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NAGAFF, POLICE set to collaborate to end unwarranted interceptions on cleared containers

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  • As NLC threatens to order workers to down tools if fuel crisis continues
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Police may have embarked on new collaboration aimed at boosting trade facilitation,  particularly the curbing of Police unwarranted stoppage of Customs cleared containers on the highways. 
 
Specifically,  NAGAFF Founder,  Dr Boniface Aniebonam and the Assistant Commissioner of Police,  Apapa,  Julius Okoro agreed that both should liaise together and  evolve a synergy that would strengthen trade,  without an inclusion of crimes. 
 
Followed by a handshake...later.

Followed by a handshake…later.

“Whatever you think the Command can do for you to boost the peace in the neighborhood and strengthen the nation’s commercial activities; and move your business forward,  without accommodating crimes, let us know.  We will support it. 

 
“Come to the Command any time. The Office is open to everyone. And if there be any service,  you expect from a modern,  vibrant police institution,  the Command will do it for you ” the ACP stated,  stressing the need by every Nigerian to know his rights,  to avoid any forms of molestation,  from every quarter. 
 
“My men know my stand.  Even if I won’t stop you from stopping a suspected container on the highway,  you must prove to me that you have acted,  solely on the basis of intelligence. Otherwise,  you would find me waiting for you” he said,  noting that some of those that came short of his high expectations had either been punished or even sent out of the Command. 
 
Taking a proud look into the immediate past,  Mr Okoro noted that on arrival at Apapa,  he had met the dreaded traffic  gridlock,  and fought it headlong. 
 
“I simply told myself,  if the gridlock was always like this before I came,  then it must not continue while I am here. The traffic is back on track now”,  he indicated further,  appealing to those who had fled the Apapa business area over gridlock problems or issues associated with it to try and come back. 
 
In his remark,  Aniebonam tasked NAGAFF members to always obey the laws of the country,  stressing that the only way to encourage and compliment a hard working police officer is by obeying the laws. 
 
“When you do not obey the law,  the law would take its cause. The law is good ; and it is made to be enforced. But he also emphasized an issue he maintained the Inspector General of Police had made. 
“But I do know that the IGP once said the police should stay away from Customs responsibilities,  except if invited ” he said,  noting that there was actually a time when the police arrest of containers rose to an embarrassing level, before the statistics plummeted down. 
 
The two parties finally agree to jointly synergize on crime reduction and boosting of trade. 

In the meantime, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday expressed concerns over the recurring scarcity of petroleum products, especially the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, known as petrol across the country, threatening to ask workers to stay at home should the scarcity persists.

Congress in a statement insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, must immediately intervene in the current hardship imposed by the scarcity of products as this might hinder the ability of workers to get to their work stations, calling on government to restore sanity to the supply chain to save the citizens from unnecessary suffering and hardship.

NLC in a statement by its factional President, Ayuba Wabba, said: “Nigerians are yet to be told what the cause of the current scarcity is; we however believe government will not allow any individual or corporate organisations sabotage efforts to restore sanity and good governance in all facets of our society as it is obvious the ongoing scarcity is calculated sabotage by petroleum marketers to sell the products at high prices for more profits.

“Petroleum products, especially petrol is key to our economy as it is what powers commuters, including workers, offices and businesses. The delays motorists contend with in long queues at petrol stations have led to loss of unimaginable man hours which have impacted negatively on our economy. We therefore call on government to strongly intervene by sending out appropriate agencies, especially the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, to enforce the sale of the products as some marketers have been reported to be hoarding the products.

According to the statement: “We restate our call for the speedy reactivation of local production of petroleum products as the country will continue to be held hostage by global economic manipulations if we remain tied to importation of petroleum products even when we have the resources to produce for local consumption and export.

“While it is regrettable that bad governance, misplaced priorities and corruption has almost killed the petroleum industry, we believe a serious government can revamp the industry within one year. There are examples of countries, especially neighbouring Republic of Niger, where one of the best refineries were built within a year. Nothing stops this government from doing same.”

“In any case, despite their perilous states, we have it on authority that our four refineries are still one of the best in the world and can be turned around and even have its capacity upgraded; all that is required is to have effective Turn Around Maintenance conducted on them. The refineries are not beyond repairs. They have been abandoned to ensure Nigerians are ambushed by proponents of privatisation who believe every sector must be privatised. Those advocating for the sale of the refineries are waiting to buy them because they know the refineries are still one of the best. “Indeed, we believe the recurrent scarcity of petroleum products is part of the roadmap designed by forces who wish to hoodwink us into accepting privatisation of the refineries. We will not accept a situation where major oil companies operating in Nigeria will have refineries in other countries where they ship our crude for refining and sell what they refined from our crude through importers of petroleum products to our country. Why have they not built their own refineries in Nigeria?”

NLC added: “It makes no common sense that this situation continues. While our resources are enriching other countries and creating jobs for citizens of other countries, our country and citizens are groaning under high currency exchange rates, deepening unemployment and infrastructural collapse. Government must demonstrate seriousness in our collective affairs through decisive interventions in revamping the petroleum industry and stamping out corruption.

“We can’t continue to be import dependent and expect our economy to grow. When ordinary citizens lament over the excruciating hardship unleashed on us by bad governance, what we expect is for our government to rescue us by rebuilding all infrastructures that have hindered our growth as a result of past neglect or deliberate damages done to them in the past.”

Additional report from Vanguard

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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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