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Arresting Jonathan’ll spell doom for Buhari govt’

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  • Petroleum industry profit tumbles amidst oil price decline

The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is laying a foundation for the arrest of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The IYC, however, advised the anti-graft agency to shelve any plan to “persecute” the former President, insisting that such a move would spell doom for the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday to mark the burial of a former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the IYC President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, said most of the close allies of Jonathan had been arrested by the EFCC.

He particularly condemned the recent arrest and detention of Jonathan’s cousin and contractor, Mr. Robert Azibaola, over an alleged $40m contract fraud.

Eradiri said Ijaw youths would not allow Azibaola, Jonathan or any rising Ijaw leader to be persecuted by the EFCC, the way the Federal Government dealt with the late Alamieyeseigha.

He said, “They have arrested almost all our people. Azibaola was arrested by the EFCC and we are calling on the EFCC to stop persecuting him further and charge him to court if there are issues.

“They detained him for a long time, forcing him to make statements to indict former President Jonathan. Azibaola is a businessman, a contractor, and has the right, like every other Nigerian, to get contracts. Why will the Niger Delta case be a different one?

“We noticed that the same way they persecuted Alamieyeseigha has continued. After Goodluck Jonathan, our people who contributed to that administration, are being persecuted by this government.

“The recent one is the ploy to arrest Goodluck Jonathan, which is unfolding every day. This must stop. Goodluck Jonathan is the most performing President that Nigeria has ever had. We are proud of him.

“Every day, there is a calculated attempt to whittle down the achievements of former President Jonathan. We call on Nigerians to mount pressure on the government to focus on leading Nigeria right rather than looking for ways to bring down the achievements of Jonathan.

“Buhari should please focus on governance rather than persecution of people who have added value. We are not happy about it and today, we use Alamieyeseigha’s death as a point of contact. The world has seen that from Alamieyeseigha, it has trickled down to all the Niger Delta people.”

Speaking on the alleged removal of 10 per cent community equity from the new Petroleum Industry Bill, Eradiri asked the government to do the needful.

He added that the Federal Government ought to have known that community ownership would ameliorate the years of crises in the Niger Delta region.

The IYC President added, “For us, we will not beg for it. We will not even lobby anybody. The oil is our oil and we will take it. If they like, they should put it, if they don’t like, they should leave it. We expect that this country should have commonsense by including community participation.

“In the issue of pipeline surveillance, this 10 per cent would have covered pipeline surveillance. Once the people know that they have 10 per cent in this business, they will protect it.”

In the meantime, listed petroleum marketing companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for year ended December, 2015 have reported declined in profit as a result of dwindling global crude oil prices,

The full-year financial results released by the firms recently also showed a significant decline in revenue and hike in operating expenses.

Total Nigeria Plc recorded a decline of 23.5 per cent in profit from N5.29 billion to N4.05 billion in 2015 for FY 2015, while Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc posted a decline of 23.8 per cent in profit from N6.39 billion to N4.87 billion in 2015.

According to financial reports, both companies revenue dropped by 13.5 per cent and 19.3 per cent in Total Nigeria and Mobile Oil Nigeria respectively.

The multinational companies increased in operating expenses and sluggish revenue contributed to weak earnings in the year under review.

On shareholders returns on investment, Total Nigeria declared N12.00 dividend, while Mobil Oil Nigeria shareholders are expected to approve N7.20 dividend as against N9.00 and N6.60 dividend declared in 2014 financial.

In contrast, Forte Plc and MRS Nigeria announced an impressive profit for the year following cost effectiveness in finance income generation.

Forte profit for the year rose by 30 per cent from N4.46 billion in 2014 to N5.79 billion recorded in 2015. MRS Nigeria also recorded a growth of 25 per cent in profit to N935.6 million from N746 million in 2014.

Revenue generation in 2015 was relatively on decline as MRS Oil Nigeria recorded a decline of six per cent from N92 billion to N87.1 billion. Forte Oil also recorded a decline of 27 per cent from N170 billion in 2014 to N124.6 billion recorded in 2015.

The board of Forte Oil had proposed dividend payout of N3.45k per share.

In a statement, the Group Chief Financial Officer, Forte Oil Plc, Mr Julius Omodayo-Owotuga, said the decline in revenue of 27 per cent was as a result of the company strategy to reduce importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) so as to reduce the Company’s exposure to subsidy receivables from the Federal Government.

He added that, “other income increased by 190 per cent due to sale of Investment property, investment in securities held to maturity, freight income from the investment made in the 100 trucks of the previous financial year to mention a few.

“Our ability to provide a profit for our shareholders is testament to our belief that the business is on a solid and safe trajectory and will continue to consolidate on gains made.”

Analysts, however, attributed the decline in revenue to scarcity of PMS and Federal Government unclear policies in the sector, while saying that this performance would translate into decline in most companies’ profit.

The Federal Government had, late last year, reduced the price of PMS from 97 per litre to N87, another factor analysts said has effect to decline revenue.

They added that the current price of N86.50 might also impinge revenue growth in 2016.

The President, Nigeria Association for Energy Economics, Professor Wumi Iledare, had noted that the delayed subsidy payment and the FG reduction in PMS Price contributed to poor revenue and profit in 2015.

He said increased challenges in the sector have also affected oil marketing companies’ profits.

He said, “So many factors can be attributed to petroleum marketing companies’ worst performance in 2015. The federal government has failed in paying subsidy claims on time and the low price of petroleum as also contributed to decline performance.

“Scarcity of petroleum was another factor that contributed to decline in revenue. Some of these companies were selling at a higher price despite lesser quantity supplied.”

Iledare noted that it is not the responsibility of the government to import petroleum into the country for consumption

According to him, “I think the government should stop subsidizing petroleum Products in Nigeria by liberalising the sector. Government should work on the moribund refineries and let experts in the sector take charge.  Let government put modality in place for environment that is conducive for business operations,” he added.

Commenting also, the Managing Director, APT Securities Limited, Mr. Kasimu Kurfi, said the unstable global oil prices have impacted negatively on petroleum marketing sector.

He said, “the price fluctuation in the global oil prices have created investors sentiment in the sector. Since the new government took over, stakeholders are yet to see serious government policies in the sector; that has affected the economy generally.

“The decline in revenue will surely affect petroleum marketing companies’ profit and investors should not expect impressive dividend by the end of 2015 accounts,” he explained.

Punch with additional report from Tribune

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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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