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Govs oppose Senators on cabinet rejig

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  •  Cholera kills six in Lagos, 39 under observation

Governors, yesterday, disagreed with the leadership of the National Assembly over their call for the redeployment or outright removal of two ministers for their inability to effectively manage the economy, which had since slipped into recession.

It will be recalled that many of the outspoken senators, fresh from their vacation, on Wednesday, had called for the outright sack or redeployment of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, and his Finance counterpart, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who are saddled with the task of managing the ailing economy as a means of expediting its recovery from recession.

The heated debate, which once again, brought to the fore, the division in the Senate, came barely 24 hours  after the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had pleaded with the Federal Government to consider the sale of oil assets to quicken the recovery of the economy from recession and provide relief to suffering Nigerians.

But rising from the NEC meeting presided over by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the members expressed support for the plans and proposals of the Federal Government to steer the country out of recession.

While acknowledging the current economic challenges facing the nation, the governors endorsed the work of the President’s Economic Management Team and specifically commended the ministers of Budget and National Planning, and Finance. One of the governors at the NEC meeting told our correspondent that the members expressed confidence in the two ministers, attesting to their efforts, competence and capabilities in managing the nation’s economy.

The governor said they were convinced that Nigeria’s economic crisis was not caused by the two ministers but by failing oil price, the only major source of income.

The NEC members appeared to have been impressed with the presentation by the two ministers pointing to crucial steps being taken by the Federal Government to re-jig the economy and end the suffering of Nigerians.

Udoma had revealed, among others, that the economy slipped into recession due to the nation’s over-dependence on oil, which price the country had no control over but expressed optimism that the crisis was an opportunity for restructuring and resetting the economy for growth and development.

According to him, ‘’the President’s EMT is working on a number of strategies to generate immediate larger injection of funds into the economy through asset sales, advance payment of licence renewals, infrastructure concessioning and use of recovered funds to reduce funding gaps as well as fast-track procedures through legislation and implementation of strategic plan of the budget.’’

In the meantime, six people have died of cholera in  Isolo  Local Government Area  of Lagos State after eating contaminated Abacha, a local delicacy of the people of the South-East geopolitical zone.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who briefed the press about the development at  the state’s secretariat on Thursday,  stated that 39 other persons  were under observation and receiving treatment  at public and private health facilities in Isolo.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoea disease with or without vomiting caused by a bacteria referred to as vibro cholerae and it is transmitted through ingestion of food or water contaminated with infected faeces.

Idris, who stated that seven out of the 15 samples taken to the Public Health Laboratory, Yaba,  after an upsurge of diarrhoea cases was reported in some communities in Isolo, tested positive to vibro cholerae.

He stated, “Six deaths were recorded among the 45 cases. Majority of the patients did not present with the classical rice-water stool, rather they presented with atypical diarrhoea and vomiting.

“After a thorough analysis of the  ano-rectal swabs that were collected from 15 cases,  vibrio cholerae was confirmed  and found to be the Ogawa strain of the virus.

“Twenty-two of the 26 that  were  being managed at the Isolo General Hospital and the Lagos Mainland Hospital have been discharged, one  died, while three are still on admission at the Lagos Mainland Hospital. The three patients are still on admission but they are in stable condition.”

The commissioner noted that water and food analysis done at the Lagos State Drug Quality Control Laboratory showed that Abacha, a local salad,  that was eaten by many of the victims, was the source of the infection.

Idris said, “The main suspected source of infection is the salad called Abacha, a staple food  that is consumed regularly in the area. Samples of the local salad and the well water they consume in the area revealed the presence of vibrio cholerae, Salmonella species and E.coli in Abacha and the water sample taken from one of the two wells in the area.”

Vanguard with additional report from Punch

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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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