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Aganga: Diversification, Vital to Avert Economic Crisis



The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr, Olusegun Aganga,  on Thursday stated that Nigeria must diversify its economy to achieve economic development.
Aganga, who pointed this out  during a facility tour to Sparkwest Steel Industries Limited in Ogun State, noted that the nation would remain poor forever if pays little or no attention to economic diversification.

He explained that the fall in oil price was a warning to Nigeria to as a matter of urgency, look for new avenues to generate revenue for the country, advising that the time is now to take full advantage of areas where the country has competitive advantages to diversify its economy.

The minister said  industrial companies such as Sparkwest were vital to achieve economic diversification.

According to him,  “It is industries like this that will help us diversify our economy. This is why the president launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan NIRP to focus on areas where we have competitive advantage. We have to also commend the Ogun State government because without them, none of the new 57 industries  would have come up in the state. There is also the need for State and the Federal government  to partner to achieve industrial revolution in the country.

“People are saying industries are dying, but they are not, but growing every day. In the last 4 years, about 57 new industries have come out of Ogun State. The president has visited Ogun State more than seven times to commission new factories. The same thing is happening in Abia State where Nigerian Breweries over the last 5 years have spent $1 billion having new plants in the country. The brewery is the biggest and the best in Africa. The governor of the State was telling us that most of the industries that left Aba five years ago, are coming back to Aba,” he added.

He said the NIRP  was working but needs consistency and continuity for another 5 to 7 years to achieve its mandate, saying that  if Nigeria continues with the initiative, it would diversify the economy, create millions of jobs and earn more foreign exchange from export of steel products from industries such as this.

“The days of relying only on crude oil are over. This is an opportunity for us to fully diversify our economy. I am very delighted that this government under President Goodluck Jonathan already has a plan to harness this opportunity to diversify the economy.”

Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Sparkwest Steel Industries Limited, Mr. Niyi Oyedele, said the company had grown out of an import business into a manufacturer of what it imports years ago to produce locally for the Nigeria‎n market.

He added that the journey so far had been turbulent, pointing out that import duties on raw materials has continued to plague the growth of industrial development.

He commended the minister for reversing the duty to 5 per cent saying that industries have continued to experience some level of growth in their operations.

“We are the sole suppliers to the telecoms industry, oil and gas and the power industry. It is almost like a monopoly, we have done lots of exports to countries like Ivory Coast, Cameroun, Ghana, Gabon, Peru and the likes,” he said.

According to him, the power industry is still a major challenge to industrial development, calling on the minister to get power industry to patronise local production.

“We are expanding our factory by building a rolling mill, we currently have a staff strength of 600, but we will increase it to 2500 by the time we complete the mill,” he said.

This day

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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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