Ship owners have again called for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) currently domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Speaking on Wednesday shortly after being re-elected for second term in office, Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung, the President of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) decried the long wait of ship owners for the disbursement of the fund, stating that the CVFF belongs to ship owners and not the government.
He said the CVFF is the contribution of ship owners in the last 18 years, even as he promised that his second term mandate will be to ensure that the CVFF is deployed through engagement with various government agencies.
Onyung stressed that if the CVFF is disbursed, it will be used in the acquisition of ships for the maritime sector.
He however noted that beyond the disbursement of the CVFF, indigenous ship owners must be given opportunity to carry crude stating that disbursement of the CVFF without guarantee of the indigenous ship owners having contracts from NNPC is tantamount to waste.
He said: “I want to say that the CVFF fund is our money; we contributed for over 18 years, this money needs to be deployed, we have heard many stories about the CVFF, but I assure you this executive will bring you good news about the CVFF in the sense that we are going to engage the government about the CVFF, and we are going to use the CVFF to buy ships and deploy it in the maritime sector, we need to have the opportunities also because if the NNPC does not create the opportunity that awards a contract for us to utilize the CVFF fund, then there is no use giving the money to people who have no business to do with the money and I want to say that ship owners have been buying ships before the CVFF, it is only because they have the contract so we are going to liaise with NCDMB, NNPC, Customs, NIMASA to make sure we achieve that”.
He also informed that his second term mandate will allow him and his executives to chat the way forward in the maritime industry.
” I will leave up to my responsibility and I will not let you down, as a matter of fact we have work to do, a lot of work. I have a laundry list of activities, so we have to hit the ground running, because if you look at every aspect of the maritime industry in the past they have been using plaster to cover a deepening wound and that’s not helping situation at all, and so in 2019 we took the bull by the horns and held the first Lagos International Shipping Expo, that expo was an eye opener because we told the story of an expo in the language of practitioners.
We are going to engage this new executive to see what is the best way forward, there are so many things that are crying for help, and attention especially shipping development”.
Mkgeorge Onyung was re-elected unopposed with a total of 15 votes. Other members of his executives include: Eno Williams 1st Vice President, Sunny Eja, Second Vice President ,Babalola Adefarati, Iroghama Ogbeifun, Luis Ekere among others.