Private Boat Operators demand CVFF to boost their operations

The Lagos Commercial Private Boat Operators District, an arm of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Wednesday requested to be supported with a portion of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to enable them address some of their operational challenges.

Onepageafrica reports that the CVFF, which was established in 2003, and operational in 2004, is collected from the two per cent deductions from all contracts granted under the Cabotage regime.
This fund, which the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is mandated to disburse appropriately, is designed to help indigenous shipowners boost their operations.
The boat operators’ request was made known by Mr. Abdul Erodje, a member of the association, who also represented the President General of the MWUN, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju on the occasion of the Customer Service Week celebration hosted by NIMASA in Apapa Lagos.
Erodje noted  that the funds would enable the association’s members  solve some of their operational challenges including high cost of boats and outboard motor engines, standard life jackets, boat anchors and others.
He said: “We are asking NIMASA to make available a small percentage of the CVFF to be deployed to this area, to enhance the development of waterways transportation in Lagos State and nation-wide.”
Likening their demand to that of the indigenous shipowners, Erodje  said “With proper management, this fund so deployed by NIMASA will enable the local boat operators to acquire standard boats to provide internationally accepted inland waterways transportation services to the citizens of Nigeria, just like the indigenous shipowners are going to use the CVFF for standard vessels to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts in that sector, because boats and vessels are all conventional means of transportation.”
He expressed his conviction that the funding of the local boat operators by NIMASA to acquire standard boats would also form part of the local content development drive of the agency.
While the association wants NIMASA to establish search and rescue volunteer groups and taking up their training, it also requested that NIMASA collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the industry to perfect registration of members and training/ certifying them on Power-Driven Small Crafts, ferries, pleasure boats to establish a pool of well-trained workforce that employers can pick from.
The association, Erodje said, was confident that the above-mentioned initiative would save the industry the burden of employing untrained boat workers who could pose dangers to other boat operators and passengers alike.