By Seun Ibiyemi
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Tuesday issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the five Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) handling the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF) to release modalities for the disbursement of the fund.
Recall that the PLIs that were approved for the disbursement of the fund are Zenith, Polaris, United Bank of Africa (UBA) Jaiz and Union bank.
Briefing journalists after the meeting at NIMASA headquarters in Lagos, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh stated that the modalities to be released by the five banks include the interest rate, tenure, collateral and requirements needed to access the fund.
According to Dr Jamoh, the interest rate must be of international best practices because the money to be released to the banks are in foreign currencies and not local currency.
He, however, stated further that the disbursement of CVFF can’t start without stakeholders’ engagement, saying that was why the agency met with the PLIs.
He said,“We can’t start disbursement without stakeholders’ engagement, therefore, stakeholders’ engagement starts today. We are on track. We have started with the PLIs and all five of them are here today. We have listened to them and they listened to us and from all indications, they are ready for us as well.
“What we want them to do now is to come up with collective decision and that cannot take more than 72 hours. As we are leaving this boardroom, they will sit down and decide on the interest rate to be used because we don’t want them to come individually to us with different interest rates, we want them to have a consensus and a standard template on the disbursement of funds as well as the interest rate. This is what we advised them to do and as soon as they finish that, we will then invite the shipowners,” he said.
When asked what will be the interest rate and the collaterals needed by shipowners to access the loans, he said the guidelines will disclose that.
“The guidelines will tell us the interest rate and how it is supposed to be as regards the tenure, collateral; because we won’t allow them to come and make the shipowners feel very insecure.
“I mentioned to them about the issue of collateral. They all have NIMASA money with them, so all these things will be deliberated among themselves. Let’s allow them to go through our guidelines seriously and see how they can adjust within themselves because we are giving them international currency not Nigerian currency. They cannot start looking at Nigeria lending rate but the uniform international best practices. So we are still on track because the guidelines stipulated everything,” the NIMASA DG added.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director Jaiz bank, Dr Sirajo Salisu, assured indigenous shipowners that the fund would be disbursed to them at the appropriate time.
He, however, informed the shipowners that CVFF is not a grant or money that can be received without paying back to the banks.
“We will try our best to partner with the beneficiaries or the proposed beneficiaries of these funds and I believe they are much aware that this is not a grant. This is not money that they will just take away. This is money that is meant for a purpose and we will ensure that that purpose is achieved to the benefit of the country,” Dr Salisu stated.
Also speaking, the Director, Head of Enterprises, Polaris bank, Femi Aribaloye stated that whatever will be needed by the banks to ensure the disbursement will be carried out. He however raised concerns on the risks involved on the part of the banks.
“Whatever it is that we needed to do in terms of structure and interest will be carried out, but I think the ultimate or the most important thing here is to ensure that this thing is successful and that’s why we are here and that’s why this particular fund is now being disbursed in collaboration with the bankers.
“We are also very much aware of the environment which we operate in. We know things can be a little bit turbulent. Policies, economic situations might change, so I just want to find out since it’s also within the purview of the Ministry of Transportation, if there is anything that can be done to further minimize the risk that the PLIs are going to be carrying.
“We look at the chance of possibility of a partial guarantee because as financial institutions, we would like to ensure that everything is done rightly,” he said.
NIMASA, MWUN dialogue on fate of disengaged NNSL seafarers
By Seun Ibiyemi
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN have begun discussions on how to resolve the lingering issue of terminal benefits of Seafarers whose appointments were terminated due to the liquidation of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir JamohOFR, and the Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress who is also the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, jointly announced an agreement for physical verification of the affected seafarers/next of kin as the case may apply; the nature of appointment of all affected seafarers, and the exact amount due each beneficiary.
The NIMASA DG also assured the Union that their position will be communicated to the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, to ensure the Government takes all necessary actions to bring to a conclusion the issue of NNSL.
“The issue of industrial harmony in the maritime sector is of uttermost interest to our administration at NIMASA. We have been at this for a while. NIMASA had offered N100 million as settlement, which the Union declined.
“We have also discovered that some of those demanding settlement did not even have any employment letter. We will follow the lead from our supervising Ministry and ensure the physical verification exercise is brought to a logical conclusion. Our Honourable Minister will be duly updated by the Agency. I look forward to closing this issue in months to come,” the DG said.
