29th April, 2011
A Master Mariner, Captain Obinali Ejemba, has called for the commercialisation of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
Ejemba stated last week that the fund should be left in the custody of the banks who should determine the modalities for its disbursement.
He added that the interference of government in the CVFF disbursement will undermine the purpose for which the fund was meant.
Ejemba, an executive director of a maritime consultancy firm, Rangk Limited, noted that CVFF will end up in the hands of the wrong persons just as the Ship Building and Acquisition Fund (SBAF), if government interferes in its disbursement.
According to him, â€œthere have been various attempts by government here and there but somehow, we have missed out. We have had fund which just died a natural death that cannot be explained. It has never been formally stopped as far as I know, if I am not wrong. Now, they have the CVFF which is yet to start. I canâ€™t begin to start telling you what should be done and what should not be done because I donâ€™t have all the facts about the programme. All I can say is that they havenâ€™t started and there is no indication that it is going to start soon.
â€œThey should leave the banks alone not just to administer this fund but to interact directly with those who are in need of it because I can see that there is still a little bit interest of government in the programme here and there and that means government will decide what would happen, so I donâ€™t believe it will be such a great success.
â€œTo me, CVFF should be completely commercialised and left to the banks to decide who they deal with and how.â€
He lamented that the demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) years ago, was a big loss to the country, doubting whether the private sector can still build the same capacity which NNSL built with the CVFF.