The Minister of Transportation Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi has revealed that he will not disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) despite clamour by some sector of the maritime industry to do so.
This is even as the Association of The Marine Engineer and Surveyors (AMES) has said that there is a need for a holistic review of the Nigerian maritime human capacity development
Amaechi made this declaration at the Maritime Technical Summit organised by the Association of The Marine Engineer and Surveyors (AMES) held at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja Lagos.
Speaking at the Summit titled: The Challenges of the Maritime Industry of Nigeria: The Perspective of AMES, Amaechi said he will not disburse the CVFF to acquire the national carrier but will be driven in partnership with private investors.
He also restated the need for a performance audit of agencies in the sector to ascertain what the challenges are with a view to addressing them with input from experts.
“I am determined to ensure that we get a new carrier and I will not disburse Cabotage fund for that. By next week, I will be meeting with some experts and ship owners and make decision on establishing the national carrier. We will also create a group that will move it forward.
“The performance audit will tell you how to move the industry forward. It makes you know what the problems are and make possible suggestions on how to move forward. Even when the performance audit is over, I will not make those decisions alone, I will try and meet experts in the industry and we will share these views with them,” he said.
Amaechi also spoke on the need to upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron to strengthen its capacity to produce skilled manpower for the sector.
According to him, the institution would have been well equipped and developed by now if the fund invested in establishing the Maritime University, Okerenkoko had been put into it.
He said, “Anybody who has invested in Okerenkoko should have invested the money in MAN Oron. That is why the institution has not developed. We cannot continue to build another institution when we have not equipped existing ones.”
In his address, President of AMES, Charles Uwadia called for a holistic review of the maritime sector human capacity development.
He identified the absence of in-depth technical input in maritime policies and their implementation in line with international best practice as the bane of the maritime sector in Nigeria
He added that the decline in standard, quality and profitability of the ships of Nigerian flag is as a result of their poor technical standards occasioned by the owner’s reluctance to comply with national and international standards and regulations.