The creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has put the focus of the international maritime community on Nigeria as she attempts to realize the vast potentials inherent in the marine environment.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, who stated this during a courtesy visit by the new Managing Director of the NNPC Shipping Ltd, Mr. Panos Gliatis, in company of a delegation from the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping to NIMASA, noted that some international financial institutions were first in line to show interest in investing in Nigeria through the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF.
In his words “the creation of the standalone Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy has put the spotlight on the Nigerian maritime industry as the international community now sees the commitment of the Federal Government through this new Ministry to develop economically, away from the long-standing reliance on crude oil exports. Right now, the Afriexim Bank, African Development Bank and American Express Bank have all indicated intent to support the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF. NIMASA has also been directed to provide accommodation for the Maritime Bank at the Agency’s Abuja Zonal Office. This will also bring more funding for the Nigeria maritime industry.
The NIMASA DG also spoke about the issue of ongoing discussions between the Agency and the appointed Primary Lending Institutions, PLIs, on interest rate on the CVFF.
“On CVFF disbursement, we have gone far, the disagreement was when the PLIs where insisting that the interest rate must be 7.5 percent, while NIMASA and NNPC Shipping Limited say it should be 6.5percent. It is noteworthy that NNPC Shipping Limited has agreed to be off-takers of these vessels, because it is one thing to have a vessel, and another to have the cargo. Without the cargo, the ships become useless. The essence of CVFF is to promote job creation and expansion of the industry”. Jamoh stated.
On his part, President of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Alhaji Aminu Umar expressed much satisfaction at the collaboration between NNPC Shipping and indigenous ship owners.
He said “We have come to inform NIMASA, as our regulator, that we have entered into partnership with NNPC Shipping Ltd. They have come with open arms to partner the Nigerian ship owners, under the auspices of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping. This partnership would open up a lot of opportunities for us who are operators in this industry, and we believe that it would bring a lot of investment opportunities, create jobs and economic growth which is what NIMASA has been pushing for, under the administration of Dr. Bashir Jamoh”.
The Managing Director of NNPC Shipping Limited, Mr Panos Gliatis, assured that under his watch, the previous discussions and agreements between NIMASA and the NNPC Shipping Limited would be expedited for action.
However, how the vessels will be acquired was not stated and how the NNPC Shipping Limited will manage non-acquired vessels in relation to the percentage was not discussed.