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Buhari To Revisit NIMASA-NLNG Imbroglio, To Curb Impunity



… As Nigeria Prepares to acquire two satellites from China for $701m

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his Government would take a harder look at the imbroglio between the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), so as to curb impunity on both sides of the divide.

NIMASA-LogoThe President gave the assurance during his media chat, even as he warned that Government may not pay equal attention to the welfare of new students going overseas for studies, as those who are already, in terms of Government provisions.

Buhari said Government was determined to ascertain the actual status of the face off, in terms of how much the NLNG actually paid, why it allegedly declined payment due to Government, as well as what happened to the monies it actually remitted to the agency.

Specifically, he assured that every monies collected by Government parastatals and institutions would first be paid into Government coffers, as the era where agencies like NIMASA, Customs, NNPC collect and spend government revenue before remitting the rest is gone.

The Dr. Dosumu led NIMASA management had taken up a case with the NLNG,  stressing the need for the latter to pay 2 percent cabotage and 3 percent freight levies for shipping by Bonny Gas Limited, a subsidiary of NLNG.

But the jaw-jaw snowballed into a real fight, under Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi in 2013, when the NIMASA bared NLNG operations for non compliance, resulting in a legal battle which culminated in the agency collected about N22 bn. The actual sum was estimated at well over $400million.

The NLNG while playing for time, had argued that the (Fiscal Incentives, Guarantees and Assurances) Act of 2004 Laws of the Federation, granted it exemption from the payment of taxes to government of Nigeria for a period of 10 years or till the achievement of a certain minimum threshold in the price of gas.

It also relied on a paragraph in the Second Schedule of its enabling Act which exempted it from being bound by any new laws, regulations, taxes, imposts or charges of whatever nature.

Meanwhile, the President during the media chat also warned, that his Government, perhaps on a bid to save hard currency, may pay more attention to Nigerians who are currently studying abroad, over and above those who would be proceeding on such ventures, beginning from this year.

Buhari who said Government would leave no stones unturned, to develop infrastructures and foreclose a situation where students sit at windows to receive lectures in the Nigerian universities, said he would ensure that the Federal Ministry of Education and the Central Bank of Nigeria brainstormed, to ensure that those already studying abroad where not unduly hampered by Government policy banning use of Nigerian ATMs (Master cards) in overseas banks. But, the palliative measures, he warned, may not cover new students; even as he totally ruled out any immediate plan, for devaluation of the nation’s currency.

Buhari highlighted that his decision was based on his past experiences, including when he was in charge of Petroleum Resources; stressing that devaluation would only further worsen the nation’s economic woes. He would rather work towards boosting domestic proficiency and productivity, through upping capital investment, in addition to ensuring prudence in public finance, Naira exchange stability, via the Treasury Single Account, TSA, policy.

“Devaluation, if you look at our current economic development level and the challenges of the oil industry downturn, will only put us at the receiving end and further aggravate our position as a country”, he indicated further, noting his strong support, for CBN banning of importers of items like toothpicks from sourcing forex for their importation from the official window.

He however affirmed that his Government lacks any knowledge on the whereabouts of the Chibok Government Secondary School girls, abducted by Boko Haram since April 14, 2014, especially in terms of whether or not they are still alive.

He also affirmed that former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki currently standing trial, just like the Biafran Radio anchor-man, Nnamdi Kanu may stay longer behind the cell, whether or not they secure bails, because of the severity of the alleged misdemeanours.

Kanu, according to President Buhari, has both Nigerian and British passports, yet, did not use any of the passports to enter into the country. Meaning that if you took the passports from him and grant him bail, you may not be able to track him again.

In the meantime, Nigeria has opened talks with China for the financing and construction of two new communication satellites at a cost of $701m.

The new satellites, to be known as NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3, are to serve as backup to the country’s existing communications satellite, NigComSat-1R, which was put in the orbit in December 2011.

The General Manager, Satellite Applications, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Mr. Abdulrahman Adelajah, disclosed these at a media parley hosted by the company in Abuja on Wednesday.

He also said that NigComSat had won a bid to provide In-Orbit Test for Belarus for the launching of its new satellite from the company’s Abuja ground station.

Adelajah said the China EXIM Bank would finance the construction of the new satellites, which would likely be handled by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation.

He stated, “Following the successful launch of NigComSat-1R, two additional satellites, NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3, are required to provide backup services, expand operations and boost customer confidence.

“The Federal Government has already commenced budgetary provision in this respect. In furtherance of the sustained commercial relations between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Finance has been negotiating with the China EXIM Bank to provide a loan facility to support a series of
Nigerian developmental projects, including the manufacture and launch of NigComSat-2 and 3 at a cost of $701m.”

He added, “Both NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3 satellites are designed to operate in a geostationary orbit and delivered to orbit locations of 19 degrees East and 22 degrees West, respectively for provision of C-Band, Ku-Band and Ka-Band payload capability for a minimum service life of 15 years.

“NigcomSat-2 is designed to cover Nigeria, Middle East, China and other Asian countries, whilst NigComSat-3 will cover Nigeria, and the South and North America. With the three satellites in orbit, it will be possible for the Nigerian telecommunications industry to dominate the African market within a period of five years after the launch of the satellites.”

Nigeria’s first communications satellite, NigComSat-1, was designed and built by the CGWIC at a cost of $400m. The satellite, which was put in the orbit in May 2007, was deorbited in November 2008 following the development of a power fault. It was replaced in December 2011 with NigComSat-1R by the same company.

In a statement made available to our correspondent, the Head of Public Affairs, NigComSat, Mr. Adamu Idris, explained that the company had been announced as the winner of a bid to provide In-Orbit Test and Carrier Spectrum Services for the Belintersat-1 satellite owned by Belarus.

The Belarus satellite, also constructed by the CGWIC, is set for launch in January 2016.

Additional report from Upshot


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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