200 million.

He said the process of the disbursement would begin Tuesday next week when he would hold a meeting with the management of Shippers Council, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NMASA) and Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on the subject matter.

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The CVFF scheme was created in 2004. Since then, indigenous ship owners have been longing to benefit from the fund after several promises by the government failed.

The accumulated fund represents a two per cent contribution by indigenous ship owners on every contract done in the nation’s maritime sector.

The fund was established under the Cabotage and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 to provide finance to operators to maintain their vessels or purchase new ones.

According to the Act establishing the fund, the Minister of Transportation is empowered to establish guidelines for the disbursement of the fund to eligible operators.

Amaechi had in the past told the ship owners that as long as he remained in charge as Minister of Transportation, the funds would not be disbursed, citing several excuses.

But after receiving directives from President Muhammadu Buhari, Amaechi assured stakeholders last night that he would be meeting with all the heads of agencies under the ministry next Tuesday to know their plans for the fund.

He added that there would also be another meeting with the agencies again in January.

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