Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi said on Friday that the finance ministry was frustrating the disbursement of the Coasting Vessels Fund (CVFF) of $ 200 million.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA), in March of this year, said it had received approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to pay CVFF to qualified indigenous maritime operators in accordance with the single account policy. Treasury Board (TSA) and CVFF guidelines. from 2006.
However, the agency has yet to apply the more than $ 200 million fund to acquire ships for local ship owners who are struggling to survive due to insufficient funds to run their businesses.
Speaking at the 2020 Federal Ministry of Transport ministerial retreat in Lagos, Amaechi said President Muhammadu Buhari and Federation Attorney General Abubakar Malami approved the disbursement of the fund, but the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, protested against the disbursement, saying it is a public fund and should not be paid to private operators.
However, he advised the shipowners to write a letter of protest to the President to request the disbursement of the fund and to explain why the fund is a private fund.
“The owners of the fund should write to the president and copy me, then I’ll go back to the president.” The law says this is not a public fund, now that they know they should write to say we are aware of the approval, and we are aware of the finance minister’s protest and if j ‘have all this, I will come back to the president, ”the minister said.
He argued that with the commissioning of Project Deep Blue, ships that were unable to visit eastern ports can now do so without fear of attack.
“I said we will address the issue of safety in the maritime sector because the reasons why ships cannot get to Port Harcourt, Warri and elsewhere are due to the high cost of insurance.
“The high cost of insurance is the result of insecurity, so if we tackle the problem of insecurity that is the root cause of it, the high cost of insurance will go down and more businesses will go south. -south where we have other seaports.
“Since we launched the equipment for the security architecture, we are now monitoring the improvement and this will decrease because we have equipment and human beings who manage it”, he assured.
Also speaking, NIMASA Director General Dr Bashir Jamoh said the agency was doing everything possible to commission the floating shipyard.
According to him, the docking dock of the floating dock of the Continental shipyard is weak, rusty and old hence the need for rehabilitation.
“In summary, we’re just trying to see how we can efficiently and safely get a place where we can moor the floating dock and start operations, but everything else about the floating dock is done except where to moor the ship,” he explained. .