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Asoluka, Oshomoji, Omagbemi urge stakeholders to harness maritime potentials for economic growth

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Asoluka, Oshomoji, Omagbemi urge stakeholders to harness maritime potentials for economic growth

Dr. Chris Asoluka

A revered Maritime guru, Dr Chris Asoluka has described the maritime sector as the nation’s engine for economic growth, due to the volume of international trade and other seaborne activities handled by Nigeria’s seaports.

Dr Chris Asoluka was amongst other experts, which included Mr Muyiwa Oshomoji, the Chief Marketing Officer (Marine), C and I Leasing Plc., who spoke on Thursday, urging stakeholders in the maritime sector to harness the full potential of the industry, in order for Ñigeria to achieve it’s desired economic growth.

The experts spoke during a virtual forum of the Nigeria Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) on the theme: “Role of the Maritime Sector towards the Growth of the Nigerian Economy.”

Asoluka, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nipal Consulting Network, a multidisciplinary firm, described the economic impact of the maritime sector as vast and difficult to measure.

“The economic impact of the maritime sector is vast and difficult to measure; and the shipping and ocean-borne trade are at the core of the maritime sector, being the artery of trade.

“However, in harnessing the sector, there are challenges that require further technical know-how that will keep it up-to-date with modern trends and innovations deployed by developed nations,” he said.

Asoluka urged lawyers, as problem-solvers and advocates, to show more interest as well as capitalise on the opportunities, and to brace up and follow the money.

The maritime lawyer said a challenge that should be addressed was to flag discrimination mechanism in the differential treatment of ships at the ports, including financial burden and allotment of cargoes.

He also noted the exorbitant freight/discrimination (11 per cent against 5-6 per cent global average) as a noteworthy challenge.

“Between 2004 and 2013, a total of 58,600 vessels called at Nigerian ports. Only 2,465 vessels were indigenous operators through chartered mode and other forms which represent only 4.21 per cent while the foreigners had 95.79 per cent.

“Revenue losses in freight earnings and the Nigerian economy is estimated at 68 billion dollars.

“Of this amount, indigenous operators earned only 2,637,688,086.50 dollars representing less than 4 per cent while their foreign counterparts earned about 65,373,411,051.61 dollars, about 96.12 per cent of the total freight value.

“Other challenges are port infrastructure development, efficiency and competitiveness; manpower development; agitation and the desirability of development of merchant marines by developing countries, and national carrier and cargo support.

“Some other challenges include cabotage, criminality, piracy and terrorism,” he said.

Asoluka said when these challenges are addressed, it would give room for harnessing of some opportunities presented by the shipping value chain.

Some of the opportunities, the expert noted, included dredging, cargo brokers, port/ship agency, harbours/terminals, ship registry/regulatory services, ship repair maintenance, husbandry, research/consultancy services, and Maritime law/arbitration, and others.

The Chief Marketing Officer (Marine), C and I Leasing Plc.,an Indigenous maritime company, Mr Muyiwa Oshomoji also spoke on the fact that the Federal Government intended to generate seven trillion naira from the maritime industry in 2022.

He agreed that such revenue could actually be generated as income from these fields: shipping, marine services, oil and gas, logistics, and others.

“The oil and gas industry is currently undergoing diversification, through the Cabotage Act, Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), and Local Content Act.

Mrs Constance Omagbemi, the Principal Legal Officer of, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),

“More indigenous and local owners are participating in the cabotage trade and growing their asset base.

They are also expanding to other West African countries,” he said.

Oshomoji added that the industry was evolving fast due to a rapidly changing business environment, technological advancement and changing business models.

In her contribution, Mrs. Constance Omagbemi, the Principal Legal Officer of, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), noted that shipping was an expensive venture and so needed building efficiency.

Omagbemi said building efficiency would aid the government’s effectiveness in the implementation of maritime policies, and position Nigeria as a leading centre of maritime excellence.

“Effective policy implementation by the government will attract investments and drive the growth of the maritime sector.

“The investments, which will be in infrastructure and human resources, legal and regulatory changes, are anticipated to boost efficiency and effectiveness.

“The current policy drive of NIMASA (Security, Safety & Shipping Development) has restored peace in Nigerian waters and led to the deletion of Nigeria from the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy list,” she said.

Omagbemi added that other policy frameworks that would aid the maritime industry were the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, fiscal incentives and the constitution of the Presidential Committee on Blue Economy among others.

 

Economy

MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

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MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

 The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday in Lagos, warned that Cash-strapping may unwittingly lead, to a 25 percent drop, in the sale of locally-made goods.

The Director General, MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, emphasizing the need for the CBN to intensify efforts at ensuring a seamless transition from old naira to new naira notes, as anything to the contrary would be inimical to manufacturing.

He said if the current hardships being experienced in accessing money persisted for the next three weeks, there would be a possible drop of 25 percent in monthly sales of made-in-Nigeria goods.

He noted that as purchases from the retail end, mostly transacted in cash dry up; there would be a sharp drop in wholesale purchases leading to a glut of unsold inventories in factories.

He added that the situation which was no good for manufacturing, for the government and for the ordinary citizen would lead to compounded crippling lack of patronage for the domestic manufacturer.

Ajayi-Kadir also stressed that the development would also deny government the revenue that would have accrued from consumption taxes and result in the disruption of the daily life and need of the average Nigerian.

“To be clear, there is no doubt that the currency redesign is desirable; there are socioeconomic and political imperatives for the change.

“It is a critical element of the CBN cashless economy policy that should have far-reaching positive results for the economy.

“However, the continued scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes is quite worrisome.

