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IMO Council: Nigeria’s Chances Hampered By poor EoDB, Inter-Agency Rift

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IMO Council: Nigeria’s Chances Hampered By poor EoDB, Inter-Agency Rift
IMO Council: Nigeria’s Chances Hampered By poor EoDB, Inter-Agency Rift

Assistant Director, Special Duties Unit at Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Ms. Adaora Nwonu

Government agencies at seaports and the entire maritime sector have been encouraged to collaborate in a bid to drive efficiency and improve Nigeria’s maritime outlook as the nation prepares for the 2021 International Maritime Organization (IMO) Governing Council elections.

Experts have observed that the perception of the nation in the global maritime space is dented by the lack of Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and absence of synergy among government agencies which has worsened the problems at the nation’s ports and entire maritime domain and limits the nation’s chances at the upcoming IMO Council polls.

Maritime experts, including directors at government agencies, stressed this during an online summit with the theme; “Objective Appraisal of Nigeria’s Eligibility for IMO Council Membership”, organized by Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria.

Long vessel dwell-time, seaside congestion, challenges for berthing, corruption, manual processes, poor EoDB, among other factors culminate in the decision-making process for nations that are expected to vote Nigeria at IMO; and until government agencies resolve to work in unison towards addressing these issues, success at IMO Council elections may continue to elude the nation.

Speaking at the summit, an Assistant Director, Special Duties Unit at Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Ms. Adaora Nwonu observed that since 2007, Nigeria has consistently contested the IMO Council elections and lost.

Her words: “Could we decide to do a post-mortem analysis or wait until 2023 to contest again? Perhaps, some of the initiatives Nigeria has put in place like the Maritime Security assets would have been deployed in a sustainable manner such that the international community can see the benefits and Nigeria would have some statistics to share on what it has done to support its candidature.”

“Government came up with ease of doing business to change things, but government agencies have been accused of defaulting the executive orders. Cargo coordination and examination, sharing of manifests in an automated manner is still a challenge and the shipping companies complain that they still have to do hard copies, invest in giant photocopy machines to be able to meet up with the hard copies they have to send to government agencies. Why should government agencies be demanding hard copy manifests at this time of innovation? The same vessels call at other countries and don’t send hard copy manifests.”

She also harped on the need for regulatory agencies to eschew the unhealthy rivalry for space when issues of national interests are at stake, adding that the experiences of shipping companies, ship captains and other foreign parties when conducting maritime business in Nigeria influences their perception of the country and would reflect in the IMO Council elections.

Barr. Emeka Akabogu, Legal Luminary

On his part, a Senior Partner, Akabogu & Associates, Barr. Emeka Akabogu stated that the experience and perception of crews of vessels that berth at the nation’s port with regards maritime traffic and trade facilitation places the nation in a disadvantaged position.

The veteran maritime lawyer cited an example of the MT San Padre Pio vessel that was recently released by the Nigerian Navy after spending three years in detention for bunkering despite the interventions from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, describing the treatment of the vessel as unpalatable even as he noted that several vessels have suffered similar fate in the country.

WISTA Nigeria President, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke

Also speaking at the virtual conference, Nigeria’s Registrar of Ships and Deputy Director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mrs. Nneka Obianyor observed that one of Nigeria’s biggest challenge has been the menace of piracy, adding that the nation has made giant strides to address this with the launch of the Deep Blue Project and the emergence of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act.

Earlier, the President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke stressed that Nigeria needs to look inward and further develop capacity and infrastructures as part of efforts to project the country as a serious minded, focused global maritime player in the region.

Also read: WISTA appoints Dein of Agborland, Patron, as Salami expands Tourism frontiers in Asaba

“The regulatory agencies need to enhance the sector reforms in conformity with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Nigeria as a nation must seriously consider the acquisition of a national career with her flag which will provide sea-time experience for her teeming cadets and seafarers. The IMO Member States are keenly watching to see the commitment of Nigeria towards achieving all these,” Ezeoke said.

IMO Council: Nigeria’s Chances Hampered By poor EoDB, Inter-Agency Rift

Mrs. Chizoba Anyika

Giving the vote of thanks, the Secretary of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Chizoba Anyika encouraged attendees at the conference to utilize the feedback and submissions appropriately with a view to enhancing the nation’s maritime sector and placing the country in an advantageous position at the next IMO Council elections.

Anyika specially thanked the speakers at the online conference, even as she commended the WISTA Diamonds, executives and all participants for their time and notable contributions at the event.

 

Maritime

Reps Demand Restructuring Of Terminal Operators, NPA Licensed Agents

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Reps Demand Restructuring Of Terminal Operators, NPA Licensed Agents

 ..Says “Our goal is to effect changes that will restructure and position it to compete in the global space

The House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbour has demanded the restructuring of Terminal Operators and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Licensed Agents in the country.

Rep. Nnolin Nnaji, Chairman of the committee, disclosed this at the interactive session with terminal operators and NPA licensed agents in Abuja on Thursday.

“Our goal is to effect changes that will restructure the unique and high-tech sector and position it to strategically compete in the global space.

“This sector is very dynamic and we must constantly review the standards, facilities and operational guidelines to keep pace with its obtainable global best practices,” he said.

The lawmaker reiterated the committee’s readiness to ensure that the sector remained one of the best through appropriate legislation and oversight.

“This is to bequeath to Nigerians, ports and harbours that are properly regulated and better managed for greater efficiency.

“It is important to harmoniously promote the objective of professionalising the modus operandi of this sector to improve our country’s Gross Domestic Product and revenue generation.

“We intend to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the industry to ensure that appropriate avenues are created for economic development,” he said.

