By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Government of Nigeria has concluded plans to commence operation of the Regional Maritime Development Bank within the next three months (90 days).
This is part of a bid to increase the African continental fleet and encourage intra-African trade.
It should be noted that the head office and general management of Banque Régionale Maritime were also ceded to Nigeria.
The Minister of Transport, Mr. Mu’azu Sambo, while welcoming the Secretary General of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Mr. Paul Adalikwu, told the ministry that he hoped that the bank would start operations soon, noting that efforts are being made to make this a reality.
According to Mr. Mu’azu, “When I took over here, I immediately realized that the Regional Maritime Bank is one of the lowest fruits that we can reach in a very very short time. In fact, 90 days is too long”.
Mr. Muazu explained that all efforts to get the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assist in the construction of offices for the regional bank have yielded no results, so he will contact the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to see if any of the confiscated assets can be traced back to the bank.
He also encouraged the Secretary General to leverage MOWCA as a regional to advance Nigeria’s intention to become a Category C member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Speaking earlier, Mr Adalikwu said the idea of a Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB) was conceived 11 years ago to facilitate loans at single digit interest rates to give a leeway to the main players in the sector and enable them to compete favorably with their international counterparts.
According to Mr. Adalikwu, “Eight countries have signed the Charter as required by the document establishing the bank. Two weeks ago, the DRC Congo also signed, making it 9 countries. One above the threshold required for the establishment of the law”.
MOWCA’s Scribe informed that the organization chart of the RMDB as adopted by the board members had positions of the body’s chairman, secretary general and a seat on the board ceded to Nigeria while the Cameroon must produce the vice-president 1 and Ivory Coast, the vice-president 2 , adding that other member countries must provide members to the board of directors of the maritime bank.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Ms. Magdalene Ajani, congratulated Mr. Adalikwu on the upcoming regional meeting scheduled for Abuja in November 2022, where IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitlack Lim, will seek to l Override 25 Member States must pass the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offenses Act (SPOMO). This will make it possible to try piracy cases in the MOWCA sub-region, regardless of the sub-region in which the crime was committed.