On his part, the President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adeyanju restated the commitment of the Union to peaceful resolution of disputes; to ensure the rights and privileges of workers are well protected, without disrupting productivity in the Maritime Sector. He commended the Jamoh led Management at NIMASA,urging others to follow suit.
“I would like to commend NIMASA under Dr Jamoh, for the unflinching commitment to industrial harmony. He is always a phone call away to resolve any issue. Yes, NIMASA offered N100 million to offset the terminal benefits.
“However, if others like Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council and the rest also add funds, there will be enough to go round the expected beneficiaries. As we did for dockworkers when a flat rate of two hundred thousand was paid during port concession; that is what we want, putting into consideration the realities on ground now.”
COP28: Airtel Africa calls for enabling policy environment, collaboration for climate action in Africa
The Group CEO of Airtel Africa plc, Segun Ogunsanya, has reiterated the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector at COP28.
Mr. Ogunsanya, a member of the United Nations Global Compact’s African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC), addressed a distinguished audience at a COP28 side event co-hosted by Airtel Africa and the ABLC.
Guests included the President of Botswana, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi; the Finance Minister of Nigeria, Mr. Wale Edun; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nigeria, Mr. Nyesom Wike; Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC); Chairman of BUA Group Nigeria limited, Abdul Samad Rabiu and several business leaders from across Africa.
The Group CEO of Airtel Africa urged African business leaders and governments to join forces to advance sustainable growth, development, and prosperity across the continent.
He said, “We stress the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector. Livelihood and living must go together.”
He also shared details of Airtel Africa’s environmental stewardship initiatives. These include ‘Project Green,’ launched in 2022, and focused on circular economy practices, especially in the responsible replacement of end-of-life equipment to minimise potential adverse environmental impacts.
Furthermore, in March 2023, Airtel Africa joined the multi-stakeholder partnership to eliminate open waste burning from Africa. This collaborative effort with local authorities, private companies, community groups, civil society and development partners targets a 60 percent reduction by 2030 and complete elimination of open waste burning by 2040.
Mr. Ogunsanya declared, “Airtel Africa’s corporate purpose, our driving force, is to ‘transform lives.’ This is not simply a slogan but a genuine passion that informs every aspect of our operations and every decision we take.”
He concluded, “It is our firm belief that African businesses, including Airtel Africa, stand ready to leverage global markets to accelerate the transition to a future-fit economy. We must deliver economic development, inclusive growth and GHG emissions reduction at the same time to enjoy the fruits of sustainability.”
The United Nations African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) is a collaborative initiative comprising African business CEOs committed to fostering sustainable growth, prosperity, and development throughout the African continent.
Members in the coalition, including Airtel Africa, committed to escalating the adoption of renewable energy, investing in climate-adaptation solutions, and ensuring an equitable transition. During COP28, the ABLC released a policy recommendation urging governments to establish conducive regulatory frameworks that facilitate collective climate action.
The recommendation further advocates for the setting of decarbonization targets and the acceleration of initiatives such as green minerals and climate adaptation programs and calls for increased access to climate financing to support these endeavors.
Non-Interest Financing critical to funding amidst high debt service levels — Wale Edun
By Matthew Denis
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun has stated that the country needs Non-Interest Financing as a critical sector towards funding as the country is faced with high levels of debt servicing.
The Minister’s disclosure at the SEC Nigeria-Islamic Financial Service Board (IFSB) International Forum held in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said, “Non-interest financing is a critical part of funding and that is because as we all know, we are faced with three crises right now which are the climate, and biodiversity but there is also a debt crisis in major countries and of course, the available solution is non-debt, equity and financing mechanisms that will eliminate the pains of paying interest on loans. Rather, it is better to have a participatory opportunity that equity and non-interest finance gives.
“And so what we are saying here is a critical piece of the solution to the crises of the world currently, including the fact that for the rapid and inclusive growth this administration desires, we need to have green projects so we don’t only need to have projects funded by equity.
“As we all know, our debt service levels and revenue to debt service ratio are so high and currently constrained.”
The Minister stressed that there is fiscal exhaustion in many parts of the world and there is also a need to finance green projects.
“So the only way to grow our economy is not just relying on foreign direct investments, and domestic investments but tap into the world of non-interest financing.”
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