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FG unfolds new efforts towards attracting direct foreign investments



…As Dikko enjoins Nigerians in diasporas, to come home and invest
The international business community assembled in London a fortnight ago, backed by Nigerians in Diasporas to listen as Nigeria began a reinvigorated effort to unfold Government efforts and policy, aimed at seeking new endorsements, for direct foreign investments (DFI) into the country.

The effort which was anchored by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr. Segun Aganga, on a platform created by the Financial times Live, also witnessed the Comptroller General of Customs, Dr. Dikko Inde Abdullahi appealing to Nigerians presently dwelling outside the country, to come back home and contribute more directly, to the development of the country; even as the Dangote Group as well as the Stallion Group and a few others from Nigeria, to affirm and validate Government’s unique selling points.

Stressing that Nigeria, with its special endowments in the areas of population, growing market, and an enviable natural blessing was now the country to invest in, Dr. Aganga highlighted that Government had also successfully put in place, new policies to guarantee a more conducive business environment, safeguard investors’ capital and profits through noteworthy legal framework; as well as networking with regional powers to boost national and regional security.

“Under the leadership of his Excellency, our President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigeria has commenced a journey of economic transformation; and this journey is irreversible”, Aganga declared, leveraging on the earlier presenta-tion of the Dangote Group, to emphasize that Government was also already finding solution, to the nation’s power outage problem.

“We have commenced repositioning of all relevant institutions including the Nigeria Customs Service, to meet the hues and cries of the demands of our dear country, in line with our view on trade agenda for economic transformation.
“Our policy is to attract investment. Nigeria is on the move and for all of you here today, I invite you to size the wide and rare opportunity and invest in Nigeria.

“I am delighted to say that within these last five weeks, we have received a premier from China with more than a 100 business delegates. Within this period, we have received the President of Kenya with about 75 businessmen and women. We have also received the Swiss Economic Minister with abut 33 business men and women.

“Every year the Swiss business men and women decide on going to various countries. They suggest countries to their government and their government which country they go.

“Within the last five weeks we have received the Economic Minister from Germany and his 3 delegates. We have received the US Secretary with about 23 business men and women from the United States. She told me that about 100 people who wanted to come but they had to limit the number to 23.
“Within these five weeks, we have received the President of Pakistan. It is the first time in our history that the President of Pakistan would visit Nigeria with a delegate of about 60 people. We have received 3 delegates from Iran.

“Within these five weeks, we have received the Justice Minister of International Trade and Development with about #0 entrepreneurs from Netherlands.

“In addition to that, the Justice Minister is setting up a business worth about $700million to support investment in the Netherlands and other countries and would support Nigeria by setting up business in Nigeria, as well as even fund business in Nigeria; once they viable and meets their department they can assess that $700million in Europe.

“I am only saying that in the last five weeks, despite the security challenges, we have been playing host to at least 8-9 Head of States and Ministers with delegates. They must have seen what you have not seen if you have not been to Nigeria”, the Minister told his international audience, even as he commended the NCS Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Dikko Inde Abdullahi for implementing policies capable of making the country a major attraction for Direct Foreign Investments (DFI).

The Comptroller General of Customs however saw the opportunity as a grand one to urge for stronger participation of Nigerians in diasporas to come home, invest more in the country, as the country, particularly the Customs Service was leaving no stones unturned, in the bid to entrench a smoother cargo facilitation regime.

He noted that in keying into President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda therefore, the Service was not only collaborating and partnering with other relevant Government agencies, to create the Nigerian Tradehub, a unique platform aimed at bringing a remarkable ease into the economy, through a more efficient cargo facilitation regime.

“The growth of trade is critical to boosting economic development and poverty alleviation in developing economies. Its potential for job creation makes it a strategic component of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda in Nigeria”, he observed, adding that as a major regulatory agency of Government, Nigeria Customs Service therefore plays a very active role in stimulating the growth of trade in Nigeria by creating the conducive atmosphere necessary for investment in flow.

“This situation calls for synergy between the Customs and the Ministry in charge of Industry, Trade and Investment. I am happy that this synergy is demonstrated by the presence of the Honourable Minister, Dr Olusegun Aganga and his participation in this Forum. It is very instructive to note that the great strides recorded in Customs Modernization dates back to 2009. It all started during the days of Dr Aganga as Minister of Finance and chairman of the Customs Board. With his clear understanding that a modern Customs Administration is necessary for economic growth, he helped to lay a strong foundation for the reforms that repositioned Customs in Nigeria”, he indicated further, explaining that the Service was indeed at a cross road in 2009, especially with a work force that was highly demoralized, poorly remunerated and illequipped.

The Comptroller General said he subsequently embarked on a 6-point Agenda of action to prepare the Customs for a full take over of international Trade Management from Inspection Companies in line with the provisions of the Bali Agreement on Trade Facilitation, via a plan that addressed the issue of capacity building for officers and men, improving the welfare of the

workforce, automation of processes and system upgrade, building integrity and transparency into our system, partnerships with other Customs adaministrations and the Private sector, and a communication and outreach program for active stakeholder engagement.
Consequently, the Service developed the Ni-gerian Trade Portal, and made it accessible worldwide through, creating an interactive portal that offers online advisory related to Customs tariff classification and valuation, tax base, Nigerian regulatory agencies, customs brokers, currency conversion tools and lots more.

Dikko said it was in continuation of the vision of working together with partner agencies in Government and the private sector, that the Service also developed and launched a new Application System known as the Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), which allows for Pre arrival documentations and clearance of goods into all our Ports.

“The launch of PAAR has helped to build stronger relationship with the business sector. By its configuratiaon, Importers and operators who have demonstrated high level of integrity in their declarations are flagged. To encourage them, 175 of them have been admitted into a new Fast Track system.

“These companies now enjoy special concessions like blue lane selection, inspection at owners premise and exclusive membership of the Customs Compliance Ambassadors Group”, he posited, stressing that “with the level of modernization so far attained in Customs operation”, he was assuring the existing and potential investors in Nigeria, that they indeed find the country, absolutely ready for business.-International Trade Monitor

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



…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



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

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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