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Giant Containerships to Access NYNJ Terminals as of June



  •  As Economy in rebound shows Leading firms in stock exchange posting N1.74trn revenue 

In less than two months, ships of up to 18,000 TEUs will be able to pass below the Bayonne Bridge, connecting New Jersey to New York, and access terminals located in New Jersey and Staten Island.

Namely, the USD 1.6 billion raising of the Bayonne Bridge roadway project is ahead of schedule and will allow the world’s ultra-large, environmentally friendly container vessels to pass beneath the span as of June 30, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced on Tuesday.

This would mean that the project would be finished six months ahead of scheduled completion date.

Recently U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York and pilot organizations lifted air draft restrictions enabling vessels carrying up to 9,800 TEUs to call terminals west of the Bayonne Bridge without worrying about tidal conditions. Soon, the newly raised roadway will provide a clearance of 215 feet – the same as the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the announcement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reads.

“‘Raise the Roadway’ is a visionary project, accomplishing what once seemed impossible for the long-term benefit of our regional economy,” Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said.

“It began with the unprecedented accomplishment of building a new roadway through an existing bridge structure, with traffic continuing to flow on a lower roadway. Removal of the lower roadway will make it one of the most important American infrastructure projects in history to facilitate global trade.”

The project was launched in 2013 so as to enable the ever bigger boxships to travel under it, boosting the port’s competitiveness. The bridge currently has a navigational clearance of 151 feet, which means that only ships ranging between 8,000 to 9,000 TEUs can pass under it.

In February, a new elevated roadway through the existing arch bridge and over the original roadway was opened, while maintaining traffic flow on the lower span. The bridge is scheduled to be built to its full width by 2019.

The announcement comes on the back of the completion of the 50-foot Harbor Deepening Project.

The US East Coast ports, mainly New York and Norfolk are expected to reap the most fruit from the cargo influx from the expanded Panama Canal.

In the meantime, on the side of recovery optimism, early corporate results for first quarter 2017 (Q1’17) from sector leaders in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, have indicated a real rebound may be underway in 2017.

Financial Vanguard’s inquest into the reports turned in to the NSE for Q1’17, indicates general upbeat in turnover and Profit Before Tax, PBT, with companies drawn from various sectors of the NSE posting combined revenue of N1.74 trillion, representing 45 per cent increase against the N1.2 trillion reported in the corresponding period of 2016 (Q1’16).

The companies, numbering 62, accounting for the largest capitalization in the stock exchange, also recorded combined PBT of  N270.92 billion, representing 36.9 per cent increase over N197.9 billion in Q1’16.

The results, both the turnover and pre-tax profit of the companies, outperformed the latest GDP and inflation figures, thereby affirming the position by the World Bank and the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who said that Nigeria is already coming out of recession.

Also, the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had last month said that the country will come out of recession in the second quarter of the year. The inflation figure has improved from a high of 18.6 per cent by end 2016 to 17.26 per cent  at end of Q1’17 (March), while the GDP though a contraction at -1.30 per cent in year-on-year, yoy, in Q4’16, is an improvement over the previous quarter when the number contracted -2.24 per cent.

Also the CBN’s latest Manufacturing PMI index at 51.1 index points for the month of April, 2017 compared to 47.1 points recorded in March, showed recovery in the private sector. The PMI index showed that of the 34 sub-sectors surveyed in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, 20 sub-sectors recorded growth in activities, while 14 sub-sectors recorded decline in activities.

Breakdown of the Q1’17 corporate results showed that the oil and gas sector led turnover in percentage terms, rising by 86.3 per cent to N297.4 billion in Q1’17 as against N159.7 billion in Q1’16, far outperforming the nation’s inflation rate and gross domestic product (GDP).

The consumer goods sector followed with 81.8 per cent increase to N225.63 billion against N124.14 billion recorded in Q1’16, while the agriculture sector ranked third, rising by 70.2 per cent to N9.7 billion in Q1, 2017 from N5.7 billion turnover posted in Q1’16.
World Maritime News with additional report from Vanguard


Troops Destroy 51 Illegal Refining Sites, Recover Stolen Crude Oil – DHQ



….Destroy 7 dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, one outboard engine, others

The Defence Headquarters says  troops of Operation Delta Safe have  destroyed 51 illegal oil refining sites and recovered stolen crude oil and refined products in the Niger Delta in the last one week.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, disclosed  in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also apprehended 58 perpetrators of oil theft and denied them of  estimated sum of N668.7 million

He said the troops destroyed seven dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, 141 cooking ovens, one pumping machine, one outboard engine, one tricycle, one speedboat and one tugboat.

According to him, troops recovered 267,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 567,700 litres of illegally refined AGO and 5,000 litres of DPK.

“Troops has maintained momentum against oil theft and arrested persons involved in oil theft in Bonny and Ikpoba Local Government Areas of Rivers and Edo States respectively.

“Troops also arrested suspected armed robbers and foiled illegal bunkering activities in Oshimili South and Ukwa West of Delta and Abia States respectively,” he said.

In the South East, Buba said  troops of Operation UDO KA arrested 15 suspected criminals and repelled attacks by IPOB/ESN criminals in Anambra, Abia and Imo States.

He said the troops conducted raids and rescued kidnapped hostages in Ishielu and Igbo Eze North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi and Enugu States respectively.

He said the troops neutralised three criminals, rescued five kidnapped hostages and recovered 14 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammo.

In the South West, Buba said  troops of Operation AWATSE foiled armed robbery attacks in Orelope and Olorunsogo Local Government Areas of Oyo State and arrested a gunrunner in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.

According to him, troops rescued 15 kidnapped hostages and recovered two vehicles.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he added.

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NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

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