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FG determines to save $45.5bn spent importing steel, aluminium yearly —Osinbajo



THE Federal Government has said that it is determined to save over $45.5 billion being spent by Nigeria in importing approximately 250 million metric tonnes of processed steel and aluminium products per annum in the next few years.

Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of an integrated steel project owned by Kam Steel Company, an indigenous steel company in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Tuesday, the vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said the government hoped to realise the objective with investment and support of indigenous steel mills in the country.

The vice-president, who said that the 30 existing steel rolling mills in the country had capacity of producing about 6.5 million metric tonnes per annum, added that 18 of the mills in operation produced 2.8million metric tonnes per annum from melting of scraps.

“Yet, according to the world steel needs, the global iron and steel estimated demands is $9.6 trillion per annum,” he said.

He, therefore, said the country must be ambitious in its industrialisation effort in this area, adding that “in- deed, the need for increased levels of investment in these areas has never been more demanding than this time.

“Steel plays unequivocal roles in the industrialisation and infrastructure plan of the Federal Government. This administration is committed to fast-tracking Nigeria’s industrialisation and is committed to ensuring that there is a conducive environment, not just for industrialists, but particularly for the steel industy.

“We encourage investors like Kam Industry, to participate in the “industrialisation efforts of this country and to ensure that we become necessary force for steel products within the shortest possible time.

“We have found that one of the ways to achieve this goal is by making Nigeria more business-friendly and attracting local and foreign investment, thereby creating much needed jobs.”

However, any perception in the investment community that Nigeria is not a conducive place to do business with effectively, deflate the mechanism for massive investment required to bring the poorest Nigerians out of poverty.

“We are not unaware of the challenges currently facing industrialists in Nigeria. And this is why on our part, government remains relentless in our efforts to remove the obstacles and roadblocks that have long afflicted industrial activities in Nigeria.

“We are already making serious efforts to ensure that we actualise every bit of the change agenda, which we laid before the people of this country when we were elected. Indeed, we are repositioning the country for inclusive growth and sustainable development, by getting the fundamental rights through the fiscal, monetary and trade policies. We are committed to diversifying the economy away from over-dependence on oil and creating an enabling environment to facilitate private sector-led growth and development.

“The government is investing in critical infrastructure by encouraging the private sector and advocating growth inclusion, particularly job creation, among other social safety net initiatives.

“To attain this feat, this administration is prioritising key areas, such as manufacturing, industrialisation, agriculture and agro-allied sector and solid minerals. We are determined to diversify the economy through increased production and export promotion. We will support companies such as Kam Industries in promoting local material content and patronage of made in Nigeria goods.

“We targeting an enabling environment from which it is progressively easier to do business. Our policies are predictable and consistent with macro-economic stability with the government acts as a partner to business and investment and not a competitor.”

Also speaking, the Minister for Solid Minerals Development, Mr Kayode Fayemi, said the presence of the vice-president at the event, was a demonstration of the current government’s commitment to an economic diversification strategy.

“This enabling environment is what has given Kam Industries the muscle to do this project. Two weeks ago, I was in Okpella, Edo State, for a similar foundation laying ceremony, where the Dangote Industry was also putting on the ground a billion dollar cement factory in Okpella and that clearly shows that the policy thrust of Kam is mirroring what this government is all about.

“We want to ensure that we achieve the backward integration that you highlighted in your policy thrust. We are committed to ensuring to put in place import substitution that will reduce the foreign exchange expenditure of the country on import. We are also committed to ensuring that we revive the Ajaokuta Steel plant and we want to work with you in achieving all of these objectives,” he said.



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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