-By our correspondent.
Apparently worried about delay in disbursement of the controversial funds to operators in furtherance to ship acquisition, Women In Maritime Association (WIMA) Nigeria Branch, has asked the Federal Government to utilise the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF) for the establishment of a “Maritime Bank.”
WIMA reiterated that the establishment of a maritime bank would enable ship owners and other major stakeholders in accessing fund for vessel acquisition following delay by the government in disbursing the pool of fund which has accrued into billions of naira.
President of WIMA Nigeria, Rollens Macfoy, who disclosed this at the 7th Year Anniversary Lectures and Awards organised by Searchlight Media Concept ; publishers of Searchlight Magazine, decried the difficulties stakeholders in the shipping sub sector often times go through in the process of accessing soft loans for acquisition of ships .
Macfoy argued that Government floating a maritime bank would further empower ship owners and investors to buy vessels for the optimisation of the industry.
While speaking during a paper presentation with the topic, ‘The role of maritime manpower development for Nigeria economic growth, Macfoy who is also the Managing Director, Oceandeep Nigeria Limited, a manning agent outfit, stated that WIMA Nigeria will continue to campaign as agent of change in the nation’s shipping industry adding that the CVFF was long overdue for disbursement to ship owners.
She said ship acquisition for operators in the industry would further boost capacity and enhance indigenous participation in the shipping industry noting that lack of maritime bank remains a major setback for ship owners in capacity building and manpower development due to the high interest rates charged by conventional banks in the country for lending.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the multiple checkpoint at sea, Macfoy clamored for the harmonisation of such levies and taxes collected from ships on the nation’s coastal waters for the sector growth while noting that lack of funding and government support have halted the industry development.
The WIMA boss further queried rationale behind the delay in the installation of scanners at the nation’s seaports for the ease of cargo clearance, even as she maintained that political will power from the government can turn around the fortune of the maritime sector.
Aside maritime bank establishment, Macfoy called for a technological driven industry powered with adequate equipment and facilities to boost capacity.
Earlier Publisher Searchlight Magazine, Lola Adesokan, called on the federal government to expedite actions towards the completion of the port corridors noting that the slow pace of the road construction has ripple effect on the shipping sub sector of the nation’s economy.