Oceanic Bank International Plc has extended a credit facility worth $14.5 million to an indigenous firm, Vigeo Limited to acquire a state of the art anchor handler vessel from Farstad Shipping of Norway. Speaking before signing the credit agreement in London the Chief Executive Officer, of the bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, said the its decision to finance the transaction was as a result o the need to encourage indigenous companies to actively participate in the sector which is dominated by non - indigenes.
A statement from the bank reported her as saying that it was another form of technology transfer aimed at supporting the growth of the nation's maritime, and oil and gas industry. "Our decision to finance the acquisition of the vessel by Vigeo Limited is part of our contributions to the growth of indigenous participation in the more technical aspect of oil and gas industry. It is targeted at encouraging active participation of Nigerian companies in oil and gas activities, which is mainly dominated by foreign multinationals. It is a way of encouraging them to take a bigger slice in the sector. We are out to assist in the best way we can," she said.
The MD revealed that the bank has concluded plans to finance the acquisition of four other vessels for Nigerian entrepreneurs, maintaining that the bank believes strongly in their potentials to develop the nation's economy which informed the extension of credit facilities to them to develop the various sectors of the economy.
"This is one of the five vessels Oceanic Bank has made plans to finance. We firmly believe in the potential of the wholly owned Nigerian entrepreneurs. That is why we are giving all the necessary funding support to them by way of project financing to develop the various sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, agriculture, aviation, maritime, oil and gas, and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), among others."
According to the Chairman, Vigeo Holdings, Mr. Victor Osibodu, Oceanic Bank's recognition of the role of indigenous entrepreneurs in the nation's economy was quite commendable, stating that the vessel would enable his company become a key player in the sector.
Osibodu urged other financial institutions in the country to emulate Oceanic Bank's various initiatives at developing the various sector of the economy, stating that the local entrepreneurs would engender rapid transformation of the sector without compromise to standards.
The Chief Operating Officer, Vigeo Shipping Limited, Mr. Kingsley Uwagbale, said the acquisition of the specialized vessel, AHTS Lady Margaret by his company was a landmark in the industry's history, stating that it was the first time a Nigerian company was owing a vessel of such capacity.
Story written by Bright Ewulu and sourced from Daily Trust (Abuja) 3 September 2007