Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN)’s Secretary General, Capt. Olaniyi Labinjo, has admonished the Federal Government to establish a maritime bank to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
Labinjo gave the advice on Thursday in Abuja during the 12th Maritime Seminar for Judges jointly organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the National Judicial Institute.
He said the review of Cabotage Act could also provide for the composition of a committee or commission of the stakeholders and the Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) to disburse the fund.
Labinjo stated that the recovery of the fund could be brought under the supervision of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
He reminded the gathering the stakeholders that sections 42 and 43 of the Cabotage Act provide for this contribution (CVFF) by all maritime operators.
“This contribution by Nigerian maritime operators is for the growth and development of the Nigerian tonnage. It is not revenue generated for the government and it should not be subjected to appropriation,” he cleared the air.
“It is co-operative contribution (ESUSU) and the stakeholders must be involved in the disbursement,’’ he said.
Labinjo said that the call for the review of the Cabotage Act was not entirely out of place, “but we are yet to enforce the provisions of the Cabotage Act and to test these provisions in our courts’’.
He said that based on the difficulties so far experienced since the enactment of the Cabotage Act, it was necessary to provide the citizens the statutory rights to bring to the courts such persons that breached the Cabotage provisions.
Labinjo also said that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 had no doubt re-enforced the provisions of the Cabotage Act concerning the development of indigenous capacity to own vessels and engage in the domestic coastal trade.
It would be recalled that at a ministerial briefing in April in Abuja, the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar assured that the $150 million (N23.4billion) CVFF would soon be disbursed through the four selected PLIs.
Umar revealed that the affected banks were reviewing their recommendations on the eight screened indigenous operators for final approval before the fund would be disbursed.