While speaking at a stakeholders’ appreciation night organized by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in Lagos, Amaechi stated that his ministry had finally received the approval of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to commence the disbursement of the fund by January 2020. 

 The fund, according to the minister, will be processed and made available for indigenous shipowners, starting from next year. 

 “I have got the approval to disburse the CVFF. I just want to use this opportunity to inform stakeholders that the President has approved the caboatge fund and by Tuesday, I will meet with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and NIMASA to look at the dynamics of the fund. 

 “In January, we will invite the operators for their proposals and to see the nature of their business and how they can get the aid. The President has given the approval and we will begin the process to disburse it by next year,” Amaechi was quoted by Punch.

Prior to now, there have been growing concerns in the maritime industry, as the shipowners lamented their non-accessibility of the fund since its establishment. 

 As reported in the media space last year (2018), the local shipping industry operators expressed anger over their inability to access the fund, which was said to have accumulated to N44.64 billion. 

 What you should know 

 Introduced in 2004 from two percent deductions from every contract value awarded under the Cabotage regime, shipowners are expected to access it in order to afford the purchase of new vessels and at the same time, maintain the existing ones. 

 The CVFF is under the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) while the fund is being warehoused at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).