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Navy unveils navigational chart for lower River Niger; Sambo says Charts to boost GDP



Navy unveils navigational chart for lower River Niger; Sambo says Charts to boost GDP

The Nigerian Navy on Thursday unveiled the Navigational Chart of the Lower River Niger as part of efforts towards the development of inland waterways in Nigeria.

The navigational chart was carried out by the hydrographic unit of the navy in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

The project was funded by the Nigeria Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank and African Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank with the collaboration of the Sealink Consortium.

During the unveiling, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Auwal Gambo, said the joint hydrographic survey campaign was flagged-off on Nov. 24, 2021 (while Rotimi Amaechi held the reigns of power) covering Phases 1 and 2.

Gambo said the project, which extended from Lokoja in Kogi to Burutu in Delta, was one of a series of initiatives undertaken by the Federal Government toward actualising economic diversification.

He said the unveiling of the charts was crucial towards the exploitation of the vast strategic reserve of mineral resources along the Lower Niger Basin with great prospects for Nigeria’s economic diversification.

This, according to him, is expected to boost tourism potential, create more job opportunities and increase economic viability.

“It would also reduce pressure on road infrastructure, as bulk cargos would be transported through the channel.

“Furthermore, the successful opening of this River Channel for navigation will accelerate activation of concessioned inland ports and export processing zones for handling bulk cargoes from coastal areas and export of solid minerals as well as agricultural produce.

“Thus, the ceremony we are gathered here today is yet another testimony to the resolve of the Federal Government towards evolving comprehensive mechanisms to emplace sustainable infrastructure through public-private collaborations,” he said.

He assured Nigerians of the willingness of the navy to sustain partnerships with critical stakeholders under the collaborative initiative to complete the development of the river channel towards creating vibrant maritime activities along the basin.

He said the Nigerian Navy was poised to provide standard hydrographic service delivery to all mariners within the nation’s maritime environment towards facilitating a sustainable blue economy in Nigeria.

The Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Mr. Abba Bello, said the project would go a long way in advancing NEXIM Bank’s current initiative and advocacy on the promotion of the operations of inland waterways for both hinterland and intra-coastal trade.

Bello said River Niger and River Benue were historically considered by British merchants as the most navigable river channels used in the late 19th century.

He said Burutu port served as a link between river transport and the sea.

He added that it served as a port terminal for the Royal Niger Company and UAC for export cargo consolidation.

He said it was also used for discharging goods from ships for onward water transport to river ports in Northern Nigeria and neighbouring French territories through River Niger and River Benue.

According to him, the cessation of the use of the Burutu Port in the mid-1970s substantially led to a considerable level of disuse of the river channel for mercantile trade, leading to siltation of the channel over the years that resulted in navigational challenges.

“Therefore, this informed the decision to partner with Afreximbank, Nigerian Navy and NIWA to undertake the survey/charting exercise.

“The information to be gleaned from the unveiling ceremony will no doubt provide a guide on the current state of navigability of the river channel.

“It would be catalytic to ensuring the design of a framework that would enable channel improvement works necessary to facilitate the commencement of massive commercial operations on the channel, especially for Regional Sealink Project.

“Also, information provided from the outcome of the survey/charting activities will highlight the huge inland waterways potential and opportunities in maritime infrastructure investments,” he said.

The President, Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said the bank provided a grant of 350,000 dollars for the execution of the project.

Oramah said the grant was because of the critical role that navigability of the River Niger would play in the country’s trade facilitation and indeed overall developmental aspirations.

“We salute the steadfastness of our partners in this arrangement – Neximbank, who coordinated the activities of other agencies like the NIWA and the Nigerian Navy to birth this initiative that will definitely change the narrative in waterways transportation in Nigeria,” he said.

Giving the overview of the project, the Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Adm. CE Okafor, said the survey covered 1,140 square kilometers and 456 kilometers from Jamata in Lokoja to Burutu in Delta.

Okafor said the project was executed with 100 percent local capacity, adding that the field data acquisition was conducted in 14 months nonstop.

He said a total of 81 underwater obstructions were detected as well as other challenges that must be addressed to ensure effective navigation on the river by a wide range of vessels.

He recommended the dredging of the navigational routes, circle and anchorage among others, as well as wreck removal.

Present at the occasion were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Transportation, the Attah of Igala, HRM Matthew Opaluwa among others.

 Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo expressed his great delight for the official unveiling of the Navigational Charts of the Lower River Niger, running from Lokoja in Kogi State to Burutu in Delta State, and covering 594KM (321 Nautical Miles) with a total survey area of 1719.8 Square Kilometers.

The Minister who said the Project is in tandem with the statutory responsibilities and objectives of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, also stressed that it would boost Federal Government efforts towards the development and operation of an efficient and safe Inland Waterways Transportation Network.

Navy unveils navigational chart for lower River Niger; Sambo says Charts to boost GDP
Navy unveils navigational chart for lower River Niger; Sambo says Charts to boost GDP

“A well-developed and efficient Inland Water Transportation is necessary for an integrated and functional multi–modal transportation system, whose major pillar is dependent upon accurate and timely hydrographic surveys/charts”, Mu’azu Sambo said adding that the project’s objective is to provide direct maritime linkages within Nigeria and between African countries, thereby catalyzing Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), creating highly needed jobs, and boosting internal as well as intra – African trade.

“The US economy today is supported by revenues in excess of $70b from 600 million tons of cargo transported through its inland waterways, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, building and growing Agro-industrial communities along the waterway channels and thus spreading economic prosperity throughout the length and breadth of its waterways network. 

