The Regional Maritime Development Bank may take off in July in Abuja after two years of inactivity. A source close to the Federal Ministry of Transport, Abuja, disclosed this to NAN on Monday in Lagos.
The source said that the financial and legal consultants had been directed to commence work by July. According to the source, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has also been directed to provide the requisite pre-incorporation funds. The funds, it was learnt, would form part of Nigeria’s equity contribution to the project.
“The Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) has been waiting for Nigeria to appoint financial and legal consultants and make sure the secretariat is opened. The rents for the two properties leased in Abuja by the Federal Ministry of Transport for the secretariat and transit guest houses will expire soon,’’ the source said. The idea of establishing the regional bank came up at the Bureau of Transport Ministers’ meeting in Angola in 2005 and Nigeria agreed to host the headquarters.
The bank will be like other development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank. The approval for Nigeria to host the banks’ headquarters was given by the 13th General Assembly of MOWCA in Dakar, Senegal, in July 2008. The latest resolution of the 14th General Assembly of MOWCA on August 2011 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo also reminded Abuja of the urgency to host the headquarters.
The bank’s project is a sub-regional initiative supported by multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and European banks. The bank will help to generate funds at very good conditions for the services of the Cabotage Act and the Local Content Act.
When operational, the regional bank will increase the purchase of vessels by indigenous ship owners to enable them to lift crude and refined petroleum products. MOWCA was established in May, 1975 as the Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime Transport. The name was changed to MOWCA as part of reforms adopted by the General Assembly of Ministers of Transport meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, between August 4 and August 6, 1999.