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Govt Targets $2.7 Billion Earnings From Marine, Blue Economy Sector

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. Plans New Maritime Policy Framework

. Regional Maritime Development Bank Underway

 

The Federal Government has advanced the process of developing a National Policy on Marine and Blue Economy which is envisaged to deliver the target of over $2.7 billion contributions of the sector to the national economy.

 

Director, Maritime Safety and Security Department, Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Babatunde Hafiz disclosed this at a stakeholders forum in Lagos, said the ministry has commenced the process of developing a National Policy on Marine and Blue Economy which will play a great role in enhancing the performance of the shipping sub-sector and boost trade facilitation as well as economic growth.

Hafiz said the development of the policy will provide a comprehensive framework/blueprint to deliver the expected over $2.7 billion contributions of the marine and blue economic sector to the national economy and tackle revenue leakages, through the envisaged streamlined approach to the management of the sector.

He said the ministry is determined to work towards the disbursement  of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

CVFF is an intervention fund established by the Cabotage Act to assist indigenous shipping operators in acquiring new vessels to enhance indigenous capacity building.

The CVFF is a strategic instrument within the legislative framework to stimulate the expansion of domestic shipping capability.

He said: “To ensure the full implementation of the CVFF, the Ministry has constituted a Committee to develop clear guidelines and mechanisms to facilitate improved access to the Fund by Stakeholders in the Shipping Sub Sector. This initiative is envisaged to ensure that the Fund achieves its goal of providing the required financial support for indigenous shipowners to acquire, construct and repair their vessels,”

“The CVFF will allow the indigenous shipowners to fund the acquisition of more vessels at a single-digit interest rate. Limiting Cabotage trade to Nigeria-owned, crewed and operated ships, will increase the number of ship fleets/tonnage in the country and attract healthy competition with foreign shipping companies in international shipping. The CVFF will also enhance the employment of Nigerians in the maritime sector, increase locally induced Cabotage trade and movement of passengers and cargo by indigenous shippers,” he stated.

Besides, Hafiz said the arrangements to herald the establishment of Regional Maritime Development Bank is at advanced stage.

“The RMDB establishment is ongoing, with Nigeria set to host the headquarters and having the highest share among MOWCA member states.

“The bank’s objectives include funding port infrastructure, vessel acquisition, and human capacity development, among others. The RMDB’s establishment was conceived by the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), which comprises 25 countries.

“The RMDB’s capital base is expected to be $1 billion, with Nigeria having the highest share of 12% among MOWCA member states. The bank will be a private-public sector-driven bank, with 51% shareholding for MOWCA states and 49% for institutional investors.

“The bank’s establishment process is ongoing and an office space has been provided for the bank at the NIMASA, Abuja Office. Its establishment will increase access to funding for the acquisition, construction and repairs of vessels by indigenous shipowners,” he said.

He said the ministry through its Agency (NIMASA) is collaborating with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) to provide accurate sea weather forecasts to aid sea navigation and provide information for seafarers to support safe navigation and efficient operations in Nigerian waters.

“As part of the collaboration, NiMet has invested over N2 billion to enhance its marine meteorological services, including the upgrade and expansion of automatic marine stations, installation of tide gauges and buoy systems, and the establishment of a dedicated Central Marine Forecast Office (CMFO),” he stated.

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