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Nigeria’s coastal trade to be boosted with USD700m new vessels

…Cabotage vessel funds will be disbursed before May 29–Jamoh

As the Federal Government sets to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) before the May 29 handover date to a new administration; the Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh has disclosed that Nigeria’s coastal shipping will soon be boosted with about USD700 million new vessels.

According to him, each of the vessels will cost about USD25 million.

Dr.Jamoh made this known in a lecture he delivered at the maiden annual lecture of the Institute of Maritime Studies (IMS) University of Lagos, on Tuesday.

During the lecture themed, “From Crude to Blue-Nigeria’s Blue Economy: The Imperative of Maritime Domain Awareness & Good Governance”; Dr Jamoh stated that with the level of security and safety of navigation achieved in the Nigerian maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea since the commencement of the national maritime security initiative tagged, Deep Blue Project; Nigeria is really ripped to transit from ‘crude’ to blue economy.

He added that the cabotage fund which will be disbursed to Nigerians at just 1per cent interest rate is aimed at stimulating investment in the nation’s huge blue economy and boost job creation potentials of the industry.

He noted that the Federal Government would provide half of the required funds, USD350 million, the Primary Lenders (Banks), 35 per cent and the shipowners, 15 per cent.

Dr. Jamoh further disclosed that due to the complaints of the shipowners that they cannot be able to provide the 15 per cent of the fund required from them, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has offered to assist the shipowners with 9 per cent of the fund while they will provide just 6 per cent.

His words: “The shipowners have been crying to me that they cannot afford the 15 per cent but the NNPC has come to their rescue by promising to provide 9 per cent out of the 15 per cent. The shipowners will provide just 6 per cent. NNPC will provide the cargo and collect its money back through the freight for the cargo.

“It is a win win situation for the NNPC who will have ready vessels for its cargo, the shipowners who will have ready contract for their vessels while paying off their loan without hassles and for the young Nigerians maritime profession, job is assured. This will be concluded before the last day of this administration,” he stressed.

Speaking further, Dr. Jamoh stated that the Nigerian blue economy is very huge and far bigger than the Nigerian oil/gas industry which for over 50 years has been the mainstay of the nation’s economy.

He said that it is in the effort of NIMASA to enhance Nigeria’s capacity to exploit its share of the global blue economy valued at over USD2.5 trillion that it started the human capacity development initiative which saw it establishing the IMS in six universities across the six geographical zones of the country and a full university in Okerenkoko, Delta State.

The Director General also disclosed that it is this objective that informed the three point agenda; security, safety and capacity development which his administration adopted on his assumption of office over two years ago.

Speaking, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola said that by the revelations that have been made by Dr Jamoh in his lecture, “there are really a lot of untapped potentials in the Nigerian maritime industry.”

According to her, since the inception of the IMS of University of Lagos a few years ago, no fewer than 150 students have graduated in different maritime courses from the Institute while it currently has 193 students studying different maritime courses.

“Our country must not continue to depend on crude oil. We must turn ‘blue’, she said.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye and the Acting Chairman of NIMASA board, M. D. Abubakar, the Head of the Institute of Maritime Studies University of Lagos, Prof. Matthew Ilori were among the among top industry bigwigs that attended the event which was held at the J. F. Ade Ajayi Main Auditorium, University of Lagos.

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