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LASWA Partners French Agency to Improve Water Transportation

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LASWA Partners French Agency to Improve Water Transportation

The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) says it is partnering with the French Development Agency (AFD) to engender improved water transportation system in Lagos.

The General Manager, LASWA, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, disclosed this in Lagos when the AFD team visited the LASWA headquarters at Falomo, Lagos.

The visit was to kick-start the preparatory study of the AFD Wide-Lag Project.

Emmanuel said that AFD possessed required expertise for inland water transportation, adding that both organisations were creating the Wide-Lag Project together.

The LASWA boss said that the project was to further develop and improve water transportation in Lagos, adding that the partnership would encourage the upgrade and use of bigger vessels on the state’s waterways.

He said that the loan to be provided by AFD to execute the project would help to decongest the road and offer alternatives, thereby improving the quality of life of Lagos residents.

L-R Engr. Osa konyeha, Technical Adviser,Corporate Infrastructure and Planning, Lagos State Metropolitan Authority; Head of Infrastructure, International Economy Relations Department, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Ismail Lawal; the Project Team Leader, AFD, Mr David Margonsetisrn; and the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, when the French Development Agency (AFD) team visited the LASWA headquarters at Falomo.

Emmanuel said that the project’s feasibility study would analyse about seven routes to ascertain the required number of ferries and terminals for the whole process.

“In building any public transportation system, it is important for us as Lagos to build on international best practices to follow the benchmark from other countries on how they have successfully built their water transport infrastructure.

“AFD has been supporting road transport in Lagos for the last 10 years. They helped in developing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) infrastructure, which is why the government extended their programme to cover the waterways.

”The Lagos State Government is committed to building an integrated transport system including road, rail and water transportation,” Emmanuel said.

Mr. Ismail Lawal, of the Federal Ministry of Finance, said that the Federal Government was optimistic about fast-tracking the project to enable Lagos and its residents benefit from it.

Lawal, who is the Head of infrastructure, International Economy Relations Department in the ministry, said: “The Federal Ministry of Finance’s support is to see to it that what was agreed upon at the concept stage is not derailed.

“We want to see it worked upon to become a successful project for the state and federal governments.

“There is a special commitment to the project from the Federal Government and that standing alone assures our partner that their money is safe.”

The Project Team Leader, AFD, Mr. David Margonsetisrn, said his team came to kick-start the Wide-Lag Project to improve inland waterways transportation in Lagos.

Margonsetisrn said that the AFD was planning to develop an investment project with LASWA, adding that they were at the preparatory stage.

He said that the Federal Government had mobilised significant grants to help LASWA to prepare the project, adding that the feasibility studies would be carried out by four groups of conceptual.

Margonsetisrn said that it would take the AFD till the middle of 2023 to enable them to get the loan approval for the project’s implementation.

“The project will cover the construction of new ferry terminals, jetties, channelisation of new inland waterways transportation routes, new vessels and clean energy.

“It will also include acquisition of powered vessels as well as soft component features to enable LASWA reach critical miles to implement the project.

“Studies have been conducted throughout the lagoon, which demonstrates that new routes can be easily introduced through the lagoon.

“The infrastructure components will be about new safety and regulation, as well as control centre that will monitor the operation along the routes on daily basis.

“Any passenger falling off the boat should be rescued immediately by the rescue team,” the project leader said.

He added that the AFD had approved 1.2 million euros grant for the preparation of the project, which is to be completed in 2027.

The official said that this would lead to its approval.

Economy

MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

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MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

 The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday in Lagos, warned that Cash-strapping may unwittingly lead, to a 25 percent drop, in the sale of locally-made goods.

The Director General, MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, emphasizing the need for the CBN to intensify efforts at ensuring a seamless transition from old naira to new naira notes, as anything to the contrary would be inimical to manufacturing.

He said if the current hardships being experienced in accessing money persisted for the next three weeks, there would be a possible drop of 25 percent in monthly sales of made-in-Nigeria goods.

He noted that as purchases from the retail end, mostly transacted in cash dry up; there would be a sharp drop in wholesale purchases leading to a glut of unsold inventories in factories.

He added that the situation which was no good for manufacturing, for the government and for the ordinary citizen would lead to compounded crippling lack of patronage for the domestic manufacturer.

Ajayi-Kadir also stressed that the development would also deny government the revenue that would have accrued from consumption taxes and result in the disruption of the daily life and need of the average Nigerian.

“To be clear, there is no doubt that the currency redesign is desirable; there are socioeconomic and political imperatives for the change.

“It is a critical element of the CBN cashless economy policy that should have far-reaching positive results for the economy.

“However, the continued scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes is quite worrisome.

“With our growth prospects heading further south, we can ill afford a downturn in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The negative impact it portends for local producers, the agricultural and distributive segments of our economy is huge.

“It may worsen the bashing our economy has received from both external and internal shocks in recent times,’’ he stressed.

Ajayi-Kadir cautioned that adequate measures should be put in place to ensure a smooth currency transition, particularly in the unbanked areas of Nigeria.

He charged the CBN and Bureaux de Changes to be most engaging at the highest level at this time.

