27 December 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — With up to $2 billion accumulated in the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund, CVFF, since 2004, shipowners have advocated the immediate initiation of the process of disbursing the fund to tap into the capacity of shipping to grow Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
The president of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN, Mr. Greg Ogbeifun said proper management of the maritime industry would assist the Federal Government to encourage diversification from oil to non-oil revenue.
He said the essence of CVFF which was introduced in 2004 based on two percent freight earnings of shipping operators engaged in coastal shipping services is to enable ship owners to have access to the fund at a single digit interest rate.
Advocating the imperative to disburse the CVFF at a single digit interest rate to make provisions for purchase of more vessels, Ogbeifun said the acquisition of more tankers and dry cargo vessels through the CVFF to create more jobs for youths.
The SOAN boss also said if all critical stakeholders, as well as government agencies, collaborate, the maritime industry will grow faster.
“The political will from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had, however, been challenging.
“We shipowners must ensure that we are eligible to access the fund. We need to look at our processes and system to ensure they meet the requirements.
“We are making progress but we need the media to continue with the news that will enable every player in the shipping industry to do the right thing,’’ Ogbeifun said.
He said Nigerian ship owners must focus on owning ships now.
Ogbeifun said that Nigerian shipowners often chartered ships from London, saying that if they purchase tanker and dry cargo vessels, it would help create more jobs for youths.
He said that if Nigerian ship owners purchase vessels, it would enable indigenous shipping operators to charter vessels in Nigeria rather than from London.