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Govt plans N350b quarterly injection into economy



Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun yesterday spoke of the Federal Government’s plans to inject N350 billion into the economy quarterly to stimulate growth.

Speaking on Sunrise, a Channels TV programme, she said the fund will be released as soon as the budget is signed.

Said Mrs Adeosun: “As soon as the budget is signed, we are going to pump N350 billion into the economy in this quarter and we are going to do so every quarter until we stimulate growth. And we would see growth if we spend money on those things that would create jobs.”

To Mrs Adeosun, “there are no quick solutions to fixing the economy.

“If you have cancer, you cannot take panadol; you have to take proper medication. I don’t want to come here and give people false hope. I don’t want to use the word magic because ministers get into trouble when they use the word “magic”. It has to be done painstakingly,” she said.

The minister said the drop in crude oil prices presented a good opportunity to reposition the economy, adding that the opportunity for diversification of the economy created by the crisis should not be wasted.

“Everybody is now extremely sober. Every Nigerian is sober. All the governors have realised that oil price can plummet from $110 per barrel to $28 per barrel over such a short period of time and we could be so exposed that we cannot even pay salaries.

“So, there is a sobriety that has come in and I don’t think we should waste it. We are working very hard with the states and we said to them, first of all we are not bailing them out; we have said we would have a fiscal structuring plan. Whatever we are doing is conditional; they must go and drive efficiency.”

On the  Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), Mrs Adeosun said the Federal Government wanted to “reposition it and have it focused in line with the government’s objective, which is investments in infrastructure”.

The government  realised that even with 30 per cent of the budget, the country’s infrastructure gap is so wide that government alone cannot bridge it, she said.

“So, what we are hoping is that the Sovereign Wealth Fund now becomes a channel to attract further private money, particularly from investment funds from abroad. So, we really want to focus on infrastructure – toll roads, bridges, power plants, things that would help the economy grow.”

She went on: “Let me explain the structure of states and Federal Government. Fifty-two per cent of the money actually comes to the Federal Government. So, even if the Federal Government say they want to spend theirs, the Federal Government too didn’t save its portion. Federal government was not saving. In fact, Federal Government was borrowing, even to pay salaries. And that is where the disconnect comes in.

“So, I think it is largely unfair for the Federal Government to say ‘states were the ones that made me to spend’. I can spend mine, but I can’t force you to spend yours. The Federal Government didn’t save its share. So, collectively, I don’t think we should be trading blames. I think what we should be doing now is to look at the lessons we have learnt. The federal, states and local governments must have savings. Even if we don’t have savings, we can have investments. Look at Saudi Arabia; it has about $700 billion of reserves unspent, and we have about $28 billion. Oil goes, oil comes, but they still have something to show for it.”

She said the government was focused on revamping domestic production as part of efforts to diversify the economy.

“If we just feed ourselves rather than importing food, we would create jobs and wealth. We have a huge population, a huge land mass and what is missing, perhaps, is, unfortunately, infrastructure”.

The minister also disagreed with a recent comment by a former minister, Oby Ezekwesili, that President Muhammadu Buhari has introduced “archaic and opaque” economic policies which are hurting the poor.

Adeosun said: “I don’t agree that we have a command and control economy. What we are trying to have is a planned economy. There must be some planning. When we were growing, they used to say Nigeria has the highest number of private jets and we would all clap for that.

“But we also have the most terrible unemployment rate. So, what we are trying to do is to plan for the future and have an economy that meets the needs of Nigerians. We are a huge economy, so we shouldn’t have an economy where growth is not inclusive and allows few people to prosper at the expense of others. So, I don’t think we have a command and control economy.”



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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