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Indigenous Shipowners Scamper For $100m Cabotage Fund

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Following the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) guidelines prepared by the federal government and approved by the National Assembly, about 92 applicants have indicated interest to access the much awaited $100 million fund.

Impeccable source told The Tide that the 92 applicants who are mainly indigenous shipowners that have the statutory right to access the funds under the CVFF guidelines have already filed their applications through the four Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) selected by the management of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The PLIs which are commercial banks expected to guarantee successful disbursement and utilisation of funds, comprise Skye Bank Plc, Equatorial Trust Bank Plc (ETB), Diamond Bank Plc, and Fidelity Bank Plc.

A breakdown of the figures showed that not fewer than 23 applicants applied to access the CVFF through Diamond Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc and Equatorial Bank Plc, while 22 applied through Fidelity Bank.

It was gathered that while total request by applicants amount to a whopping &1 billion, the four PLIs have only about $100 million to give out as loan.

Though most of the applicants are ship owners who are also members of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), some of the applicants are “portfolio earning ship owners” fronting for top politicians in the corridors of power who also want a piece of the cake.

It was further gathered that the $100 million would be pooled together by the management of NIMASA, commercial banks and the benefiting shipping companies, in the ratio of 50 per cent, 35 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

The Tide source said that the Director General of NIMASA, Temisanre Raymond Omatseye, who confirmed the development, stated that the level of funding that is available to indigenous ship-owners is a hindrance to fleet expansion and capacity development. Omatseye noted that paucity of funds has made shipping business a difficult venture in the country. He explained that the management of the agency has concluded plans to encourage access to offshore facilities.

His words “we have accessed $200 million and it is available to Nigerian shipowners right now. However, you know that as a government agency, we cannot go ahead and support this kind of thing without the approval  the relevant authorities we are in the process of securing the approval” He said that the agency is guaranteeing, saying that it was only a pool of fund, which will be added to the maritime infrastructural fund.

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Maritime

NPA Frowns Against Extortion Of Truck Drivers

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has threatened to sanction any staff that indulges in extortion of money from truck drivers at Apapa Port. 
The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Koko expressed optimism that the agency’s collaboration with the state government would bring an end to the perennial gridlock within and around the Apapa area.
The NPA boss emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, which are the two busiest ports in the country. 
He said NPA had been inundated with complaints of extortion from truckers, especially by security operatives, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
 He described the practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
“One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA security staff.
“This is one of the areas we require the intervention of government, because we have police officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this. We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this.
“We have moved some of them out of port locations, and we will do further reviews. Whoever is found involved would be appropriately sanctioned”, he said. 
The NPA boss acknowledged that the Lagos State Government had been a close partner in terms of enforcement, but asked for more intervention to end the menace. 
“NPA has reached out to the Federal Ministry of Works, we have been speaking with the Director of Works in the State, and we have asked that they should provide some palliatives around Sunrise Bus-stop.
“We were made to understand that the contract for that section of the road has just been awarded, but because of the rains, work has been delayed”, he added.

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Maritime

MWUN Tasks NIMASA, NIWA On Boat Drivers’ Training

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The Maritime and Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to train and retrain boat drivers in the country to reduce incessant accidents on our waterways.
MWUN said training and retraining of boat drivers would enhance their capability and efficiency in the industry and save lives.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Jonah Jumbo disclosed this during a telephone interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jumbo also advised NIMASA and NIWA to sanction any boat driver involved in over-speeding, overloading and reckless driving to reduce boat mishaps.
The chairman who regretted that most boat drivers lacked the skills and technical know-how to navigate the waters, said their human errors often caused accidents.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that regular training for boat drivers would enrich their skills and enable them to read the tide while on transit.
He frowned at the increasing rate of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways and urged all stakeholders to check the trend. 
The MWUN boss called on the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to arrest and prosecute any driver indulging in alcohol and overloading of passengers while on transit, adding that the act caused over seventy percent of water accident.
He appealed to drivers to desist from acts capable of causing accident, noting that many families have lost their loved ones through reckless driving and unholy acts caused by human errors on the waterways.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Sokoto To Boost Water Transport With Motorised Boats

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The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, says his administration will boost water transportation with motorised boats.
He also said his government would make life jackets available to all travellers and other water users to reduce boat mishap.
The governor stated this while commiserating with the people of Shagari Local Government Area that recently lost their loved ones in a boat mishap in the state. 
He regretted that the state had lost many lives to boat accidents and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear their loss.
Also speaking, Chairman, Shagari Local Government Council, Aliyu Dantine Shagari, said eight of the victims were married women while five were children and elderly men.
He attributed the cause of the boat mishap to overloading.
“But there are other causes of boat mishap including strong wind. We are still investigating the matter to know what actually led to the accident”, he said. 
The chairman advised boat drivers to desist from overloading and over speeding, noting that the community lost over six people in a similar accident last year.

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