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Ministry Of Marine And Blue Economy Is Committed To Disbursement Of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund

…Disbursement Of CVFF Will Enhance Shipping Development

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The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, has said that the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was committed to delivering the disbursement of the CVFF to enhance efficiency, transparency, and competitiveness in the sector.
Cablenews24 reports that Oyetola said this during the stakeholders’ engagement with the shipowners and port operators held in Lagos on Tuesday.
The minister who was later represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Oloruntola Olufemi, after taking his leave to attend the FEC meeting in Abuja, stated that government has identified this sector as a pivotal area of
Oyetola said that the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was committed to delivering the disbursement of the CVFF to enhance efficiency, transparency, and competitiveness in the sector.
“Our attention to the shipping industry must be holistic, encompassing investments in fleet, improvement of regulatory frameworks, upscaling of local manpower and capacities, fine-tuning of operational efficiencies, and increasing turnover and revenue.
“We must work together to reverse unfavourable terms of trade in the sector for the benefit of our economy. Moving forward, our collective resolve must be to foster collaboration among regulators and stakeholders to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.
“As we navigate the complex waters of global trade and economic uncertainty, we must recognize the significance of the marine and blue economy sector in stimulating national economic growth and development.
“The government has identified this sector as a pivotal area of focus, and we are committed to creating an enabling environment that supports your businesses and promotes the growth of the sector as a whole,” Oyetola said.
He acknowledged the commitment of the ship owners and operators for being the backbone of the maritime sector, adding that they contributed to trade, transportation, and job creation.
Oyetola noted the challenges facing the sector; from safety and security concerns to regulatory hurdles and market fluctuations, adding that the government was working hard to address these challenges and foster a conducive environment for their operations.
In his presentation, the Director of Services, Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Babatunde Bombata, said that the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was to open up the Nigerian maritime sector to provide opportunities in the shipping sub-sector.
Bombata said that these opportunities include job creation, maritime damage mitigation, tourism growth, investment attraction, and general development, adding that the industry faced challenges of sustainability.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Marine Economy required adequate funding to prioritize sustainability operations and activities of the stakeholders in the maritime sector to avoid degrading marine ecosystems and ensure long-term economic growth.
“The effective dominance of the marine sector is critical to harnessing the potential of the blue economy.
“It is therefore important that stakeholders in the sector should continue to provide the necessary support and cooperation to enable the ministry to move up on its mandates.
“Investment in the blue economy requires a stable and supportive private sector. Investments are stuck when the private sector opposes policies of the government aimed at strengthening activities in the national maritime environment.
“The blue economy faces security challenges including piracy and illegal fishing. The equation remains true of the marine and blue economy in Nigeria. It offers opportunities for economic growth, job creation, and environmental sustainability in the shipping sub-sector.
However, challenges such as sustainability, governance investment, climate change and security must be addressed to harness the full potential of the blue economy,” Bombata said.
In his closing remark, the Director General, Nigerian Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), Dr Dayo Mobereola, said that the agency had listened to the issues raised by stakeholders, adding that objectives would be formed for going forward.
Mobereola said that all the stakeholders would be included in government policies to enable them to sustain and make more profit.
He stressed the agency’s commitment to improving port safety and security to attract more vessels to call at Nigerian ports.
“National Carrier will be implemented and will be run under Public Private Partnership (PPP) so that NNPC will stop lifting oil on Free On Board but on Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF).
“NIMASA has been having meetings with the Nigerian Navy to achieve visibility of the Deep Blue project of the Federal Government.
In his contribution, the Former President, Nigeria Ship Owners Association (NISA), Alhaji Aminu Umar, urged the government to invest more in water navigation.
Umar asked the government to intensify efforts in constant dredging to enable bigger vessel calls at Nigerian ports.
“The government should look into the area of shipping security because no vessel is leaving Lagos to the Eastern port without being escorted by security.
The President, of Nigeria Ship Owners, Otunba Shola Adewunmi, said the Cabotage Act, 2003 was a good policy, adding that it lacked good implementation.
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“There is a need for the government to stop collecting duties on vessels calling Nigeria port to reduce the cost of goods in the market.
“Bunkering is an international and a legal business: Government should look into it because Nigeria is losing a lot in the area of bunkering,” Adewunmi said.
In a contribution, the Secretary of National Boat Operators in Nigeria, Mrs Dorcas Aderemi, urged the government to localise the cabotage to give inland waterways more attention.
The Vice President, Barges Operators, Mrs Ifeoma Bernadine, urged the government to help them look into reducing the 30 per cent interest loan to enable them to sustain the business.
The Managing Director, Blueflag Ltd., Dr Stefanos Vourakis, a Naval Architect, advised the government to encourage shipowners to use the Nigerian Flag to earn more for the country.
Vourakis asked the government to encourage private ownership of the establishment of maritime schools to enable the ship operators to have prerequisite knowledge of the industry globally.
Representing the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Muhammed Bello-Koko, Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Service, NPA, Mr Ibrahim Umar, said the government had dredged Lagos ports from 13.5 metres to 15.5 metres channel.
Umar said that regarding the Eastern ports, the technical committee were still working to report on the depth, adding that they had issues with NNPC pipelines in thesea’sa’s eastern area.
He said that the government had inaugurated two tug boats on May 6, 2024, adding that they were expecting two pilot boats from China.
The Executive Secretary Nigerian Shoppers’ Council, (NSC), Mr Pious Akutah, said that the government acknowledged the stakeholders’ investment, adding government was making efforts to ensure their investment yielded profit.
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