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AfDB Screens Adesina, Seven Others as Election Holds Today

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... As. Nigeria hosts ARSO President’s Forum to boost inter-African trade

Ahead of the African Development Bank (AfDB) presidential election which holds today, the eight candidates in the race met with the Board of Governors on Wednesday at the ongoing bank’s 50th Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The eight candidates who  met individually with the board of governors were Akinwunmi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia; Jaloul Ayed, Minister of Fnance, Tunisia; Kordje Bedoumra, Minister of Finance and Budget, Chad; Cristina Duarte, Minister of Finance and Planning, Cabo Verde; Samura M.W. Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sierra Leone; Thomas  Zondo Sakala (Zimbabwe), former Vice President, Country and Regional Programmes, AfDB; and Birama Boubacar Sidibe (Mali), Vice President, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Sources told THISDAY that each candidate took turn to defend his vision statement  before the board of governors.

The successful candidate will replace Dr. Donald Kaberuka, a national of Rwanda, who has been in the saddle since September 1, 2005, following his election in July 2005. He has served two terms of five years each.

Although the process that will lead to the emergence of the new president started since July 1, 2014,  according to the rules of Procedure Governing the Election of the President of the AfDB, the election  will hold during the annual meeting closest to the end of the term of office of the serving president.
It implies that the AfDB board of governors  will be electing Kaberuka’s successor on May 28, 2015, during the ongoing bank’s annual meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Adesina, Nigeria’s candidate, is hopeful of clinching the presidency as THISDAY learnt the country had garnered significant support from some francophone and English-speaking regional member countries of the bank, as well as non-regional members, which are reputed to be very influential in determining who wins the race.

According to the voting powers, all the 54 regional member countries have a combined 3,844,574 votes with voting powers of 59.722, while 26 non-regional members, including the United Kingdom and United State have 2,592,862 votes and voting powers of 40.278.Specifically, Nigeria has the highest 595,838 votes with voting powers of 9.256 per cent.

Adesina, 55, comes to the race with a wealth of experience  and outstanding performance.  Until his appointment  in 2010, he was the Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).  Prior to that, he had worked  at the Rockefeller Foundation since winning a fellowship from the Foundation as a senior scientist in 1988. From 1999 to 2003 he was the representative of the Foundation for the southern African region.

From 2003 until 2008 to the present he was an associate director for food security.
Adesina is credited with notable reforms in the agriculture sector that have attracted unprecedented level of investment into the sector. According to official figures, within the last three years, food import  has dropped significantly from N1 trillion to N466 billion.

As part of the reforms in the sectors, transparency in the administration  and distribution of fertilisers have  abated corruption and corrupt tendencies in the processes, hitherto a cesspit of graft.

In July 2007, Adesina  was awarded the YARA Prize for the African Green Revolution in Oslo, Norway Besides, the minister was named Forbes African of the Year in 2013 for his reforms in the agriculture sector. In bestowing on him the honour, Editor, Forbes Africa, Chris Bishop, had said:  “He is a man on a mission to help Africa feed itself.”

Adesina is a holder of PhD in Agricultural Economics  (1988) from the Purdue University, USA,  where he had previously obtained a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics in 1985. Prior to these feats, he bagged  Bachelor’s degree (First Class honours) in Agricultural Economics from  University of Ife, Nigeria,  in 1981.

This is the third time Nigeria is taking a shot at the AfDB presidency. In 1995, the then Director-General of OPEC Fund, Dr. Saheed Abdullahi, represented Nigeria in a contest that saw Mr. Omar Kabbaj emerged the President . Ten years after (in 2005),  the battle was brought to Nigeria when she hosted the 40th Annual Meetings of the bank and the nation’s candidate, Mr. Bisi Ogunjobi,  the then bank’s Vice President, Operations, West and Central lost to Kaberuka, Rwandan, who was sponsored by the non-regional member countries (NRMCs) that include the United States, China, United Kingdom, Japan and France.

Nigeria plays a significant role in AfDB, as a leading shareholder among the RMCs. Nigeria took a bold step in 1976 to set up the Nigeria Trust Fund(NTF), which with the ADF make up the  AfDB Group. The fund was set up in agreement with the bank to assist in the development of regional member countries (RMCs), whose economic and social conditions  and prospects require financing on concessional terms. The fund which became operational in April 1976, had an initial capital of $80million.

NTF lends at no interest charge but with a service charge of 0.75 per cent per annum on outstanding balances and commitment fee of 0.5 per cent per annum on un-disbursed commitments with a repayment period of 27 years including a grace period of up to  seven years.  It was replenished in 1981 with $71million. By the end of 2004, the total resources of NTF had risen to $540.26million. In 2008, Nigeria and the bank agreed to a 10-year extension of the NTF.

Meanwhile, the prime objective of the ARSO Presidents Forum slated for Abuja June 22 -24, 2015 is to remove the restrictions to trade between African countries placed by the differences in the standards governing trade in the different countries.

The Director General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and president of the African Organisation for standardisation (ARSO), Dr Joseph Odumodu said this while speaking to newsmen   in Abuja.

He said: “Every organism prospers by utilizing the material which every part supplies. But hardly does Africa draw strength from the trade the different countries in the continent engage in because, separated by standards, the countries hardly trade among themselves.

Now, ARSO President’s Forum Abuja 2015 is bringing fifty-five heads of national standards bodies (NSB) in Africa together to open the gates of harmonization of standards and let goods and services flow smoothly across the continent.”

Emphasizing the trade facilitation bias of the event, Odumodu said that industrialists will sit together with the fifty-five national standards bodies CEOs at a roundtable to share insights and challenges as standardisation stakeholders.

According to the Africa number one standards chief, “sitting at a roundtable with the fifty-five NSB CEOs is a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs to expand their business to other African countries.”

He continued: “By participating in the ARSO president’s Forum, companies are automatically at the gates of fifty-five African countries and are a step to the 1.1 billion consumers in the continent. Imagine when they now establish relationships with the NSB CEOs.”

Odumodu explained that “the NSB CEOs are high-level decision makers for their countries’ trade policy and standards implementation.”

Still on the trade connection of the Forum, the ARSO president said that a trade fair tagged Made in Africa Expo will run for the three days of the event alongside the other activities of the event.

He said that “the fair is open to any product whether certified or not because the emphasis is on showcasing the potentials of all SMEs and cottage industries and projecting made in Nigeria products to the nations of Africa.”

He added that ten of the best exhibiting SMEs would be selected by a distinguished international panel to compete in the Made in Africa Products Fair to be held in Egypt later in the year.

He further said that ten of the best exhibiting SMEs would be considered for free certification. Clarifying on the programme of the ARSO Presidents Forum, Odumodu said that the forum features African Day of Standardisation seminar in addition to the CEOs Roundtable and the Made in Africa Expo.

The theme of the seminar this year is “the Role of Standards in Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.”

Participants expected at the forum include manufacturers, service providers, medium and small scale enterprises, investors and representatives of government ministries, departments and agencies. The International Conference Centre, Abuja is the venue of the Forum.

The ARSO Presidents Forum is the aftermath of the 20th ARSO General Assembly endorsement of a proposal for the ARSO President to convene a special forum of NSB chief executives and engage them on ARSO standardisation programmes to make Africa one market. The ARSO 20th Assembly took place in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2014.

Thisday, With additional reports from Newswatch

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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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