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CBN adds overseas tuition fees, medical tourism to forex prohibition list

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  • As Nigerians beg NASS to repeal law permitting husbands to beat wives

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has added overseas school fees and medical tourism to its list of items prohibited from the interbank foreign exchange window.

This brings the items on the forex prohibition list to 43 in number.

On Thursday, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State recommended the addition of the two items to the list.

He was speaking at the Cable Newspaper colloquium in Lagos. In reaction to the development, the naira has hit a record low of 325 to the dollar, while the pound trades for 450.

This follows shortage of foreign exchange caused by importers scrambling for the greenback to meet their obligations overseas. While traders expect the naira to weaken further in coming days, the CBN official exchange rate has remain unchanged at 197 naira to the dollar.

Meanwhile, Nigerians, under a coalition of over sixty Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, have urged the National Assembly to repeal section 55 of the Penal Code which they said permitted a man to beat his wife. ‎

The group which made the call at an interactive session with both the Senate Committee on Diaspora & Non-Governmental Organisations and the House of Representatives Committee on Civil Society & Development Partners, in Abuja, decried that the law, provided that a man could beat his wife, so far it does not result to ‎”grievous bodily harm”. ‎

Specifically, section 55 states that, “Nothing is an offence which does not amount to the infliction of grievous hurt upon any person and which is done: By a parent or guardian for the purpose of correcting his child or ward, such child or ward being under eighteen years of age; “ by a schoolmaster for the purpose of correcting his child under eighteen years of age entrusted to his charge; or by a master for the purpose of correcting a child servant or apprentice, such servant or apprentice being under eighteen years of age; or by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife, such husband and wife being subject to any native law or custom in which such correction is recognised as lawful”. ‎

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, the Executive Director of Centre LSD, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, insisted that there are many laws in Nigeria that needs to be changed. He regretted that under the aforementioned section, ‎bodily harm was defined as a harm that could lead to someone being hospitalised for at least 21 days.

“The ugly implication here is that ‎when the victim is hospitalised for 20 days; the law does not regard the case as one that resulted to grievous bodily harm. Besides, what happens to those that were not taken to the hospital?

“We as CSOs are therefore using this ‎platform to beg that you people must not leave the parliament and allow that law to remain”. ‎ Besides, Igbuzor, tasked the 8th session of the NASS to handle their oversight functions with sincerity, saying “If the legislature were doing there oversight properly, these monumental corruption we are discovering today would not have taken place”.

In her opening address, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Rose Oko, said she would relate the demand of the CSOs to the NASS.

‎ “This meeting is fundamental in many ways. It intrinsically offers the legislature and the CSOs a critical opportunity to come together and share ideas towards fashioning out a functional working relationship for the greater good of national development.

“This is germane because the legislature and CSOs pursue a common goal that borders on good governance and development. In context and perspective, civil society organisations are generally known as non-state actors that voluntarily mediate between the individual and the state.

“It is ideally development-driven, promoting through advocacy; human rights. Civil liberties, transparency, effectiveness, openness, responsiveness and accountability in government- all ingredients of good governance of the country”, she added.

On his part, Chairman of the Reps Committee, Hon. Peter Akpatason, said there was need for CSOs in the country to be classified according to their thematic areas of intervention, to make it easier for the legislative committees to know who to relate with on any subject matter.

Earlier, the leader of the group and Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, insisted that there are many laws in the country that ought to be reviewed by the National Assembly.

Channels  with additional report from Vanguard.

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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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