BMinister of Transportation, Engr Mu’azu Sambo says the Federal Government would soon commence disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) to qualified ship owners.
Engr Sambo gave this hint, Friday, when he visited the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Area Office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The CVFF is an interventionist monetary pool deducted from business transactions of indigenous ship owners for the purposes of empowering them to maintain their fleet as well as acquire and operate modern vessels.
Established under the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act of 2003, the disbursement has remained mirred in controversy even as it is dogged by allegations and counter-allegations of misappropriation and embezzlement.
Describing the CVFF as a low hanging fruit for the growth of indigenous shipping, the minister said it would support maritime activities which serves as the gateway to the nation’s economy in the face of dwindling returns from the oil and gas sector.
“If we get our acts right”, he stated, “the maritime industry can replace the revenue from oil”.
The Minister who visited BUA Ports and Terminal Ltd, among other facilities in Port Harcourt, expressed satisfaction at the progress of work in the terminal.
He said: “We are making good progress, bringing this place to a world standard”.
He, however, urged the operators to ensure completion of the project by 2025.
He assured that as part of Federal Government’s railway modernisation scheme, rail lines would be linked to the seaports for effective and efficient haulage of cargoes.
The Minister was accompanied on the trip by the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria and the Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding, in Nigeria (CRFFN), Barr Sam Nwakohu among others.