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My regret: Jonathan yet to give me useful tips on governance, says Buhari

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President-elect Muhammadu Buhari has accused the outgoing Goodluck Jonathan government of not giving him “tips” on how to kick-start his administration on May 29. He spoke on Thursday when a committee from the Centre for Human Security of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, presented a five-point policy document to him at the Buhari Support Organisation office in Abuja.

Hours before the event which held behind closed doors, the All Progressives Congress, insisted   that the Federal Government was not cooperating with the transition committee set up by the President-elect.

“Buhari regretted that the outgoing government that is supposed to give him tips on how to take off has done nothing so far,” Garba Shehu, the Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, told journalists after the presentation by the committee. Shehu added that the President-elect “thanked the Obasanjo initiative for the gesture, assuring the committee that his incoming administration will be needing advice as time goes on.”

Areas covered by committee in the   document    include the economy, security, power, education and infrastructure. He said that Obasanjo had set up a think tank to carry out a study on the challenges facing the country in the five key areas.

The study, he added, was started four months ago “so that the outcome will be made available to the incoming administration after the election.” He also revealed that Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, who headed the power committee, gave various stages of the proposed power sector development plan to include short-term, medium-term, long-term solutions.

Under the short-term solution, the plan seeks to raise the country’s power generation to 10,000 MW within a very short period of time. He added that the president-elect described the   intervention of Obasanjo and his team as a great impetus for the incoming government.

The vice-chairman of the committee, who is a former Minister of Finance,   Kalu Idika Kalu, said, “We have looked at education, security, economy, power and Infrastructure. Those are the areas we have made recommendations and which we hope the new administration would be able to work on.” He further explained that the president-elect was very happy that they had been thinking about how to help him hit the ground running.

The   Chairman of the centre’s   governing board,   Akin Mabogunje. who also spoke to journalists after the event, said the committee had been working on a number of critical issues for the development of the country.

According to him, a delegation of the committee members involved in the preparation of the policy document was sent to present the report to the President-elect.

Earlier on Thursday , the APC described as untrue, a statement credited to the spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party, Oliseh Metuh, that the   Jonathan administration was cooperating with the transition committee constituted by the President-elect. It also described Metuh in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, as a man with “an incurable disdain for truth.”

The PDP spokesman had   in the said statement accused the APC of raising a false alarm over happenings within the Jonathan and the Buhari transition committees.

However, Mohammed insisted that the uncooperative attitude of the Jonathan team   had continued despite its public posturing.

The APC statement Read, “We say with all sense of responsibility that as of today, May 14, 2015, just about two weeks to the May 29 handover date, no shred of information as to the status of governance from any ministry, department or agency of government has been given to our transition committee.”

“If that qualifies, in Metuh’s lexicon, as cooperation, then there is a problem somewhere. We dare Metuh or anyone for that matter, to controvert the fact that not a line of handover note has been handed over to our transition committee.”

The APC also restated its earlier call to Metuh to urgently undertake a course on how to be an opposition party spokesman so that he would not talk or write himself into avoidable troubles in the days ahead. It equally admonished him to always verify information available to him in order to separate rumours from facts.

The statement further read, “Metuh decided to put his foot in his mouth when he latched on to the statement made by our Transition Committee Chairman, forgetting that in making his statement, the chairman was only advising him against anything that would put the Federal Government in a bad light.

“A discerning party spokesman, rather than a rabble-rousing one, would have understood the elder statesman’s stand for what it is instead of using it as a peg to issue a needless, hollow statement that puts his party and government in a bad light.”

The APC said it had decided to allow bygones be bygones, but now that Metuh had stirred the hornet’s nest, it was time to put out the facts for Nigerians to judge. It added,   “What happened was that, following the request by our transition committee to meet with them, they invited us to what was the first formal meeting between both transition committees.

“But the meeting was a mere photo-op, as it yielded nothing concrete as far as handover notes are concerned. “In fact, what we met at the so-called meeting was far worse than what we had thought. Whereas we had hoped to get their handover notes on May 14th (the date they had indicated to us informally), they told us point blank that the notes won’t be ready until May 24th.

“Because this date falls on a Sunday that means we won’t be getting the handover notes until May 25th, just four days before the May 29th handover date.

“How do they honestly expect us to peruse thousands of pages of handover notes, ask pertinent questions and seek necessary clarifications within four days? Because we want a smooth transition, we asked if we could meet with some of the ministers pending the release of the handover notes, but they said no.

“When one of their members even suggested that the whole process be fast-tracked, they did not budge.

“Despite this setback, we decided not to put the whole issue in the public domain, until the babbling Metuh decided to look for trouble, describing the deliberate stonewalling by the Jonathan Administration as cooperation.”

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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