The Federal Government is making efforts to retain the hosting right of the Secretariat of the Regional Maritime Bank, presently being touted for Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Chairman, Committee of Experts on the Regional Maritime Bank, Chief Chris Orode, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
He said that the Franco-phone countries were angling for the headquarters of the bank to be ceded to Central Africa.
The maritime expert said that he had brought this to the attention of government.
Orode said that government had started giving the regional bank serious consideration.
According to him, Nigeria has the cargo traffic, the population and in a good position to retain the Secretariat of the Regional Maritime Bank in Abuja.
Orode said that the bank would serve 25 countries from Angola to Mauritania in the West and Central Africa.
NAN reports that the 25 countries constitute the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), a body that gave Nigeria the final approval to host and start the bank.
NAN also reports that the idea to establish the regional bank was mooted at the Bureau of Transport Ministers’ meeting in Angola in 2005 and Nigeria agreed to host the headquarters.
The approval for Nigeria to host the banks’ headquarters came through the 13th General Assembly of MOWCA in Dakar, Senegal in July
2008 and it also had the Late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s approval in February 2009.
There was also another resolution of the 14th General Assembly of MOWCA on August 2011 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, which sealed the approval.
Since February 2012, calls were being made to the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Federal Government to provide ‘financial commitment`’ essential for the bank’s take-off.
The delay is the lack of the pre-incorporation funds which would form part of Nigeria’s equity contributions to the bank’s project.
As at today, financial and legal consultants had been appointed and the bank’s secretariat had been accumulating rents without operation.
NAN reports that the regional bank is a sub-regional initiative supported by multilateral agencies like the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB) and European banks.
MOWCA had made initial contacts with the agencies and the agencies were waiting for the take-off of the bank’s secretariat to take the project to the next level.
The bank would go a long way to generate funds at very good conditions for the services of Cabotage Act and the Local Content Act.
When fully off the ground, the regional bank would increase purchase of vessels by indigenous ship owners who would be able to lift
crude and refined petroleum products.
Complaints of lack of monies to buy vessels, no ship building yards, non-take off of Inland Container Depots (ICDs), no green-fields development, no deep seaports and no adequate fishing trawlers would be things of the past. (NAN)