“With our growth prospects heading further south, we can ill afford a downturn in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The negative impact it portends for local producers, the agricultural and distributive segments of our economy is huge.

“It may worsen the bashing our economy has received from both external and internal shocks in recent times,’’ he stressed.

Ajayi-Kadir cautioned that adequate measures should be put in place to ensure a smooth currency transition, particularly in the unbanked areas of Nigeria.

He charged the CBN and Bureaux de Changes to be most engaging at the highest level at this time.

According to him, there is a need for strategic communication and joint operations to ensure widespread and sustained availability and circulation of the redesigned naira notes.

“It is baffling to approach a bank only to be told that there are neither the old nor the new naira notes.

“We hope that the resumption of payment across the counter in the banks and the intensification of the CBN special cash swap arrangement in remote areas will yield positive results.

“I hope that what the country is experiencing is temporary pain and that government will do well to bring the hardship to an end immediately.

“We must make haste to ensure that the price to be paid for this otherwise laudable policy does not outpace the gains,’’ he also cautioned.

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Economy

Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

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Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – OnyemaDisdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

…Shed tears, when he saw Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Libya***

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, says his regret as minister is the disdain with which Nigerians are being treated outside the shores of the country and upon siting their international passports.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the 22nd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) organised to project the achievements of the government.

Onyema was responding to a comment by a journalist who expressed displeasure about how Nigerians travelling abroad were being subjected to harassment upon sitting on their green passports.

The Minister agreed with the position of the newsman and attributed the challenge to the desperation of many Nigerians who took desperate and illegal measures to travel out of the country.

“If there is one thing that I look back to with the greatest regrets in my seven and half years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the situation of Nigerians in foreign countries,” he said.

The minister gave some of the instances he had witnessed and had to wade in to rescue trapped victims in the middle of the desert.

“I went to Libya and I actually shed tears when we went to this camp where they were holding Nigerians.

“There is that whole issue of slavery and of course, all the exploitations that go with it and they told us that there were only a hundred or two hundred Nigerians there,”

“So, we went to the yard and it was one of the most touching things I ever experienced.

“We have all these young boys, 13, 14, 15 years old and they all came out, over a hundred of them and they all stood up to attention,” he narrated.

The minister continued: “As soon as they saw us, they started reciting the Nigerian national anthem and tears came to my eyes.

 “We were told that the girls were used as prostitutes at night.

“When we saw them, the girls told us there were more Nigerians and we insisted they should bring them out.

“Lo and behold, twenty minutes after, they brought out another set which was about 200 Nigerians.

“The President gave directives, that we should charter planes in order to get them out and we did.”

Onyema attributed the despicable situation to the push factor leading a lot of young Nigerians to take desperate and ridiculous risks through the deserts and the high seas.

He said when they even finally got to their so-called dream countries, they got involved in drugs and all sort of crimes which made it difficult for Nigeria’s passport to be respected.

“Those of us in government have to blame ourselves, particularly in the immigration and even in foreign affairs,” he said.

Onyema narrated another scenario where the U.S., Ambassador to Nigeria came to show him the list of Nigerians that were issued visas through Note Verbal to go to the U.S. but they never attended the events they were scheduled for, but absconded.

He said he was also shown the list of those who were not respecting their visa deadlines and requirements, including top Nigerians.

The minister said all the illegal acts and sharp practices contributed to the manner Nigerians were being treated with disdain abroad when they cited their passports.

“In order to reverse the situation and ensure Nigerian passport is given the due respect it deserves, we all have to work hard and behave ourselves.

“We are all suffering from this because we have people with genuine missions seeking to travel abroad looking for visas and they are denied.

“It is a challenge for each and every single one of us and it is impacting negatively on our country.

“We all have the responsibility to salvage the situation,” he said.

Onyema said President Buhari had never rested on his oars on the issue because whichever country he travelled to, he stressed to Nigerians in Diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country.

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Economy

Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev’t — Pantami

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Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev't — Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Thursday said the sector was crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s full potential.

Pantami said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a flight demonstration within the Nigerian Airspace by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd using the NigComSat-1R payload, the L-Band.

The NigComSat-1R navigation (L-Band) payload provides Navigational overlay Services, which have disruptive applications in the aviation and non-aviation sectors.

The event was organised by the SatNav Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), in collaboration with the ANGA programme and NIGCOMSAT and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The overall aim was to provide a knowledge-sharing platform to support stakeholders’ decision-making in the creation of synergies.

This is to enable the collective reaping of benefits provided by SBAS in the continent, including safety, efficiency and environmental protection benefits.

The minister said communication and digital technology was the key enabler of other sectors like security, defence, health, agriculture, education and aviation.

“The satellite covers part of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, it covers parts of Asia and Europe.

”Our satellite here in Nigeria has the capacity to provide the navigation overlay services.

The Nigerian Communications Satellite has the capacity to support the implementation of the SBAS not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa with 54 countries,” Pantami said.

He, however, urged African nations to consider the Nigerian Communication Satellite when the need arises.

Pantami also said the deployment of SBAS by using the navigation overlay services would significantly improve accuracy of signal, its availability and integrity.

“I have directed NIGCOMSAT to collaborate and reach out to the aviation sector to ensure successful implementation of SBAS in Africa,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Mr Tukur Lawal said the success of the flight demonstration underscored the need for collaborative efforts by the relevant agencies.

He said that this would facilitate the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the desired goals of a digital Nigeria, which he said would bring unprecedented results.

”For NIGCOMSAT Ltd to contribute its own quota in digital economy and industrial revolution, we cannot remain in the comfort zone, but rather look for areas of exploring the market both local and international.

”We will give all the support needed and innovations that will meet and convert all weaknesses to successes,” Lawal said.

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