He said the committee was poised to make the ports a hub for better non-oil revenue generation, adding that the house would continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of ports, harbours and allied services.

In her contribution, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Council for the Registration of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, Urunta Chinyere, advised terminal operators to adopt electronic mode of payment.

“This is to reduce human interface in their operations,” the officer said.

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Maritime

SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

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SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

…Sonny Eja is President, Ekere is 1st Vice President; Iroghama Ogbeifun is Chairman, Technical Committee

When Air Peace made its innocent maiden flight from Nigeria to London on March 30, 2024, the symbolical flight achieved two things: first, it broke the unholy equilibrium fare price amongst available airlines.

Secondly, the gesture sent some powerful signals to the entrenched operators, that a determined indigenous operator has finally berthed; and momentarily, the extortionate fare crashed…! Now, if we should replicate this very gesture in the maritime, with a provision of a ‘national’, but privately run vessels/ carriers, how far or fast would carriage charges crash?

The Air Peace has silently made a deafening statement: no amount of plea would crash prices, except the nation can assertively provide a functional alternative.

SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation
SOAN President, Sonny Eja.

The distance between Lagos and London by flight is about 6 hours and 40 minutes. The distance between London and New York by flight duration is 7h 30m. So, how come the cost of flight from Lagos to London is always twice as much, compared to the cost of flight from London to New York…? 

The answer is simple: Nigeria is an orphan, and there is no effective competition to mitigate arbitrariness. In the maritime sector, however, the country’s fate is worse: shippers are paying twice for cargo freight. Same for handling charges. There was even a time they were paying for as ridiculous a charge as the ‘Weekend’ levy, in the event that you are unlucky to come for clearing by weekends!

 The growing inflation, the poor masses albatross is both artificial and conspiratorial!

First, government’s understanding of the industry is warped and its support, insignificant. The Government functionaries who should assist both the shippers and stakeholders were often either insincere, ignorant or easily cave in under politicians’ pressure. 

No one is as hopeful as the hunter’s wife: she knows her husband did not keep any beast in the forest, yet, she joyfully sings lullaby for the baby on the mat, as she washes the soup pot and grinds the pepper, as she awaits the husband’s return! And the hunter never disappoints.

It is in the same spirit, that shippers would tomorrow, celebrate the inauguration of the incoming President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria SOAN, Sonny Eja.

Those who know him at close range described him as a highly focused, truly inspired and totally committed investor, who never disappoints. He is sold to the cause of the shipping industry development. 

Unarguably, he is acknowledged as a resourceful long runner, who often is not only self-motivating, but equally enjoys the special ability to motivate others  Some said it is for this reason that he is so treasured, by the SOAN maiden Arrowhead and Nigeria’s foremost shipping magnate, Engr. Greg Utomwen Ogbeifun.

The President, fortunately, will be fully assisted by tested and trusted ship owners, with enviable skills and technical know-how.. promoters 

These include Dr Louis Ekere as SOAN’s 1st Vice President; Mr. Gbolahan Shaba, the 2nd Vice President; Mr.Babalola Adefariti – Financial Secretary/ Treasurer; Mr. Bem Garba –  Chairman, Training & Capacity building Committee; the shipping industry Amazon, Ms.  Iroghama Ogbeifun as Chairman Technical Committee; Ms. Bassey Adie -Chairman, Ethics & Privileges Committee; and finally, Mr. Emmanuel Okene, who is the Chairman, Finance and membership Committee.

The Doyen of the Maritime industry, High Chief Adebayo Babatunde Sarumi once congratulated SOAN for lifting Nigeria off the lackluster club of 10-Percenters. 

Now, the whole nation would probably look up to SOAN, to midwife a ‘national carrier’ and permanently crash the menace of intractable inflation!

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Maritime

Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

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Smugglers Altering Vehicles’ Chassis Numbers–Customs

Mr Chedi Wada, the outgoing Comptroller of the Federal Operations Units (FOU) Zone “B”, Kaduna says smugglers are now altering vehicles’ chassis numbers in the bid to perpetuate their nefarious activities.

Wada spoke to newsmen on Wednesday in Kaduna after handing over the leadership of the unit to his successor, Mr  Ahmadu Shuaibu.

He, therefore, underscored the importance of public awareness and compliance with government policies.

Wada reflected on the myriad of achievements and challenges encountered during his tenure.

He commended the resilience of his team in tackling the hurdles posed by nationwide border closures.

According to him, with unwavering support from the Comptroller-General  (CGC), Mr Bashir Adewale, saying that they have successfully curbed smuggling activities within the zone.

He said,  “FOU Zone ‘B’ Kaduna is now well-equipped and effectively managed, marking significant strides during my six-month stewardship.”

Wada acknowledged the pivotal role of the media in showcasing the unit’s efforts while urging the officers to prioritize knowledge acquisition and diligent execution of duties.

He said, “Total commitment and dedication have been the cornerstone of my successes.”

Wada also urged  his colleagues to follow suit,  disclosing that with his redeployment to the NCS Headquarters in Abuja, he will work under the Enforcement, Investigation, and Inspectorate Unit

He also assured of his continued dedication to service, WARING smugglers that his successor is an enforcement expert who is prepared to take charge.

Wada expressed confidence in the incoming comptroller’s abilities to build upon the foundation laid, signalling tough times ahead for the smugglers.

Wada’s redeployment marked the end of his duty of combating smuggling and fostering organizational commitment within FOU Zone “B” Kaduna.

It was reported that until his redeployment, Shuaibu was the Comptroller, Ogun I Area Command, Idi-Iroko. 

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