Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
Nigeria will proceed with the Regional Maritime Development Bank Project if only two-third of member states accept the decision reached by the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa, the Federal Government has said.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this on Tuesday when he declared-open the meeting of MOWCA Committee of Experts on the Regional Maritime Development Bank Project and Interim Board of Directors.
A statement issued in Abuja by an aide of the minister, Taiye Elebiyo-Edwin, said member countries of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa had identified the major deficit in the development of indigenous participation in the regional maritime sector and associated value chain.
It stated that based on this, members of the body agreed to establish a maritime bank focused on the growth and development in West and Central Africa with a view to raising debt and equity capital of $850m and $150m respectively.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria via the Federal Ministry of Transportation was then mandated to take all necessary steps to bring the bank to actualisation,” the statement stated.
According to Amaechi, any decision reached at the end of the meeting would not be taken to Nigeria’s President until other member states indicate interest in writing to be part of the project which would develop the maritime sector in Africa.
The minister was quoted as saying, “Whatever decision we reach here is subject to approval and confirmation of every member states in writing.
“I will not convey whatever decision reached here to the President until I have the buy-in of two-third of the member organisations.”
He added, “This is because if we take it to the President and the President approves and every other person backs out, are we going to establish a maritime bank of Nigeria?
“And that is not the intention. The intention is to establish a maritime bank that cuts across West Africa and Central Africa.”
Amaechi said Nigeria was willing to make its contributions but would not make those contributions until two-third of the member states had accepted the decision.
He said the members would also agree on a timeline within which they would make their contributions.
“I’m willing to participate, we can’t have just six countries passing a law on behalf of over 20 countries in the region,” the transportation minister stated.