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1 million Nigerians to receive N5,000 monthly

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  • As Maersk is set to Recycle First Two Vessels in Alang, India

To assuage the anger of Nigerians over the increase in the price of premium motor spirit to N145 a litre, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has rolled out palliative measures running into half a trillion naira.

Over eight million Nigerians will benefit from the programmes scheduled to begin in a matter of weeks.
Highlights of the palliatives are:
*5.5 million school children to be fed for 200 school days in first phase of homegrown school feeding programme
*Over 1.6 million Nigerian traders, market women, men, artisans to receive loans.
*1 million extremely poor and vulnerable Nigerians to receive N60,000 this year in 12 months payments of N5000 each.

All together the federal government would be directly impacting the lives of more than 8 million Nigerians in different social investment 2016 budget spending that would provide succor and be a ready-made palliative to ordinary Nigerians.

This disclosure was made last night by the Senior Special Assistant for Media & Publicity to the President, Mr. Laolu Akande, in an interaction with the press in Abuja.
He gave new details and a breakdown of the interventions and palliatives, some of which he said would be starting in a matter of weeks thus:
1.* The direct payment of N5000 monthly to one million extremely poor Nigerians for 12 months as provided for in the 2016 budget for which N$68.7B has been appropriated.
2* The direct provision of very soft loan -cash for market women, men and traders, including artisans and Agric workers. This would be for a total of 1.76m Nigerians,
without the requirement for conventional collateral. Some of the traders will likely get about N60,000. A total sum of N140.3B has already been appropriated for this in the budget,
3* Payment of between N23,000 to N30,000 per month to 500,000 unemployed graduates who would be trained, paid and deployed to work as volunteer teachers, public health officers and extension service workers among other responsibilities.
-They would also be given electronic devices to empower them technologically both for their assignments and beyond-similarly 100,000 artisans would also be trained and paid N191.5B has been set aside for this in the passed budget.
4. At least 5.5 million Nigerian primary school children -i.e. starting first in 18 states-three per geopolitical zones-would be fed for 200 school days under the free Homegrown School Feeding Programme. N93.1B has been appropriated for this in the 2016 budget.
5. 100,000 tertiary students in Science Technology Engineering & Maths-STEM, plus Education will partake in the N5.8B already provided for this education grant in the budget. This payment would also be paid directly to the students.

When added together this year alone, more than 8 million Nigerians would be benefiting from the Social Investment budget.
Akande who works from the Office of the Vice President said the N500B social investement programmes of the Buhari administration is a ready made palliative to lift Nigerians from poverty and economic hardship.
“Long before now the Presidency has made adequate arrangements in the 2016 budget to ensure that Nigerians are lifted from poverty and hardship,” the spokesperson stated.

This will not only assuage the current pains arising from the new fuel pricing regime, but will provide ongoing social safety nets for over 8 million Nigerians this year alone, according to Akande.
He added that this is beside the jobs that would be created by the infrastructural projects that would be restored and the new ones that would soon be taking off.

Said he: “the Buhari presidency is keen to ensure that Nigerians are lifted and that if necessary on an ongoing basis palliatives measures would always been considered to address the conditions of the people.”

In the meantime, two container vessels, the Maersk Wyoming and the Maersk Georgia, are expected to arrive in India’s Shree Ram yard in Alang for recycling in late May, the Danish giant Maersk Line said.
The company added that it reached a deal for the landing of the first two vessels at the yard, which is certified to the standards of the Hong Kong Convention.

The move follows Maersk Group’s announcement of its long-term commitment to create more responsible recycling options in Alang, India, as well as help the ship recycling yard to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards as the group eyes cost reductions for its ship recycling.

“The Alang plans come at a cost for us, but we will invest money and human resources to ensure we can already now scrap our vessels in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention provisions (HSE) as well as international standards on labor conditions and anti-corruption. We will also have staff on-site at Shree Ram.

They will be working closely with the yard to further upgrade practices, processes and facilities,” Annette Stube, Head of Sustainability in the Maersk Group, said.
However, Indian NGOs are concerned about the negative environmental impact of dismantling end-of-life vessels in the intertidal zone in Alang where large amounts of debris, including toxic paint chips, are released, accumulate in the environment and are washed out by the tide.

The NGOs added that the secondary cutting areas, which have been concreted in some of the beaching yards, show cracks in the surface, raising doubts as to whether they can qualify as impermeable floors.

Out of a total of 768 ships recycled globally in 2015, 469 – representing 74% of the total gross tonnage scrapped – were sold to facilities on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with challenges to workers and the environment, according to Maersk.

Upshot with additional report from World Maritime News

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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