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FG empowers SON to jail substandard product dealers for 10yrs

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The Federal Government has empowered Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to jail dealers in substandard products for ten years. Based on this, the SON has given a 24 hours ultimatum to tyre dealers in the country to  destroy every fake tyre in their stock or face prosecution.

Acting Director General of SON, Dr. Paul Angya, gave the ultimatum at a stakeholder’s forum for tyre dealers in Lagos, stating: “Our new Act 2015 empowered us to jail promoters of sub-standard product up to 10 years and we will not relent to jail any culprit.

Buhari Angya who said that the era of seizure and destruction of fake and substandard products was over, made reference to a recent report by the Road Safety Commission stating that out of 8,986 accidents recorded in 2015, 722 were due to tyre bursts, resulting in the death of 446 persons. He threatened to charge with murder,  any dealer of fake tyre caught, saying, ‘’We are going to stamp out corruption among the tyre dealers, “we are going to set up a taskforce and we will not sleep until we confirm that accidents in the country are not traced to substandard tyres again.”

He said that the agency has the legal backing to shut down any shop displaying fake tyres for at least three months without going to court and that offenders could also bag up to ten years imprisonment without any option of fine He urged the tyre dealers to cooperate with the organization to put an end to importation of sub-standard tyres into the country.

“We are ready to eliminate importation of sub-standard products into Nigeria, because of this we have reached out to other government agencies to ensure that we work together and stop smugglers of fake products into the country.

“If you have fake tyre in your shop make sure you disposed them in the next 24 hours, thereafter our team will visit you and we will charge you for murderer. “To eliminate corruption from SON, we are going to introduce e-payment, e-invoice and e-receipt to stamp out corruption from the system,” he said.

Improving local products Speaking on improving locally produced goods, Angya said that the organization has a vision to get closer to the people so that their goods and farm products will be up to global standard.

“To ease our work and improve quality of goods and products in Nigeria, we are working to improve expansion of SON facilities across the country so that people in Sokoto will not travel to Maiduguri to text their products” SON boss said the agency is doing is best to strengthen its laboratories system to ensure that Nigeria products will not be rejected in oversea.

“What many of our farmers does before they can take their products to abroad is to first take it to Ghana laboratory for text, once the goods pass through text in Ghana the products will send to abroad in the name of Ghana and Ghana government will take the glory.” He affirmed that the practice of taking Nigeria products to another country and label them another country name is over.

Mrs. Mbah Adaora, a representative of the Consumers Protection Council (CPC), advised the tyre dealers to heed the advice and desist from the importation and sale of substandard tyres causing death and other related loss in the country.

Meanwhile, Vice Chairman, Nigeria Tyre Marketers, Mr. Okechukwu Eze, urged the government to work on the roads that are in bad shape across the country which according to him is affecting the vehicle tyres and thereby causing accidents

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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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