Despite the incentives put in place by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to woo organised private sector to draw from its $1.5 billion loan facility known as Cargo Defence Fund (CDF) most of the targeted participants are yet to embrace the scheme, according to findings.
Among sectors expected to benefit from the facility include chambers of commerce, the Nigerian Exports-Import Group (NEIG) and others.
It was gathered that some stringent conditions to be met before benefiting from the loan were parts of the factors discouraging would-be beneficiaries.
Mr. Tobias Anuku, an exporter of charcoal and a member of NEIG, said though the only collateral for obtaining the loan facility is the applicant’s certificate of business incorporation, the method of repayment does not take into account unforeseen misfortune that could befall the benefiting companies.
“But there is the need for various sectors to take advantage of the Council’s incentive to grow our businesses,” Anuku said.
He further stated that the needed endorsement of the loan application by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, tended to introduce undue bureaucracy in processing of the loan.
But worried by the development, officials were said to have intensified efforts at wooing the organised sector to come for the facility.
The NSC Executive Director, Mr. Hassan Bello, says the fund provides a viable solution to problems faced by shippers.
Bello said that the CDF is a mutual scheme for both importers and exporters who contribute to it by way of registration.
According to him, at the establishment of the Fund, the Council noticed a high rate of abandonment of legitimate claims by indigent shippers who could not afford the cost of pursuing their legitimate claims either at the law court or through arbitration.
“We are hopeful that as key stakeholders in the maritime industry, your export group will support the mandate of the Cargo Defence Fund which is in place to protect your trade investment through the instrumentality of law and technical expertise.
“Before now, the Fund was working with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, Nigerian Import Export Bank, NEXIM, Nigerian Maritime Arbitrators Association and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to resolve problems and improve Financial, Insurance, legal and dispute resolution services to Nigeria’s export trade.
“We have tried to ensure that both those in the old trade and emerging ones are sufficiently educated in the trades so as to avoid pitfalls.
“This is for the benefit of the nation if all export proceeds are repatriated back to the country for its growth” he said.
According to the Executive Director, the Defence Fund was put in place to re-examine the financial import-export policies and seek ways to protect the interest of Nigerian shippers.
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