New Telegraph

FG Targets $2.7bn Earning From Maritime

The Federal Government has advanced the process of developing a national policy on marine and blue economy that would create over $2.7 billion revenue to nation’s economy.

The Director, Maritime Safety and Security Department in the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Babatunde Hafiz, explained at a stakeholders forum in Lagos that the ministry had commenced the process of developing a national policy on marine and blue economy that would play a great role in enhancing the performance of the shipping sub-sector and boost trade facilitation as well as economic growth.

Hafiz noted that the development of the policy would provide a comprehensive frame work/blueprint to deliver the expected contributions of the marine and blue economic sector to the national economy and tackle revenue leakages, through the envisaged streamlined approach to the management of the sector.

According to him, the ministry had determined to work towards the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), stressing that the fund was an intervention fund established by the Cabotage Act to assist indigenous shipping operators in acquiring new vessels to enhance indigenous capacity building.

He noted: “The CVFF is a strategic instrument within the legislative framework to stimulate the expansion of domestic shipping capability. To ensure the full implementation of the CVFF, the Ministry has constituted a Committee to develop clear guidelines and mechanisms to facilitate improved access to the fund by stakeholders in the shipping sub sector.

“This initiative is envisaged to ensure that the Fund achieves its goal of providing the required financial support for indigenous shipowners to acquire, construct and repair their vessels, “The CVFF will allow the indigenous shipowners to fund the acquisition of more vessels at a single-digit interest rate. Limiting cabotage trade to Nigeria-owned, crewed and operated ships, will increase the number of ship fleets/ tonnage in the country and attract healthy competition with foreign shipping companies in international shipping.

“The CVFF will also enhance the employment of Nigerians in the maritime sector, increase locally induced Cabotage trade and movement of passengers and cargo by indigenous shippers.” Also, the director said that the arrangements to herald the establishment of Regional Maritime Development Bank was at advanced stage.

“The RMDB establishment is ongoing, with Nigeria set to host the headquarters and having the highest share among MOWCA member states. The bank’s objectives include funding port infrastructure, vessel acquisition, and human capacity development, among others. The RMDB’s establishment was conceived by the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), which comprises 25 countries.

“The RMDB’s capital base is expected to be $1 billion, with Nigeria having the highest share of 12 per cent among MOWCA member states. The bank will be a private-public sector-driven bank, with 51 per cent shareholding for MOWCA states and 49 per cent for institutional investors.

“The bank’s establishment process is ongoing and an office space has been provided for the bank at the NIMASA, Abuja office. Its establishment will increase access to funding for the acquisition, construction and repairs of vessels by indigenous shipowners.”

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