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Cabotage Act: Nigeria Obtains $300m Loan from Malaysia

Posted by From Chuks Okocha in Port Harcourt on 2005/06/19 | Views: 1259 |

Cabotage Act: Nigeria Obtains $300m Loan from Malaysia


The Federal Government has obtained a $300 million loan from the Malaysian government for the commencement of Cabotage operations in Nigeria.

The Federal Government has obtained a $300 million loan from the Malaysian government for the commencement of Cabotage operations in Nigeria.

This is coming as over four hundred companies and vessels are seeking registration for the commencement of operations of the cabotage shipping policy.

This was disclosed to newsmen in Port Harcourt over the weekend by the Director of Cabotage of the National Maritime Authority (NMA), Stephen Ezekwem on the progress of the cabotage regime in Nigeria.

The Cabotage Act was signed into law by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003. The act which began operations in May 2004 is intended to promote the development of Nigeria tonnage while restricting the use of foreign vessels into the domestic trade and inland waterways.

According to the NMA Director of Cabotage, the Nigerian government through NMA sourced a loan of $300 Million from the Malaysian government to support interested local participants in the cabotage regime, explaining that the money would be disbursed under the National Vessel Financing Fund.

The disbursement of the $300 million loan from Malaysia, it was gathered, was aimed at helping indigenous companies and vessels to meet with the challenges of the regime.

He explained that with the operations of the regime, only registered Nigerian companies would be allowed to carry crude oil from inland waterways to the coast, stating that the aim was to help the haulage system among the indigenous shipping companies.

Ezekwem explained that before the loan from Malaysia, that Nigeria has problems of tonnage in terms of ownership, maintenance and building of vessels, stressing that the act had to provide for waivers where Nigerians are not capable, then the foreign vessels can be allowed to operate.

On the management of the $300 Million, the Director said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the operation of the fund was recently signed by the Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo and the Director General of NMA, Festus Ugwu and the representatives of the Malaysian government.

The NMA Cabotage Director stated that the seeming silence since the May 2004 commencement was due to the mobilisation of necessary logistics to enhance the operation of Cabotage Enforcement Unit whose headquarter is in Port Harcourt and the sensitisation and awareness campaign which was held in Lagos recently.

Ezekwem said that for the effective operations of the Cabotage regime in Nigeria, all companies and vessels interested must be registered by NMA, ,adding that “registration for participation in the coastal trade is compulsory, for both Nigerians/Foreign companies and vessels alike”

He explained that this has become necessary to erase the insinuations that “because, we are Nigerians, we are not expected to register.”

In this regard, he said that over 400 companies and vessels have indicated interest to register.

On the Legality of the Enforcement Unit, the Director stated that section 30 of the Cabotage Act empowers the Minister of Transport to designate officers for the enforcement of the operations.

He therefore called on companies and ocean going vessels to cooperate with officers of the enforcement unit for smooth operations of the cabotage regime in Nigeria, stating that companies that refuse to register would face sanctions


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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.