Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi has revealed that the finance ministry is frustrating the disbursement of the Coasting Vessels Fund (CVFF) of $ 200 million.
Recall that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) said in March that it had received approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to disburse the Fund to qualified indigenous maritime operators in accordance with the Treasury Single Account policy ( TSA) and the 2006 CVFF guidelines.
However, the agency has yet to apply the $ 200 million accumulated in the Fund to acquire ships for local shipowners, who are struggling to survive due to lack of access to funds to run their businesses.
Speaking at the Federal Ministry of Transport’s 2020 ministerial retreat in Lagos on Friday, Amaechi said President Buhari and Federation Attorney General Abubakar Malami (SAN) approved the disbursement of the fund but the Minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, protested against the disbursement of the fund, saying public funds should not flow to private operators.
The minister said: “The president gave his approval saying go ahead and shell out, and the attorney general said go ahead, the law says it’s a private fund but the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed protested that this is a public fund and cannot be spent, so what am I going to do? ”Amaechi asked rhetorically.
He therefore advised the shipowners to write a letter of protest to the President, requesting the disbursement of the fund and explaining why the fund is a private fund.
The minister said: “The owners of the fund should write to the president and copy me, then I will return to the president. The law says it’s not a public fund, now 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 it all, I will go back to the president,’ he said.
The minister also revealed that with the commissioning of the Deep Blue project, ships unable to visit eastern ports can now do so without fear of any attack or hijacking.
“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 business 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 it will decrease as there is presence of equipment and humans managing them,” added Amaechi.
Also speaking, NIMASA Managing Director Dr Bashir Jamoh said the agency is doing everything possible to commission the floating shipyard.
According to him, the docking dock of the floating dock at the Continental Shipyard is weak, rusty and old, hence the need for rehabilitation.
Jamoh said: “Regarding the floating dock, where we are now, we find a space to moor the facility in the continental shipyard, as we have an agreement with the NPA and we have advertised with the managing partner and the NPA.
“We’re going to use the NPA continental shipyard, but the issue is with the continental shipyard because you know when you bring in a ship you have to find a place where you can moor that particular ship. “