22 October 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – THE immediate past Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety, NIMASA, Barrister Temisan Omatseye has blamed himself for the failure of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF.
Speaking at the recently concluded House of Representative Ad-hoc Committee on the investigation of the CVFF, Omatseye said that he was a party to the drawing up of the guidelines which according to him “is totally flawed”.
He stated that it was during his tenure that the process of identifying and engaging Primary Lending Institutions, PLIs, was done adding that the mistakes of the past is now hunting the Fund.
“As CEO I do take responsibility for the document and cannot make excuses for it though as I write this paper and in hindsight I do find the document to be totally flawed.
“In being the CEO of an agency like NIMASA faced with over 29 functions and duties, it is easy for one not to pay as much attention to certain areas as it is not humanly possible to do everything and therefore, it was necessary to delegate most especially with the issues as it relates to the selection of the PLIs being that the organo-gram or structure of the Agency allows for there to be an Executive Director whose functions is to deal with all that relates to Cabotage and an Executive Director Finance who should in all ways assist the Executive Director, Cabotage on issues relating to financial transaction.
“We failed to see some of the flaws are now haunting the disbursement process and may further lead to situation that if disbursement does occur, then the likely hood of making any achievable progress as the Cabotage Act had envisaged will be wishful thinking.
“Once the guidelines have been met in the selection of the PLIs and PLIs given their agreement, then, it was meant for PLIs to begin the process of engagement of the indigenous ship owners for which the loan is to be given.
“In as much as the banks are able to deal with issues relating `to the financial wherewithal of the companies that are seeking to get the facility, NIMASA in all intent and purpose was meant to set the technical criteria.
“Unfortunately what was genuinely intended by the guidelines was turned totally on its head with who are not versed in the granting of facility or allowed to do so by law were suddenly the one determining who and which company are eligible to be given the facility”.
He suggested that there should be a paradigm shift from the way the Fund is presently being viewed, processed and disbursed.
The former NIMASA boss further suggested that the present process of application being considered be stopped immediately and the 2006 guidelines be repealed and the process of drafting a new sets of guidelines should commence immediately.
Omatseye also said that a Vessel Finance and Leasing Company should be in collaboration with the PLIs and other institutional investors with strong interest in shipping.
He opined that the system is currently faced with brief case businessmen with no known address who have overnight become specialist in the maritime sector and are the ones applying for the CVFF and likely to get it.