The minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed how an unnamed investor flees from Nigeria after collecting N36 billion during the administration of the immediate past president Goodluck Jonathan.
File photo of minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi
The Nation reported that the fund was paid from the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), which indigenous ship owner last year asked Amaechi and acting Nigeria Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) director-general Haruna Baba Jauro.
The CVFF was created by the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003 to promote ship acquisition by supporting ship owners.
Section 42, Part VIII of Section 44 of the Act empowers NIMASA to collect and administer the fund, under guidelines by the Minister of Transport, after approval by the National Assembly.
The fund was established to boost local content in the shipping industry.
The minister made this disclosure on Tuesday, January 19, when he appeared before the Senate committee on Marine Transport, but failed to mention the name of the investor.
Amaechi added that about 300 billion was released to encourage investors in the maritime sector by the last administration noting that some of the fund went down the drain.
He said: “In fact, there is a particular man who collected N32billion and left the country. I don’t think that the Federal Government needed to release N52bn to investors in the maritime industry.
“What we are considering is to facilitate a partnership arrangement between the operators and foreign investors in which case we can support Nigerians who had shown serious interest in the business with about 40 percent of the investment while their foreign partners bring 60 percent. That will assure us that we would recoup our investment.
“One of those who collected the aviation bailout who has done nothing with the money is walking freely on the streets of Nigeria; his airline is dead and he did not even deem it fit to inform the ministry.
“I am protecting the maritime funds and we could only disburse it after we have seen the President, the foreign investors who will partner with the Nigerian investors that meet our guidelines. We have the N52bn in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of NIMASA.”
Ameachi warned that NIMASA may be scrapped as a result of the massive fraud in the firm.
He further stated that the federal government might be force to approach the Nation al Assembly to repeal the Act establishing NIMASA, if its management fails to justify the utilization of the huge resources at its disposal.
The minister decries the wastefulness of NIMASA saying that there nothing to show for the N63billion revenue of generated in 2015.
Amaechi said: “Currently, the way NIMASA is, if you look at it very well, it was worse in the last administration. It was as if it was established just for the purpose of collecting money and nothing more. What we need to do is to ensure that NIMASA discharges its core responsibilities.
“If NIMASA outsources its core responsibility, then it has no business existing. If it is just to collect money from individuals, anybody can do that. We can hire a tax collector to collect money from maritime operators on behalf of Federal Ministry of transport.
“So, it is either NIMASA sits up and carries out its own responsibility or we come to the National Assembly to repeal the Act setting it up and allow the department of marine security in the ministry of transportation to discharge the responsibility currently being discharged by NIMASA.
“We are not going ahead with the university project proposed by NIMASA because we have an institution in Oron, we have Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria, and we have the Nigerian College of Aviation in Zaria which we could upgrade to a University status and NIMASA is proposing to build a new one.
“Who will attend the University? How many parents will allow their children to go to such place where it proposes to site the University? What is the aim of the University that we cannot achieve in Oron where they have the entire necessary infrastructure.
“I don’t think we are proceeding with the university being proposed by NIMASA because it is a waste of resources, and unfortunately a lot of money had already been released for the University project hence there is no structure on ground but just the feasibility study.
“Whoever that is holding on to the money should better return it. The Chinese company contracted confirmed that only the feasibility study was in place.”