Connect with us

Archives

Labour leads nationwide protests today against electricity tariff hike

Published

on

  • Presidency unfolds N500bn social welfare programmes

The organised labour will today rally electricity consumers in the country in a nationwide protest against the hike in electricity tariff recently announced by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and civil society in a release stated: “We the members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Civil Society allies and electricity consumers across the country will protest the 45 per cent increase in the tariff of electricity as announced by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission on Monday, February 8, 2016.

“It is a nation-wide protest, meaning that the 36 states of the Federation including Abuja will be involved in this action. “Our members have been sufficiently mobilized and are ready to go,” the unions stated, just as the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) on Sunday in Kano, appealed to the Organised Labour to shelve its planned protest over electricity tariffs increase on Monday.

Also, a lawyer and rights activist, Toluwani Yemi Adebiyi, has slammed contempt proceedings on the Chairman of NERC and the Chief Executive Officers(CEOs) of all Electricity Distribution Companies across the country over the implementation of the new electricity tariff despite a subsisting court order halting same.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had on May 28, 2015, directed NERC to suspend all actions relating to any increment in electricity tariff pending the hearing and final determination of a suit filed by the lawyer on the issue.

However, despite the subsisting court’s order, NERC in conjunction with the Electricity Distribution Companies commence the implementation of the new electricity tariff on February 1, 2016.

Already, copies of Form 48 which is a notice of consequence of disobedience of court’s order have been served on the alleged contemnors.

The application is expected to be heard on Thursday before Justice Mohammed Idris. A statement issued by the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of ANED, Mr Sunday Oduntan, urged the unions to support the power sector operators to improve electricity supply in the country.

The statement urged Nigerians to support the Federal Government and the power sector operators to ensure the sustenance of the sector.

It said that Nigeria was witnessing an all-time high 5,075 megawatts of electricity for the first time in the history of the nation’s power sector.

“This is a demonstration that the sector has the capacity to meet the country’s power needs.

“Power is a major requirement in the drive to grow the nation’s economy and improve quality of life.

“We believe that this is only the beginning and that we can accomplish much more improvement in the sector, if all the stakeholders work together in partnership.” Meanwhile, the NLC has warned the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to desist from using arms against workers during protest.

The congress said the shooting of a Medical Doctor by an armed police man during a peaceful protest by members of the Nigeria Medical Association in Owerri represented a big minus for the police force that claimed credit for reform on the one hand, and a rising degree of intolerance for alternative view point by the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

Meanwhile, the Presidency has unfurled tentative details on the implementation of its N500 billion social welfare programme, revealing that one million extremely poor Nigerians would be direct beneficiaries of the N5,000 monthly cash transfer.

The payment which is to commence once the budget is approved by the National Assembly, is besides another five social interventions that include the provision of one meal a day to school pupils in some selected states.

A total of N60 billion would be directly transferred to the one million extremely poor Nigerians, according to a statement issued by the Office of the Vice-President in accordance to President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of building human capital.

Other elements of the social intervention scheme revealed, yesterday, include the 500,000 direct jobs, which will see unemployed graduates being trained and deployed as volunteer teachers in their communities while still prospecting for jobs in their chosen professions.

The details as released by Mr. Adeolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant, Media in the office of the Vice-President, also disclosed a youth employment plan which will see the training of 370,000 non-graduates youths in different skills and vocational programmes.

“The recruitment of beneficiaries into the volunteer teaching jobs and the skill acquisition training scheme for non-graduates would be done on state basis, including the FCT and opened to all Nigerians of different shades,” Akande said.

Another initiative also revealed is the micro credit scheme where one million Nigerians, mostly small scale traders, artisans and market women, would get a one-time soft loan of N60,000 each through the Bank of Industry.

And finally there is the free education plan for students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, where government will pay tuition for 100,000 students.

Explaining the administration’s determination to positively impact the capacity of Nigerians through the unprecedented intervention, Akande disclosed that at no time in the nation’s budgetary history had the Federal Government made a specific vote of such volume for social welfare.

“Even economic historians now say that not only is the half a trillion Naira vote unprecedented, but it is also the greatest service ever done to the Nigerian state and people by any federal government administration,” Akande said.

He noted that the six social safety plans would reduce high levels of poverty and vulnerabilities, while also increasing Nigeria’s Human Development Index on the global UN rankings.

“The President’s vision is to increase investments in human capital to guarantee security for all, employment and improved well-being of the people,” the Vice President’s media aide added.

He disclosed that the Presidency was aware that past attempts to address poverty had suffered because of insufficient political will, presence of various UN-uncoordinated initiatives and poorly targeted beneficiaries, among other factors, and was working to avoid the pitfalls.

The Senior Special Assistant said for the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, where one million extremely poor Nigerians will receive N5000 monthly in 2016, the money would be paid directly to the beneficiaries through a payment system that is being worked out. He said the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation were collaborating with the Presidency to develop an efficient payment system.

All together, about N60 billion had been estimated to be paid out to extremely poor Nigerians. And the implementation of the programme starts once the budget is passed.

Daily Times with additional report from Vanguard

Archives

WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

Published

on

…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. 

Continue Reading

Archives

Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

Published

on

The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

Continue Reading

Archives

Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

Published

on

…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

Continue Reading
ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

Editor’s Pick

Politics