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Buhari Accuses FG of Refusing to Bring Down Fuel Price

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led federal government to stop stealing from Nigerians and allow them to enjoy the relief that has come to the consumers of petroleum products globally.

A statement from the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the APC presidential campaign said it was disturbing that in spite of the fall in the global price of crude oil, Nigerians still buy petroleum products at pump prices as if the global price of crude oil had remained at  $100 per barrel.

The statement said: “The current attempt by the government to deregulate the prices of some petroleum products has been completely compromised to satisfy (a) few money bags to the detriment of the Nigerian people and the economy.

“The price of diesel, which has been deregulated since 2009 still sells at the pump price of N150 and N170 per litre, the same pump price when the international benchmark per barrel of crude was over $100. Now that the international benchmark has dropped to $47.5 per barrel as at Monday, we ask: where is the deregulation and the relief which it ought to bring to local consumers of diesel?

“For the Nigerian consumers, unfortunately the collapse of crude oil price since October 2014 has not translated into any change in diesel, kerosene and petrol prices across the country.

“We challenge the federal government to reconcile the information on the website of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), indicating the maximum open market price of diesel pay per litre in December 2014 as being at N111.6 and the fact that the price has come down to less than $50 as at Monday.

“We want to posit that the maximum indicative benchmark open consumers of diesel should pay is at a margin below N100 per litre. Therefore, Nigerians are being short-changed by about N50 to N70 on every litre of diesel sold by government.

“The implication of this is that with average consumption of about 12 to 15 million litres, Nigerians are currently extorted of amounts between N600 million to N1 billion daily due to corruption-induced poor regulatory oversight of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. No wonder some few industry players are smiling to the banks and buying private jets, while small scale industrialists who buy diesel on daily basis for power generation and transportation find it difficult to break-even with their businesses.

“Similarly on kerosene, information available on the website of the PPPRA puts the Open Market Price at N114.71 per litre although the market price is anything above N150 per litre when the global price for a barrel of crude oil was $65. Now that international price of crude is at $47.5 per barrel, why are Nigerians still buying kerosene per litre at the same price? Why are Nigerians not benefitting from the global shortfall in the prices of crude by having a cut in the pump prices of petroleum products?

“We are aware that there are examples in other African countries where governments have cut the pump prices of petroleum products to reflect the changes in the global oil market. Countries like South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya have announced cuts in pump prices of petroleum products, why can’t the Nigerian government do same?

“Given the failure of government to do the right thing by announcing a cut in the pump prices of these products, we are compelled to draw the conclusion that the federal government is short-changing Nigerians ostensibly to fund the campaign of the PDP presidential candidate.”

“The APC Presidential Campaign challenges the federal government to make explanations on why Nigerians cannot benefit pricing reliefs on petroleum products as occasioned by the fall in the global price of crude oil. Anything should of this is a fraud and Nigerians should take note.

“As for PMS (petrol) the only product the government agrees as regulated at N97 per litre, the irony is that it does not even cost much as in the United States, a country that was importing oil from Nigeria until recently.

“Moreover, even the current budget is still heavy on subsidy with an allocation of N458.68 billion, a scheme that has become a conduit pipe over the years for which the children of ruling party leaders have been beneficiaries.”—This Day

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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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