Navy unveils navigational chart for lower River Niger; Sambo says Charts to boost GDP
Navy unveils navigational chart for lower River Niger; Sambo says Charts to boost GDP

“The USA’s waterways and multi-modal transportation network provide a competitive edge in global markets. No wonder, its corn and soybean farmers are the most efficient in the world!

“Nigeria is blessed with an 800-km coastline and over 10,000 km of inland waterways that potentially confers it with such maritime power that in itself alone, can transform this country into a great and prosperous place on earth!

“I would like to affirm the Federal Ministry of Transportation’s commitment to the successful attainment of the overall objective of this Project in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the holistic and sustainable development of the maritime sector and the Inland Waterways in particular.

“This laudable initiative of Sealink Promotional Company Limited with funding from the NEXIM and African Export–Import Banks and the actual survey exercise conducted jointly by the Nigerian Navy and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Transportation, is worthy of national recognition and reward. It is an effort never before undertaken in the history of our country.

“On this note, I want to specifically express my gratitude and that of the Ministry to the Managing Directors of NEXIM Bank and AfriExim Bank for providing the necessary funds for the execution of this Project, the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority for their collaborative efforts that ensured the successful execution of this Project, and I look forward to more of this effort to extend the Hydrographic Survey of Inland Waterways nationwide.

“At this juncture and saving the best for the last as they say in common parlance, may I proudly thank my own dear elder sister Aunty Mrs. Dabney Shall – Holma, the Chairperson of Sealink Promotional Company Limited for her extraordinary patriotism and commitment towards the growth of Inland Waterway Transportation in Nigeria. Her commitment to this project will inspire other Private Sector Investors to see the abundant opportunities in the Nigerian inland waterways sector”, Mu’azu Sambo further said.

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Super Eagles beat hosts Guinea Bissau, to reclaim Group ‘A’ leadership



Super Eagles beat hosts Guinea Bissau, to reclaim Group 'A' leadership

The Super Eagles on Monday in Bissau beat hosts Guinea Bissau 1-0 to reclaim leadership of Group A in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

Moses Simon’s penalty kick after 29 minutes gave the Nigerian senior men’s football team the needed win to move to nine points after four matches.

They have now upstaged from the apex position Guinea Bissau who toppled them on Friday in Abuja with a 1-0 win.

Guinea Bissau is with seven points from four matches and in second place, ahead of Sierra Leone who has five points from four matches.

Nigeria is expected to now face the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a Match Day 5 fixture.

 Details later  

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Banking & Finance

NGX: Investors Lose N622bn, as NCR Nigeria, Unity Bank lead Losers’ chart



NGX: Investors Lose N622bn, as NCR Nigeria, Unity Bank lead Losers’ chart

The domestic stock market on Nigeria Exchange Ltd. (NGX) continued on a negative note as the market capitalisation on Monday dropped by N622 billion amid sustained profit-taking activities.

Accordingly, investors lost N622 billion in value as market capitalisation declined to  N29.281 trillion from N29.903 trillion recorded at the previous session.

The All-Share Index (ASI) fell by 1,141.76 points, representing a decline of 2.08 percent, to close at 53,750.77 points as against the 54,892.53 posted on Friday.

Consequently, the ASI’s year-to-date (YTD) return fell to 4.88 percent.

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Airtel Africa, Seplat Energy, MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN), Nigerian Breweries and Lafarge Africa.

“We expect risk-on sentiments to be sustained in the equities markets even as the depressed interest rate environment will continue to favour the local bourse in line with our expectations for Q1, 2023.

“Taking positions in stocks with solid valuations and dividend yields ahead of the dividend-paying season remains the choice strategy.

“However, we see room for extended profit-taking activities,” Analysts at United Capital Plc said.

The market breadth was negative as 21 stocks lost relative to five gainers.

Courteville Business Solutions recorded the highest price gain of 6.67 percent to close at 48k per share.

NPF Microfinance Bank followed with a gain of 2.7 percent to close at N1.90 and AIICO Insurance up by 1.75 percent to close at 58k per share.

FBN Holdings (FBNH) rose by 0.92 percent to close at N11, while Zenith Bank gained 0. 2 percent to close at N25 per share.

Conversely, NCR Nigeria led the losers’ chart by 9.79 percent to close at N2.12, per share.

Unity Bank followed with a decline of 9.43 percent to close at 48k, while Prestige Assurance declined by 8.89 percent to close at 41k, per share.

SUNU Assurance declined 8.33 percent to close at 44k, while Multiverse Mining and Exploration and Airtel Africa shed 8.31 percent each to close at N2.98 and N1,420 respectively per share.

Also, the total volume traded decreased by 26.66 percent to 100.883 million units, valued at N4.342 billion and exchanged in 3,279 deals.

Transactions in the shares of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) topped the activity chart with 12.836 million shares valued at N318.513 million.

Zenith Bank followed with 11.920 million shares worth N297.982 million, while United Bank for Africa (UBA) traded 10.038 million shares valued at N80.242 million.

MTNN traded 8.264 million shares valued at N1.927 billion, while FBNH transacted 7.719 million shares worth N84.577.

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MARITIME SAFETY: NIMASA, NCC Close Ranks On Submarine Cable Regulation In Nigeria



MARITIME SAFETY: NIMASA, NCC Close Ranks On Submarine Cable Regulation In Nigeria

…Jamoh reiterates  commitment to Ease of Doing Business 

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have agreed to work closely with relevant stakeholders as the Agency inches closer to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria. 

Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.

The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated. 

He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.

According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters. Our focus is to ensure safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.

NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation. We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another Agency start. Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.

On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.

Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.

NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS. NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.

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