The Federal Government has said there is no going back on the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund.
A statement quoted the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, as saying this over the weekend in Lagos at the investiture ceremony and inauguration of the 7th president of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Mr Aminu Umar.
Recall that the House of Representatives had asked the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to stop its plan to disburse the sum of $700m from the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund.
The members resolved to direct the Committee on Local Content to “immediately commence investigations of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund to determine all monies that have accrued to the Fund since its establishment in the year 2003 and report to the House within 14 days.”
Reacting to this, Sambo admitted that the position of the House is in line with the standard practice of inquiry and due diligence.
He said, “Subsequently, against all odds, we got the presidential approval to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund. All machinery was in motion to disburse it in the first week of April, through the selected financial institutions in line with the Cabotage Act and approved Regulations but the disbursement of the fund is delayed presently by an inquiry from the House of Representatives.”
“My team has been meeting with the members of the House to harmonise perspectives which will lead to the disbursement of the funds in the coming days. No going back.”
Sambo said the ministry has gotten approval for a cargo tracking scheme for all imports and exports across all borders, land and Sea.
“The Electronic Cargo tracking note which is an official marine waiver certificate document required by several African countries to effectively control and manage import/export traffic has come to stay.”
The Minister said the scheme will block revenue leakages and provide transparency in cargo invoicing.
Sambo said the implementation of this scheme will abet the problem of under-declaration, concealment, and wrong classification of cargo.
According to him, “The unique position attained by this chamber in the Nigerian Maritime industry as a bridge between stakeholders and policymakers has become the first African member organisation to be admitted into the board of the International Chamber of Shipping, which has brought this organisation closer to the international maritime community, is worthy of commendation.”