The House of Representatives has asked the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to stop its plan to disburse the sum of $700m from the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund.
At the plenary on Tuesday, members of the resolved to direct the Committee on Local Content to “immediately commence investigations of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund to determine all monies that have accrued to the Fund since its establishment in the year 2003 and report to the House within 14 days.”
The House also directed the committee to engage an external auditor to audit all contracts that have been entered into in the cabotage regime and report same to the house within 14 days.
The lawmakers also resolved to “direct NIMASA to immediately stop the planned disbursement of $700m to Nigerian citizens and companies,” asking the agency to and lay before the House, an audited statement of account “showing all monies that have accrued to the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund not later than seven days from the date of this resolution.”
Furthermore, the House resolved to invite the Minister of Transport, Muazu Sambo; and the Director-General of NIMASA, Bashir Jamo, “to report to the House Committee on Local Content on the state of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund and how the funds have been applied over the past 20 years.”
These resolutions were sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by a member of the House, Henry Nwawuba, titled ‘Urgent Need to Stop the Planned Disbursement of $700m Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund, and Investigate the Total Accrual of the Fund.’
Reacting to the development, the President of the Nigerian Indigenous Shipowners Association, Mr Sola Adewmi, said the House of Representatives did not have the final say on the disbursement of the fund.
He said some of the issues raised by the House of Representatives were not realistic.
He said, “I personally do not believe that the House of Reps has the final say on this. This is because some of the issues they raised are not realistic. I am a trained accountant how can you do such an audit and submit it in seven days? They should not bamboos us.”
According to him, it is the coming administration that has the right to say this since this current administration has few days to go.
“This government only have some days to go and they are calling for audit for money that have been there for years and they said they should submit the report in the next seven days, how realistic is that? Let be sincere. Like I always tell people government is a continuous process.’’