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FG, stakeholders firm up implementation plans on auto policy



The Federal Government, vehicle manufacturers, dealers and licensed Customs agents, among other stakeholders, have agreed to leave no stone unturned in their bid to ensure that the ongoing implementation of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan is sustained in line with global best practices. The stakeholders agreed that the sustained implementation of the policy with periodic reviews to suit economic needs was in the interest of Nigerians and the Nigerian economy.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said that the extensive stakeholders’ consultations and collaboration had afforded the Federal Government the opportunity to access the level of progress so far recorded in the implementation of the policy with a view to addressing major challenges facing players in the sector.

The minister, who spoke after a meeting with members of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents in Abuja, added that with the level of success so far recorded, 10 more auto plants had finalised plans to begin operations in Nigeria before the end of this year.

Aganga said, “Within the past one week, we have been holding consultative meetings with stakeholders in the automotive industry, including all the vehicle assemblers across the country and the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents.

“This is to review the current level of the implementation of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan; to assess the level of progress made so far; to understand the challenges facing the players in the sector and what we need to do differently.”

He added, “Since the commencement of the implementation of the policy in July 2014, we have been meeting with all the stakeholders in the auto industry. This is to ensure that we carry everyone along so that we can fast-track the implementation of the policy and achieve the overall objectives of the policy in terms of job creation, industrialisation, local content development and reduction of pressure on our foreign exchange due to massive importation of vehicles into the country.

“Last week, we met with all the vehicle manufacturers/assemblers in the country. On Monday this week, we met with Clearing Agents. Also, we will be meeting with agents/dealers on used cars. This is because we believe that there is the need to consult with all the stakeholders in the auto industry as we go ahead with the implementation of the new auto policy.”

Aganga, who expressed satisfaction with the level of progress made so far with the implementation of the seven-month old auto policy, said the government and operators in the sector were focusing on local production of vehicle component parts in order to create more jobs and generate wealth for Nigerians.

He said, “From the stakeholders meetings we have held so far, I must say that we are particularly encouraged by the level of interest and enthusiasm being shown towards the new automotive policy by Nigerians and also by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

“The bottom line is that everyone is saying that so far, we have exceeded our expectations. If anyone had told us that about 22 OEMS would sign into the new auto policy in less than one year of its implementation, we might not have believed it.Currently, we have about four of them that are assembling vehicles in Nigeria. We are expecting another 10 OEMs to start assembling cars in the country before the end of this year.”

Aganga added, “Together with the major players in the sector, we have discussed and agreed on ways of accelerating the local production of automotive component parts on a product by product basis. Also, we have focused on how to establish an affordable vehicle financing scheme as quickly as possible.

“In this regard, we have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WestBank, (the bank that finances one out of every three cars produced in South Africa) to finance the purchase of new cars for Nigerians at a very low interest rate.

The bank will commence operation very soon. The whole idea is to make finance available for Nigerians who are buying new cars assembled in Nigeria, with an option to pay back within a period of four to five years.”


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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