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NIMASA reads riot act to banks over disbursement of CVFF

—- asks them not to scare away ship owners with unnecessary collaterals
—- gives them 72 -hr ultimatum to come up with harmonised procedures for disbursement 
 The Eyewitness reporter
The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) have met with the five Primary lending institutions (PLIs) selected by the federal government to drive the disbursement process of Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds ( CVFF).
The PLIs approved for the fund’s disbursement are Zenith bank, Polaris bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA) Jaiz bank, and Union bank.
Addressing the Heads of the financial institutions at the Corporate Headquarters of the agency Tuesday, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, spelt out the expectations of the government to the PLIs over the long-awaited disbursement of the Cabotage funds.
According to him, the desire of the government was to disburse the funds as quickly as possible but also to avoid the mistakes of the previous intervention funds.
He said the funds are ready and the agency was ready to collaborate with the lending institutions to ensure the success of the project.
Reacting to the request of one of the banks for a 50 percent guarantee by the benefiting ship owners, Dr. Jamoh reminded them that the 50 percent counterpart funding from NIMASA is in dollars which he said would be sent to the banks.
He warned that government would frown at any unnecessary demand for collaterals which may scare the ship owners from accessing the loans.
”We don’t want a situation whereby the banks will be asking for the father and mother of the ship owners and other collaterals that may make the prospective beneficiaries of the funds get scared”
He advised them that in as much as the issue is within the purvey of the banks, he noted that the banks, as a way of securing their investments, could tie the funds to particular shipyards from where the vessels purchased by the money are coming from.
He also asked the banks to look at the area of cabotage contracts secured by the beneficiaries which the bank can use as part of the guarantee.
Jamoh warned that asking for any other guarantee may slow the process of disbursement which government frowns at.
Earlier,  the head of enterprises, Polaris bank, Femi Aribaloye, raised concerns on the risks involved on the part of the banks and the volatility of the shipping industry
“Whatever it is that we needed to do in terms of structure and interest will be carried out, but I think the ultimate or the most important thing here is to ensure that this thing is successful and that’s why we are here and that’s why this particular fund is now being disbursed in collaboration with the bankers.”We are also very much aware of the environment in which we operate, we know things can be a little bit turbulent, and policies and the economic situation might change so, I just want to find out since its also within the purview of the Ministry of Transportation, if there is anything that can be done to further minimize the risk that the PLIs are going to be carrying.

” We look at the chance of the possibility of a partial guarantee because as financial institutions, we would like to ensure that everything is done rightly,” he said.

However, NIMASA DG disclosed that the agency had given the disbursing institutions 72 hours to come up with harmonised position on the modalities for disbursement of the dollar component of the funds which is put at $350 million.

According to him, the banks are expected to come up with issues such as the interest rate, tenor, collateral, and other requirements needed to access the fund.

According to him, the interest rate must be of international best practices because the money to be released to the banks is in foreign currencies and not local currency.He, however, stated further that the disbursement of  CVFF can’t start without stakeholders’ engagement, saying that was why the agency met with PLIs.

“We can’t start disbursement without stakeholders’ engagement, therefore, stakeholders’ engagement starts today(Tuesday)

” We are on track, we have started with the PLIs and all five of them are here today. We have listened to them and they listened to us and from all indications, they are ready for us as well.”

“What we want them to do now is to allow them to come up with a collective decision and that cannot take more than 72 hours.

“As we are leaving this boardroom, they will sit down and decide on a date because we don’t want them to come individually to us with their own interest rate, we want them to have a consensus and a standard template on the disbursement of funds as well as the interest rate.

” This is what we advised them to do and as soon as they finish that, we will then invite the shipowners,” he said.

When asked what the interest rate and the collaterals needed by shipowners to access the loans are, he said the guidelines will disclose that.

“The guidelines will tell us the interest rate and how the interest rate is supposed to be, the tenor, and the collateral because we won’t allow them to come and make the shipowners feel very insecure.”

“I mentioned to them on the issue of collateral, you all have NIMASA money with you, so all these things will be deliberated among themselves, let’s allow them to go through our guidelines seriously and see how they can adjust within themselves because we are giving them international currency, not Nigerian currency, they cannot start looking at Nigeria lending rate but the uniform international best practices so we are still on track because the guidelines stipulated everything, “he said.

Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of Jaiz bank, Dr. Sirajo Salisu, assured indigenous shipowners that the fund would be disbursed to them at the appropriate time.He, however, warned the shipowners that CVFF is not a grant or money that can be received without paying back to the banks.

“We will try our best to partner with the beneficiaries or the proposed beneficiaries of these funds and I believe they are much aware that this is not a grant, this is not  money that they will just take away, this is money that is meant for a purpose and we will ensure that that purpose is achieved to the benefits of the country.”

NIMASA will contribute 50 percent of counterpart funds, the banks (PLIs) will provide 35 percent while the remaining 15 percent will be provided by the benefiting ship owners.
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Tin Can Customs nets N574.3 billion in 2022 —–records N242.365 billion in exports

The Eyewitness reporter
The  Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has realized a sum of N574.3 billion in 2022.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Olakunle Oloyede, disclosed this at a news conference at weekend.

Oloyede said the figure represented an increase of N80.90 billion or 16.39 percent when compared with N493.4 billion recorded in 2021.

“This feat can be attributed to the constant rejigging of the existing measures geared toward sustaining the command’s revenue profile.

“It is as well as utilisation of some disruptive strategic measures such as: periodic capacity building, reshuffling and redeployment of officers using the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis and implementation of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation,” he said.

He noted that the command also ensured robust and continuous stakeholder engagements and collaborations with all sister government agencies and maritime associations.

“These led to timely intelligence sharing, utilisation and voluntary compliance to government’s extant laws by the trading public,” Oloyede said.

He added that the command increased surveillance on declarations made in order to sniff out improper declarations as well as offending items.

He pointed out that the system paid off with the command recording a total of 38 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.85 billion.

“These seizures comprise 763kgs of Colorado (Cannabis Sativa) weighing 345.1kg with a street market value of N714.6 million only as given by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), 5 x 40 containers of used motor tyre (5,060 pieces).

“Also among seized items are 1,150 bales of second-hand clothing, 1,190 cartons of 20 per carton of potassium bromate and baking powder, 11,392 cartons of 1,200 per carton Pharmacol injection chloroquine phosphate 322.5mg.5ml (IV and IM), 206,000 pieces of finished machetes.

“Also, 1,383 cartons of 50 rolls per carton of cigarettes, 650 cartons of 50 pieces per carton of new ladies shoes, 2,666 pieces in 36 pallets of new starter Ex-Premium Inverter Battery, 1,980 cartons of assorted non-alcoholic beverages and 1,048 cartons of Tilda basmati rice,” he said.

Oloyede listed others as 2,594 pieces of ammunition and 20 pieces of arms comprising of one pistol with 611090 (S/W) model JCP 40mm, one used Co2 air pistol with accessories cal 117(4.5m)BM, one marksman repeater pistol, six Mace pepper gun and 10 suspected arms of various types.

He said that the seizures when compared with the 2021 record of 27 seizures with a Debit Note of N607.27 only, show an increase of 11 seizures and N1.24 billion.

He said that the increase in the DPV rate could be associated with increased surveillance and intensified anti-smuggling drive, the high value of seized items and Naira depreciation that led to higher exchange rates on imported items.

“These prohibited items were seized and forfeited to the Federal Government in line with the provision of Sections 46 and 161 of the Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45 LFN 2004 and Absolute Prohibition List of CET 2022- 2026.

“The command pertinently acknowledges the prominent roles played by the Customs Intelligence Unit, Valuation Unit, Federal Operations Unit, CGC Strike Force as well as interventions of Sister Regulatory Agencies like the NDLEA, Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON, the Nigeria Police and others in ensuring these seizures and detentions were made.

“A total of 60 suspects were detained in 2022 and were granted administrative bail while the command has 8 cases pending in court,” he said.

Oloyede said the command recorded a significant increase in the Free On Board (FOB) of exports in the period under review to the tune of $589,696,648 (N242,365,322,333.00) as against the $496,075,796 (N141,985,109,159.00) recorded in 2021.

He attributed the increase of 34.4 percent in the FOB to the high quality and value of exported commodities.

“However, the export report shows a decrease in tonnage of export from 1,723,986.8 in 2021 to 336,179.5 in 2022.

