08 November 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – AHEAD of the commencement of the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has began the screening of applicants for the Fund.
Besides the screening exercise, the Minister has also put in place some stringent requirements before the fund can be released to any applicants.
The exercise, otherwise, known as Professional Surveying, is being done to ensure that only genuine Nigerian shipping businessmen benefit from the Fund.
Confirming the development, Media Assistant to the Minister, of CVFF, Mr. Innocent Ebirim, said that the minister is deeply involved in the entire process because he wants to ensure that the Fund is released to competent and qualified applicants.
Ebirim explained that the minister was taking cautious measures to also ensure that the standards and requirements are also met. Some of the requirements stipulated by the Ministry are that an applicant must have 15 per cent of the funds being applied for, a running contract with any of the International Oil Companies, IOCs, just as an applicant must also show evidence of the vessel to be purchased.
It would be recalled that NIMASA Director General, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, had raised an alarm early last year that politicians were scrabbling for the Funds and had vowed that no politician, no matter how highly placed will benefit from the fund.
He noted then that the agency is taking its time to ensure that the over $160 million lifeline meant to empower shipping practitioners does not gett into wrong hands.
According to him, “No Nigerian politician, under whatever guise and no matter how highly placed would be allowed to access the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund. Politicians see the fund as a bonus and I have resisted all manner of pressure to disburse the funds so far”.
“Everybody is scrambling for the money but we are carefully scrutinising all applications. I shall personally inspect the facilities and other logistics of all the intending beneficiaries to ensure that those who eventually get the loans, use them for the purpose they are meant,” Akpobolokemi declared.