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Saraki affirms promise on disbursement of $350m CVFF to indigenous shipowners

The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has described as disheartening, the non-disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), almost 20 years after passage of the law in 2003.

On that note, Sen. Saraki gave a promise to ensure that her Ministry would work with the National Assembly to disburse the fund with value said to be $350million, to support indigenous shipping development.

She made the promise on Friday in Lagos, at a parley with the maritime media, where she also proposed modalities to ensure improved relationship with the media.

CVFF replaced the Ship Acquisition and Ship Building Fund (SASBF) which was suspended following default in the repayment of loans by some indigenous shipowners, who were beneficiaries.

Giving assurances that the Ministry has the political will to disburse the fund, the Minister also made clear that contrary to speculations of misappropriation, the fund is intact and that guidelines for the disbursement have been developed for presentation to the National Assembly for final approval.

She said: “It is really very disheartening that the fund has not been disbursed, but we will work with the National Assembly to ensure its disbursement; just watch, it has to be disbursed, especially with the coming on stream of the African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA.

“In the course of this visit, I have also interacted with so many stakeholders including the indigenous ship owners. I know the number of vessels that Nigerians had 10 years ago and I know how many they have now.

“It is really a shame that this fund has not been disbursed, I learnt the value is $350million now and I am not sure any part of it is missing. We will work with the National Assembly to pass the guidelines. It is not really about the Federal Ministry of Finance but I think it is more of the political will to disburse it and I think we have the political will to do so.”

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