“The decrease in tonnage could be connected to current government fiscal policy which prohibited the export of wood and wood products as well as the global unrest with its concomitant economic challenges,” he said

He listed the commodities exported through the command to include: cocoa beans, insecticides, dried ginger, empty bottles, soya beans, cashew nuts, cigarettes, rubbers, cocoa butter, frozen shrimps, copper ingots, aluminum ingots, sesame seeds and other manufactured items.

“Cocoa beans were the highest exported commodity while the legend stout was the least exported commodity.

“The future of export in the command looks brighter as the command in line with the headquarter circular on Export Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) released a Port Order on the Command’s harmonised SOP for the seamless facilitation of Export Trade in strict compliance with Extant Laws and guidelines on Export,” he said.

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CBN succumbs  to pressure, extends use of old naira notes to February 10

The Eyewitness reporter
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally caved in to Public outcry over the February 1st deadline for the use of old naira notes when on Sunday, the apex bank announced February 10 as the new date.
Announcing the new deadline in a statement, Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the decision to add extra 10 days was “to allow for the collection of more old notes”

Up till Saturday, CBN had insisted on the 31st January deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 despite overwhelming complaints that the notes are either not available or in short supply in the banks or their Automated Teller Machines.

Last October, Emefiele announced the Naira redesign policy which entails the issuance of new notes to replace the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 series.

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”No container will leave Apapa Port without 100 percent physical examination”


declares Auwal Mohammed as he takes over as new Apapa Customs Area controller

—promises to surpass N1 trillion revenue mark

—vows not to facilitate non-compliant traders


The Eyewitness reporter

Despite the deployment of cargo scanning machines, the new area comptroller of the Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, has vowed that no container shall leave the Apapa port without a 100 percent physical examination.

Comptroller Mohammed, who formally took over the mantle of leadership of the command Friday, 27th, January 2023, from Ag. Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs(ACG) Malanta Ibrahim Yusuf, said that the decision to subject all cargo to physical examination was meant to account for every content of container passing through the command and to maximize revenue returns to the Federal Government.

He, therefore, warned non-compliant traders to steer clear of the command as he would not facilitate their trade as he desired to surpass the one trillion revenue mark achieved by the command under the former area controller Yusuf.

”We shall continue to conduct 100 percent physical examination of cargo so that we can account for all the cargo in the containers and to generate more revenue so that we can surpass the one trillion revenue collection that the command has already achieved. No package, no container should leave Apapa port without a proper 100 percent physical examination.” the new Comptroller told his officers who had gathered to welcome him.

He continued ”Today marks another era in the history of the Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service. I am inheriting a well-structured area command. The level of achievements and status achieved under my predecessor will be sustained while I will look for all means to surpass them.

I am ready for the job. I am aware of the big shoe I am stepping into but I am well prepared for it”, Comptroller Mohammad said.

He, therefore, asked the officers to be at their utmost best to cooperate and work with him to sustain and surpass the legacies of his predecessor.

He also solicited the support and cooperation of stakeholders whom he promised to engage with and updated frequently on all issues and policies that will enhance their trade and performance of the command.

The new helmsman also charged all the releasing officers and the image analysts who will be conducting the scanning of cargo to be diligent and exhibit the utmost sense of responsibility and professionalism in their duty so as not to release uncustomed goods.

Mohammed, who was redeployed from Onne Port Area Command when he was the area controller, also enjoined the importers and their agents to be compliant with the cargo clearance procedural processes in order to enjoy a seamless cargo release.

”The goods clearance procedure is simple. Everything starts and ends with declaration and if there is a proper and correct declaration of cargo, there won’t be any need for delay and unnecessary interference with the process”, he admonished.

Earlier, the outgoing Area Controller, Ag. Yusuf, while handling over the operations and procedures of the command to his successor, solicited the support and cooperation of all the officers and other stakeholders for the new helmsman, urging them to avail the new comptroller of the same level of support, guidance, and cooperation and advice they gave him.

He also lauded the untiring efforts of his officers whom he said were instrumental in the monumental achievements recorded by the command under his watch.

Consequently, some officers who excelled in the discharge of their duties were commended and awarded certificates of merit, including the indefatigable Public Relations officer of the Command, CSC Abubakar Usman.



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