According to him, there is a need for strategic communication and joint operations to ensure widespread and sustained availability and circulation of the redesigned naira notes.

“It is baffling to approach a bank only to be told that there are neither the old nor the new naira notes.

“We hope that the resumption of payment across the counter in the banks and the intensification of the CBN special cash swap arrangement in remote areas will yield positive results.

“I hope that what the country is experiencing is temporary pain and that government will do well to bring the hardship to an end immediately.

“We must make haste to ensure that the price to be paid for this otherwise laudable policy does not outpace the gains,’’ he also cautioned.

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Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

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Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – OnyemaDisdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

…Shed tears, when he saw Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Libya***

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, says his regret as minister is the disdain with which Nigerians are being treated outside the shores of the country and upon siting their international passports.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the 22nd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) organised to project the achievements of the government.

Onyema was responding to a comment by a journalist who expressed displeasure about how Nigerians travelling abroad were being subjected to harassment upon sitting on their green passports.

The Minister agreed with the position of the newsman and attributed the challenge to the desperation of many Nigerians who took desperate and illegal measures to travel out of the country.

“If there is one thing that I look back to with the greatest regrets in my seven and half years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the situation of Nigerians in foreign countries,” he said.

The minister gave some of the instances he had witnessed and had to wade in to rescue trapped victims in the middle of the desert.

“I went to Libya and I actually shed tears when we went to this camp where they were holding Nigerians.

“There is that whole issue of slavery and of course, all the exploitations that go with it and they told us that there were only a hundred or two hundred Nigerians there,”

“So, we went to the yard and it was one of the most touching things I ever experienced.

“We have all these young boys, 13, 14, 15 years old and they all came out, over a hundred of them and they all stood up to attention,” he narrated.

The minister continued: “As soon as they saw us, they started reciting the Nigerian national anthem and tears came to my eyes.

 “We were told that the girls were used as prostitutes at night.

“When we saw them, the girls told us there were more Nigerians and we insisted they should bring them out.

“Lo and behold, twenty minutes after, they brought out another set which was about 200 Nigerians.

“The President gave directives, that we should charter planes in order to get them out and we did.”

Onyema attributed the despicable situation to the push factor leading a lot of young Nigerians to take desperate and ridiculous risks through the deserts and the high seas.

He said when they even finally got to their so-called dream countries, they got involved in drugs and all sort of crimes which made it difficult for Nigeria’s passport to be respected.

“Those of us in government have to blame ourselves, particularly in the immigration and even in foreign affairs,” he said.

Onyema narrated another scenario where the U.S., Ambassador to Nigeria came to show him the list of Nigerians that were issued visas through Note Verbal to go to the U.S. but they never attended the events they were scheduled for, but absconded.

He said he was also shown the list of those who were not respecting their visa deadlines and requirements, including top Nigerians.

The minister said all the illegal acts and sharp practices contributed to the manner Nigerians were being treated with disdain abroad when they cited their passports.

“In order to reverse the situation and ensure Nigerian passport is given the due respect it deserves, we all have to work hard and behave ourselves.

“We are all suffering from this because we have people with genuine missions seeking to travel abroad looking for visas and they are denied.

“It is a challenge for each and every single one of us and it is impacting negatively on our country.

“We all have the responsibility to salvage the situation,” he said.

Onyema said President Buhari had never rested on his oars on the issue because whichever country he travelled to, he stressed to Nigerians in Diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country.

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Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev’t — Pantami

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Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev't — Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Thursday said the sector was crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s full potential.

Pantami said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a flight demonstration within the Nigerian Airspace by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd using the NigComSat-1R payload, the L-Band.

The NigComSat-1R navigation (L-Band) payload provides Navigational overlay Services, which have disruptive applications in the aviation and non-aviation sectors.

The event was organised by the SatNav Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), in collaboration with the ANGA programme and NIGCOMSAT and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The overall aim was to provide a knowledge-sharing platform to support stakeholders’ decision-making in the creation of synergies.

This is to enable the collective reaping of benefits provided by SBAS in the continent, including safety, efficiency and environmental protection benefits.

The minister said communication and digital technology was the key enabler of other sectors like security, defence, health, agriculture, education and aviation.

“The satellite covers part of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, it covers parts of Asia and Europe.

”Our satellite here in Nigeria has the capacity to provide the navigation overlay services.

The Nigerian Communications Satellite has the capacity to support the implementation of the SBAS not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa with 54 countries,” Pantami said.

He, however, urged African nations to consider the Nigerian Communication Satellite when the need arises.

Pantami also said the deployment of SBAS by using the navigation overlay services would significantly improve accuracy of signal, its availability and integrity.

“I have directed NIGCOMSAT to collaborate and reach out to the aviation sector to ensure successful implementation of SBAS in Africa,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Mr Tukur Lawal said the success of the flight demonstration underscored the need for collaborative efforts by the relevant agencies.

He said that this would facilitate the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the desired goals of a digital Nigeria, which he said would bring unprecedented results.

”For NIGCOMSAT Ltd to contribute its own quota in digital economy and industrial revolution, we cannot remain in the comfort zone, but rather look for areas of exploring the market both local and international.

”We will give all the support needed and innovations that will meet and convert all weaknesses to successes,” Lawal said.

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