•Says No Going Back On CVFF Disbursement
••Charges The New NCS President With Collaboration
By Silas Onuoha
The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo had said that the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping secures for its members, maximum participation in Nigeria’s domestic and international trade.
Sambo disclosed this at the investiture ceremony and inauguration of the 7th President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping at Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
“I am delighted to welcome you all to the Investiture ceremony and the inauguration of the 7th President of the prestigious Nigerian Chamber of Shipping.
“It excites me, that this organization which has been led by great Nigerians over the years has grown to become an umbrella body for all stakeholders in the Maritime/Shipping industry in Nigeria and secures for its members, maximum participation in Nigeria’s domestic and international trade.
“The unique position attained by this Chamber in the Nigerian Maritime Industry as a bridge between stakeholders and policymakers has become the first African member organization to be admitted into the board of the International Chamber of Shipping, which has brought this organization closer to the international maritime community, is worthy of commendation,” he said.
Sambo revealed that a few months ago, upon assuming office as the Minister of Transportation, he decided to go after the proverbial low-hanging fruits that will positively impact the Maritime landscape in a short time.
“My team and I took a thorough assessment of projects in all parastatals under the Ministry and we made a list of deliverables within the time frame we have, and we put in the will and resources to achieve them.
“It may interest you to know that, without knowing the proponents behind the Badagry Seaport, reading through the memorandum and being convinced that it will further boost shipping activities in Nigeria, we presented it to the Federal Executive Council at our maiden appearance and got immediate approval.
“We fast-tracked the realization of bringing shipping closer to the hinterlands of Nigeria through the established policy of Inland Dry Ports (IDPs).
“To this end, the inland dry ports of Dala in Kano, Kano state and Funtua in Katsina state were declared as ports of origin and final destination, following the completion of all necessary infrastructure at the two locations,” he said.
The Minister said that within a short time, the Lekki Deep Sea Port was commissioned by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
“Just two days ago, the Federal Government approved the Development of the Ilaje Deep seaport in Ondo State, Snake Island in Lagos and the Burutu Port in Delta State. These ports are to be executed through Public -Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements and will enhance the activities of this chamber in the long run.
Recall that the House of Representatives had asked the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to stop its plan to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund.
The members resolved to direct the Committee on Local Content to “immediately commence investigations of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund to determine all monies that have accrued to the Fund since its establishment in the year 2003 and report to the House within 14 days.”
Reacting to this, Sambo admitted that the position of the House is in line with the standard practice of inquiry and due diligence.
He said, “Subsequently, against all odds, we got the presidential approval to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund. All machinery was in motion to disburse it in the first week of April, through the selected financial institutions in line with the Cabotage Act and approved Regulations but the disbursement of the fund is delayed presently by an inquiry from the House of Representatives.”
“My team has been meeting with the members of the House to harmonise perspectives which will lead to the disbursement of the funds in the coming days. No going back.”
Sambo said the ministry has gotten approval for a cargo tracking scheme for all imports and exports across all borders, land and Sea.
“The Electronic Cargo tracking note which is an official marine waiver certificate document required by several African countries to effectively control and manage import/export traffic has come to stay.”
The Minister said the scheme will block revenue leakages and provide transparency in cargo invoicing.
Sambo said the implementation of this scheme will abet the problem of under-declaration, concealment, and wrong classification of cargo.
According to him, “The unique position attained by this chamber in the Nigerian Maritime industry as a bridge between stakeholders and policymakers has become the first African member organisation to be admitted into the board of the International Chamber of Shipping, which has brought this organisation closer to the international maritime community, is worthy of commendation.”
While Charging the Incoming President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping he said,
“At this juncture, it is apt to recall the popular saying, “Teamwork makes the dream work”. Alone we can do so little, together we can do much.
“The Success of the team inaugurated today will be achieved through collaboration, among many other factors. Change the narrative, build on the achievements of your predecessors and make the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping an enviable organization.
“I must say the humility, unassuming mien and endearing disposition displayed constantly by my brother, Alhaji Aminu Umar is worthy of commendation, and I know this organization will prosper under your watch. I know with the impeccable team you have, you will make an indelible mark.
“In conclusion, I want to pledge to the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping that it will always have my support and by extension the support of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
“Though I have a few days left as the Minister of Transportation, I will always give my support in and out of government. I believe that history will be kind to us: that we came, we saw and gave our best, against all odds but with the kind and effective support of Mr President at all times.
“May God bless the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.