Nigeria loses $1tn annually to non-disbursement of Cabotage fund – Stakeholders

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Maritime stakeholders have said that the country is losing N$1tn annually to non-disbursement of the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund.

They disclosed this at the maritime stakeholders’ meeting with the new Director General of the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Dayo Mobereola, on Thursday in Lagos.

Speaking during the event, a maritime lawyer, Emeka Akabogu, noted that the country was losing $4bn due to a lack of local marine transportation.

“There are three legs to shipping, fleet expansion, ship repairs, and shipbuilding and the country is losing $9bn annually to non-participation in international freight services,” he said.

Akabogu added that the fishing sub-sector of the maritime industry contributes N282bn annually to the economy.

“Nigeria’s coastal resources have an estimated capacity of $504tn. Current realised capacity is $106tn in export and import on frozen fish is $876m,” he stated.

Akabugo quotes the former DG of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, to have said that Nigeria loses approximately $25.5bn annually to illegal maritime activities and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited loses $1.35bn on oil bunkering.

He stated that the number of registered ships in Nigeria was currently 4419, with a total tonnage of, 5.8 billion.

“The summary of the valid registered vessels is 2,136 with a 4.2 billion gross tonnage, invalid registered ships are 61, cabotage registered vessels are 1033, with a gross tonnage of 1.9 million. The foreign-owned vessels are 18 with a gross tonnage of 125 million,” he added.

Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, said a lot was required from the NIMASA in the implementation of the Cabotage Act, which had not been effective since its enactment.

He stressed the need for inter-agency collaboration in the cabotage regime to address issues of boarding and inspection of vessels, especially with the automatic identification system.

According to Hassan, there is a lot of money to make in the implementation of the Cabotage Act

A former DG of NIMASA,  Temisan Omatseye, said the agency was established with the core mandate of promoting, protecting, and providing an enabling environment for indigenous ship owners to grow their vessels.

He, however, said that unfortunately, the current NIMASA leadership would not be able to disburse the CVFF fund.

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