Details showing that the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Dakuku Peterside lied in claiming that he lacks powers to disburse the intact Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) are embedded in the Act establishing the agency and Cabotage Act itself.
Whereas the Cabotage Act empowers the DG to disburse the CVFF for growth of the indigenous shippers and maritime sector development, NIMASA Act clearly provides under section 17-(1) that the monies domiciled in The Maritime Fund (TMF) which is 25 per cent of annual income of NIMASA be applied in the promotion of the development of indigenous shipping and infrastructure in Nigeria.
The CVFF is a pool of fund collected from ships involved in coastal operation. It is warehoused by NIMASA to be borrowed by Nigerian shipowners for vessel acquisition through selected banks known as Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs).
The Act also made it clear that “the beneficiaries of the Fund under section (4) of same section shall be the Nigerian shipping companies.
Currently, there had been a running battle between indigenous shippers on one side and both the Minister of Transportation and DG of NIMASA on the other hand over the disbursement of the fund.
Still on the NIMASA Act which empowers the DG to disburse it, Section 16 made it clear that NIMASA shall provide as explicitly provided in Section 16-(2), (a), not less than 25 per cent of its revenue for TMF and Section 16-(2) (b) also averred that not less than 5 per cent of NIMASA’s annual revenue for the maritime Academy.
Only last week, the President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Mr. Greg Ogbeifun, said both the DG or NIMASA and the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, lacks the power to hold on to the CVFF because the fund remains the statutory rights of Nigerian indigenous shippers.
According to Ogbeifun, “The law requires that the minister sets up guidelines for disbursement. The law does not allow you to sit on the money doing nothing which is the situation we are in now and the ship owners are still contributing money to that fund up till now.
The shipping group boss who expressed worry on the total negligence of shippers support as provided in the NIMASA Act, therefore called for the immediate resignation of the Director General NIMASA, Mr. Dakuku Peterside.
In his further submission, Amiwero called for probe of the financial activities of the current leadership at NIMASA since it has become clear that what the leadership knows well is only either organising conferences form one Nigerian city to the other or attending every conference whether it is relevant or not while indigenous shippers potentials while away due to poor implementation of core provisions of NIMASA Act.