Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has said that the Nigerian maritime sector has over the years suffered from the cancer of ineptitude, occasioned by poor regulatory framework.
Declaring open a one-day investigative hearing by the House ad-hoc Committee on Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), Tambuwal said despite the enactment of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act in 2003, “the Nigerian Inland Water Ways has remained grossly a wasteland for the national economy.”
Tambuwal said: “The desired salutary effect has not been seen in the volume of cabotage business going in Nigeria. The fear is that some unpatriotic people are misapplying the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds to the detriment of its objectives.”
Tambuwal, who said that the hearing was as a result of concerns raised by stakeholders in the sector, added that it was not designed to witch-hunt any individual or group, but a constitutional responsibility pursuant to sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Rep Christopher Eta (PDP, Cross River) had while assuring that they would do a thorough job, expressed dissatisfaction on the way the sector has become, calling on all stakeholders to open up on the way forward.
Presenting a memorandum at the hearing, Minister of Transport, Senator Umar Idris, explained that in managing the CVFF, he issued some guidelines mandating the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to appoint four banks as Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs).
He said the guidelines stipulated that NIMASA would contribute 50 percent, PLIs 35 percent and applicants would contribute 15 percent to the fund, adding that collections started in 2004.
He revealed further that from inception to date, waivers on cabotage vessels were granted in favour of 22 vessels owned by 10 Nigerian firms following fulfillment of certain conditions.
He stated that the ministry has set up a committee to review the policy guidelines for granting ministerial waivers on cabotage.
Information from Daily Trust was used in this report.