The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), on Tuesday, issued 72 hours ultimatum to Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs), to release modalities for the disbursement of $350m Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF).
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, the Director General NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, stated that the modalities to be released include, the interest rate, tenure, collateral and requirements needed to access the fund.
According to him, the interest rate must be of international best practices because the money to be given to them are in foreign currencies.
He stated further that the disbursement of CVFF can’t start without stakeholders engagement, saying that was why the agency met with 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 the 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 allow them 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 date, because we don’t want them to come individually with their own interest rate, so we want them to have a consensus and a standard template on the disbursement of funds as well as the interest rate.”
“So this is what we advised them to do 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 tell us what is the interest rate and how the interest rate supposed to be, what are the tenure, and what is the collateral, because we can’t allow them to come and make the shipowners feel very insecure.
“I mentioned to them on the issue of collateral, you have NIMASA money with you, so all these things will be deliberated among themselves. So let’s allow them to go through our guidelines seriously and see how they can adjust within themselves.
“On the issue of interest rate, we are given them international currency not Nigerian currency, so they cannot start looking at Nigeria lending rate so we should look at the uniform international best practices so we are still on track because the guidelines stipulated everything”he said.
Speaking at the event the Managing Director Jaiz bank, Dr. Sirajo Salisu thanked NIMASA for having confidence in the banks, he said the banks will do everything possible to ensure that the funds is disbursed to the beneficiaries of the funds.
“It’s really an opportunity because, out of the banks operating in Nigeria now, you count a very few of us worthy and it’s something we really appreciate. We will try our very best to put something on the table.
“So having the commitment, we will try our best to partner with the beneficiaries or the proposed beneficiaries of these funds.
“I want to believe they are much aware that this is not a grant, this is not a 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 benefits of the country.
Also speaking the Director and Head of Enterprises, Polaris bank; Femi Aribaloye, also stated that whatever that will be needed by the banks to ensure the disbursement will be carried out, he however raised concerns regarding 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 funds 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 situation, things might change so I just want to find out, since it’s also within the purview of the ministry of transport, is there anything that can be done to further minimize the risk that the PLIs are going to be carrying, when you look at the chance of possibility of a partial guarantee because as financial institutions, we would like to ensure that everything is tight”, he said.
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