NIMASA, CBN harp on special interest rate for maritime assets acquisition

Nigeria’s maritime regulatory agency, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), is discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on how to actualise interest rate through special interest financing.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed that the Agency is engaging the CBN to create a special interest rate for maritime assets acquisition in Nigeria, stated that NIMASA is committed to opening new frontiers for potential investors in the industry.
Speaking during the Maritime Stakeholders Interactive Forum in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, Peterside noted that other industries such as the textile industry are already enjoying same arrangement with the CBN, positing that it would be beneficial for the maritime industry to also enjoy same opportunity in order to grow Nigeria’s economy.
“We are committed to providing opportunities for investors through public and private partnership. This applies especially to investments in maritime infrastructure, shipping and ancillary services, offshore services, ship building repairs as well as marine and bunkering services. In this regard, we are engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria to create a special interest rate for maritime infrastructure development and maritime assets acquisition in Nigeria this is aside looking at the early disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund,” he said.
According to him, there are enormous potentials that remain untapped in the country’s maritime sector.
Pointing out that the ports located along Nigeria’s Eastern flank, comprising Calabar, Port-Harcourt and Onne ports, hold a key to Nigeria’s economic development, he said that and that all hands must be on deck to ensure that the ports function optimally.
In his words: “For us to harness our maritime potentials, the ports in the Eastern flank must be fully utilised. The Eastern Zone is the most critical because, out of the three functional seaports in Nigeria, three are domiciled in the Eastern Zone and it also harbours over 70 per cent of the 275 terminals that are in the country but unfortunately in terms of cargo reception there is no corresponding relationship between the facilities available and the reception of cargoes because the Eastern Zone accounted for less than 20 per cent of the vessels that visited the Nigerian ports in 2016 and 2017.”
According to him, the available statistics show that there is need for serious collaboration with stakeholders in the sector to ensure that the environment is made conducive enough for continuous growth that is premised on sustainable development devoid of threats such as piracy and other maritime crimes.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the Governing Board of NIMASA, Major-General Jonathan India Garba (rtd), said that the Eastern Zonal Area has a lot to offer the Nigerian economy in terms of shipping.
He appealed to all stakeholders to support NIMASA as it strives to create an enabling environment for maritime to thrive in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Starzs Investments Company Limited, Engineer Greg Ogbeifun, commended the Peterside-led NIMASA Management on the sensitisation and awareness that the Agency is creating to drive investors into the maritime sector.
On his part, a former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Captain Adamu Biu, said that the government is not totally responsible for the previous stagnation of the maritime sector.
It is time, according to him, for stakeholders to support NIMASA to bring the much needed development to the maritime sector.
The pioneer Director-General of NIMASA and the incumbent Secretary-General of the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for West and Central African Region generally referred to as Abuja MoU, Barrister Mfon Usoro, who was the Lead Speaker delivered a paper entitled: Harnessing Maritime Potentials in an Untapped Environment: Opportunities, Threats and the Role of Government

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