Funding and forex crises tie up local ships
The estimated around 500 ships that are owned and operated by Nigerians are grounded as owners cannot access funds for fleet maintenance and repairs, Daily Trust has learned.
The freefall of the naira and the inability of traders to access forex for the purchase of coins are also responsible for this development.
In addition, most Aboriginal shipowners in the coasting trade have been unable to send their vessels for periodic maintenance at the depot over the past 10 years, which explains some shipwrecks.
Morlap Group Chief Executive and Founding Father of the Nigeria Ship Owners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo, who spoke exclusively to Daily Trust, said more than 500 Nigerian-owned ships are now nailed down to the ground due to increased maintenance and accessibility costs. at forex.
He explained that a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NINASA) established the Ship Repair and Maintenance Fund to help indigenous shipowners carry out efficient repairs and maintenance of their fleet.
He said, however, the fund was likely being used for other pressing needs in the maritime sector.
“The resulting effect is the death of over 500 Nigerian-owned ships and the number continues to count. This brought us to where the foreigners took over the cabotage business.
“Allowing foreigners to participate in cabotage activity has finally nailed the efforts of Nigerians in this direction.
“Similarly, the federal government’s refusal to disburse the Coasting Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) has also helped to drive the nail in the coffin of aboriginal participation in coastal trade,” he added.
The CVFF, an intervention fund established for the development of indigenous shipping capacity in Nigeria, has grown to $350 million over its 19 years of existence.
Recall that indigenous shipowners denounced last year the continued awarding of contracts to foreign shipowners for the cabotage of petroleum products in flagrant violation of the law on cabotage and local content.
A year later, local shippers said foreign operators had continued the practice without interruption.
Daily Trust has made efforts to reach NIMASA’s head of corporate communications, Edward Osagie, to clarify the scarcity of funds. He did not respond to calls on his phone and text messages. Neither calls nor text messages to the direct general, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, were answered.
However, a senior NIMASA officer said the Coasting Trade Act clearly spells out the purpose of the fund, which he said is for the purchase of new vessels and not for the maintenance of vessels.