Wednesday, January 20, 2016 8:04 am
A foreign investor in the shipping sector got N32 billion for vessels, which he never delivered, Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi has revealed.
According to him the unnamed investor fled after collecting the cash during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The money was paid from the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), which indigenous ship owners last month urged Amaechi and Acting Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General Haruna Baba Jauro to speak on.
The CVFF was created by the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003 to promote ship acquisition by supporting ship owners.
Section 42, Part VIII of Section 44 of the Act empowers NIMASA to collect and administer the fund, under guidelines by the Minister of Transport, after approval by the National Assembly.
The fund was established to boost local content in the shipping industry.
Amaechi, who spoke yesterday in Abuja when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, did not name the investor.
Amaechi said about N300 billion was released to encourage investors in the maritime sector by the last administration but the money went down the drain.
“In fact, there is a particular man who collected N32billion and left the country. I don’t think that the Federal Government needed to release N52 billion to investors in the maritime industry.
“What we are considering is to facilitate a partnership arrangement between the operators and foreign investors in which case we can support Nigerians who had shown serious interest in the business with about 40 percent of the investment while their foreign partners bring 60 percent. That will assure us that we would recoup our investment.
“One of those who collected the aviation bailout who has done nothing with the money is walking freely on the streets of Nigeria; his airline is dead and he did not even deem it fit to inform the ministry.
“I am protecting the maritime funds and we could only disburse it after we have seen the President, the foreign investors who will partner with the Nigerian investors that meet our guidelines. We have the N52 billion in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of NIMASA.”
*Culled from The Nation