The Federal Government has appointed five commercial banks for the disbursement of the N278.5 billion Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund ( CVFF), 17 years after it commenced collection of the funds.

The banks are Union Bank, Zenith Bank, Polaris Bank, United Bank for Africa, UBA, and Jaiz Bank. They will serve as Primary Lending Institutions (PLI) for the disbursement of the funds.

Disclosing this at the flag-off ceremony of Batch B of the 3rd phase of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), Minister of Transportation, Mauzu Sambo, said President Mohammadu Buhari had directed that the fund be disbursed immediately.

It would be recalled that deductions from all contracts within the Cabotage area by Nigerian shipowners started 17 years ago with stakeholders calling for the disbursement to aid the nation’s shipping capacity.

The minister has directed the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to start the process leading to the disbursement immediately.

The breakdown of the amount shows that the naira component amounts to N16 billion while the foreign currency is about $350 million.

“The approval was forwarded to my office late Friday (December 9, 2022) but I thought it wise to use this opportunity for this ceremony where some of the primary beneficiaries are in attendance.

“On Monday the DG NIMASA is going to get a formal communication from me conveying the approval from Mr. President and I expect him to take immediate steps, when I say immediate I mean immediate.

“There is no question of one or two weeks, once he receives the communication, he knows what to do next.

“We have pledged to the president that they will continue to allow the funds to go into the Treasury Single Account ( TSA); however, whenever the money hits the threshold of $50million, the CBN upon recommendation from NIMASA and the Federal Ministry of Transportation, would be expected to transfer the funds to the Primary Lending Institutions”, Sambo stated.

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