NIMASA wants CBN to create interest rate for maritime assets
.Dakuku solicits stakeholders support to grow industry
.Says Eastern Ports key to economic growth
By Udeme Clement
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside has said that the Agency is engaging the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to create a special interest rate for maritime assets acquisition in Nigeria, as NIMASA is committed to opening new frontiers for potential investors in the sector.
Dakuku made this known at the Maritime Stakeholders Interactive forum in Calabar, Cross Rivers State.
According to him, “Other industries such as textile and manufacturing are
already enjoying similar arrangement with the CBN. It would be beneficial for maritime to also enjoy the same opportunity, in order to grow the economy”.
He added, “We are committed to providing opportunities for investors through Public, Private Partnership, PPP. This applies especially to investments in maritime infrastructure, shipping and ancillary services, offshore services, ship building repairs as well as marine/bunkering services. In this regard, we are engaging the Apex Bank to create a special interest rate for maritime infrastructure development and maritime assets acquisition in the country. This is aside from looking at the early disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds”.
The NIMASA DG pointed out, “There are enormous potentials yet untapped in the country’s maritime sector. The Ports located in the Eastern flank of the country comprising of Calabar, Port-Harcourt and Onne hold the key to Nigeria’s economic development. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the Ports function optimally”.
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 seven functional seaports in Nigeria, three are domiciled in the Eastern zone, which harbors over 70 percent of the 275 terminals in the country. Unfortunately, in terms of cargo reception, there is no corresponding relationship between the facilities available and cargoes coming in, as the Eastern zone accounted for less than 20 percent of vessels that visited Nigerian ports in 2016 and 2017.
“The available data shows that there is need for serious collaboration with stakeholders in the sector, in order to ensure that the environment is made conducive for continuous growth that is premised on sustainable development, devoid of threats such as piracy and other maritime crimes”.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Governing Board of NIMASA, Major General Jonathan India Garba said that the Eastern zonal has a lot to offer Nigerian economy in terms of shipping. He called on all stakeholders to support the Agency, as it strives to create an enabling environment for maritime activities to thrive in Nigeria.
The Managing Director, Starz Marine, Engineer Greg Ogbeifun who also spoke at the forum commended Peterside and his management team on the awareness the Agency is creating for more investors to come to Nigeria.
In the same vein, the former Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Captain Adamu Biu said that government is not totally responsible for the previous stagnation of the maritime sector. He stressed that it is time for stakeholders to support NIMASA in bringing the much needed development to the sector.
The Secretary General of Abuja MoU, Barrister Mfon Usoro who was the lead speaker delivered a paper with the title, ‘Harnessing Maritime Potentials in an Untapped Environment: Opportunities, Threats and the Role of Government’.