Banks in Nigeria go after indigenous ship-owners following cancellation of CVFF disbursement
FINDINGS have revealed that some commercial banks who had granted some indigenous ship owners various degree of loans, in anticipation of recouping their loans when the Federal Government disburses the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), have suddenly started going after their debtors after news filtered in recently that President Muhammadu Buhari had withdrawn the approval for the disbursement of the fund.
The fund, which currently stands at about N136.5 billion, was expected to be disbursed to indigenous ship owners to encourage them to renew their fleet capacity but was objected to by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had told a gathering of maritime stakeholders in Lagos that President Buhari had withdrawn the approval for the disbursement of the CVFF fund due to disunity among indigenous ship owners.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune exclusively, a seafarer onboard one of Nigeria’s fishing trawlers explained that some of the bank’s marketing staff have started combing offices of some indigenous ship owners to discuss their loan repayment schedule with them.
According to the seafarer who wouldn’t want his name in print, “One of my boss’ friends has not been to the office since Monday because some bankers have been besieging his office to meet with him over his loan obligation with the bank.
“Since news filtered in that Mr. President has withdrawn the approval for the disbursement of the CVFF fund, some of my boss’ colleagues have not been to their offices. Many were looking up to that fund to meet with their loan obligation from some commercial banks.
“You know shipping is capital intensive. Many operators run their businesses on loans. The fund was expected to provide a succor for some of them. When the minister, in August of 2018 told ship owners that modalities for disbursement was being worked out and that the fund would be disbursed before the end of that year, many were hopeful.
“Now, the same minister has said that the approval for disbursement has been withdrawn. It’s a chaotic scenario for some of these ship owners. Some are devastated and heartbroken. Some are in dire financial mess right now because the fund was what they were relying on to meet with some of their pending loan obligations at the banks. It is such a shame. Is this how we intend to develop shipping in this part of the world?”
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Source: Nigerian Tribune