Nineteen years after Cabotage Vessel Financing fund (CVFF) established under the. Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003 has remained undisbursed to serve the purpose for which it was created, the Minister of Transportation Mu’azu Sambo has disclosed that the Federal Government would soon commence disbursement of the fund to enable indigenous shipping operators compete favourably with their international counterparts.
The Minister made this known at the weekend when he visited the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Area Office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The CVFF is an intervention fund created by the Federal Government for the development of indigenous shipping capacity in Nigeria to enable them maintain existing vessels or purchase new ones.
Describing the CVFF as a low hanging fruit, the minister said it would support maritime activities which are the gateway to the nation’s economy, adding that “if we get our acts right, the maritime industry can replace the revenue from the oil”.
While answering questions from newsmen at the BUA Ports and Terminal Limited, situated at the Rivers Port, the Minister expressed delight at the progress of work, saying, “We are making good progress, bringing this place to a world standard”.
He however urged the operators to ensure completion by 2025, according to a statement by Eric Ojiekwe,
Sambo further assured that as part of the railway modernisation policy, rail lines would be linked to the seaports for effective and efficient haulage of cargoes.
The Minister was accompanied on the trip by the Director, Finance and Accounts, FMT, Umaru Hassan who represented the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Directors, MSD, Legal Services, Rail, Press, Babatunde Sule, Pius Oteh, Jimoh Yusfu, Eric Ojiekwe, respectively.
Others were: Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria and the Registrar, Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding, in Nigeria, Sam Nwakohu among others.