Maritime Stakeholders Lament $1trn Annual Loss To Non-disbursement Of Cabotage Fund

Director General of the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dayo Mobereola

Maritime stakeholders have said that Nigeria  is losing a whooping $1 trillion annually to the non-disbursement of the Cabotage  Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF).

The stakeholders disclosed this, on Thursday, in Lagos at the maritime stakeholders meeting with the new Director General of the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dayo Mobereola.

Speaking at the meeting, a maritime lawyer, Emeka Akabogu, said that the country was losing $4 billion to lack of local marine transportation in the country.

According to him, there are three legs to shipping, fleet expansion, ship repairs, and shipbuilding and the country is losing $9 billion annually to the non-participation in international freight services.

Akabogu added that the fishing sub-sector of the maritime industry contributes $282 billion annually to the economy.

“Nigeria’s coastal resources have an estimated capacity of $504 trillion. Current realised capacity is $106 trillion in export and import on frozen fish is $876 million,” he stated.

Akabugo quoted the former DG of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said that Nigeria loses approximately $25.5 billion annually to illegal maritime activities and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited loses $1.35 billion on oil bunkering.  

He said that in 2024 alone, the number of registered ships in Nigeria was 4419 with a total tonnage of, 5.8 billion.

“Summary of the valid registered vessel, 2136 with a 4.2 billion gross tonnage, invalid registeree ship, 61, cabotage registered vessel, 1033, with a gross tonnage of 1.9 million. The foreign-owned vessel, 18 with a gross tonnage of 125 million,” he added.

Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, said a lot is required from the NIMASA management in the implementation of the Cabotage Act, which has not been effective since its enactment.

He said there is a need for inter-agency collaboration in the cabotage regime to address issues of boarding and inspection of vessels, especially with the automatic identification system.


Hassan added that there is a lot of money to make in the implementation of the Cabotage Act, adding that  the Nigerian Navy is ready and will extend its support to NIMASA to treat these cases expeditiously in the next month.


A former DG of NIMASA,  Temisan Omatseye, said the agency was established with the core mandate of promoting, protecting, and providing an enabling environment for indigenous shipowners to grow their vessels.


He, however, said unfortunately, the current NIMASA leadership would not be able to disburse the CVFF fund, saying that the financial regulations go against the banking and finance institutions’ regulations.


“By the CVFF, NIMASA is doing the risk assessment but the disbursing does not allow an outsider to do the risk assessment as it negates the law that binds the funding,” Omatseye said.


According to him, the law says there is to be a CVFF and the fund is to be disbursed in line with the guidelines as issued by the Minister of Transportation and approved by the National Assembly.


The CVFF was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003. The fund was established to develop indigenous ship acquisition capacity, and to provide financial assistance to indigenous domestic coastal shipping operators.


Responding, the NIMASA DG, Dr. Dayo Mobereola said the agency will automate the ship registry, which he said is going to happen very soon.


He said NIMASA will also look at the issue of gender inclusion in maritime activities and correct the short falls.


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