By Olivia Nnorom
A regional maritime development bank that would facilitate single-digit interest loans to provide leeway to key players in the sector and enable them to compete favourably with their international counterparts is in the offing.
Mu’azu Sambo, Nigeria’s minister of transportation, who made this known, expressed optimism that the ministry would in 90 days secure accommodation to enable the take-off of the Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB).
Sambo dropped the hint when he received Paul Adalikwu, secretary-general, Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), at the ministry.
A statement issued on Wednesday by Eric Ojiekwe, director of media and public relations, Ministry of Transportation, quoted Sambo to have said the ministry’s efforts towards getting accommodation through the Central Bank of Nigeria have not yielded any outcomes. However, it has decided to approach the Attorney General of the Federation to see if one of the forfeited properties can be allocated to the bank, stressing that 90 days was even too long to achieve this.
Also, Sambo encouraged Adalikwu to leverage MOWCA as a regional organisation to push for Nigeria’s intent of becoming a member of Category C in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
In his response, Adalikwu said that the RMDB was conceived 11 years ago to facilitate single-digit interest loans, to provide leeway to key players in the sector and enable them to compete favourably with their international counterparts.
He said the nine countries including DRC Congo have signed the Charter as required in the document establishing the bank, which is one above the thresholds required for the establishment of the Act.
“The organogram of RMDB as adopted by council members has positions of president of the body, company secretary and a seat on the board ceded to Nigeria. Cameroon is to produce the vice president 1, and Ivory Coast vice president 2, while other member countries are to provide board members for the maritime bank,” he said.
Magdalene Ajani, permanent secretary of the ministry, said that the forthcoming regional meeting scheduled for Abuja in November would have Kitlack Lim, secretary-general of IMO, prevail on the 25 member states to adopt the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act.
The Act, Ajani said, would enable the trial of piracy cases within the MOWCA sub-region, irrespective of where the crime was committed.