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P’ Harcourt Refinery Now Producing Five Million Litres Daily, Says NNPC

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  • As W’ Bank reduces growth projections for Nigeria, others

The Port Harcourt Refinery is now producing five million litres of fuel daily, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said Tuesday.

The refinery had been shut for some months.

The corporation also expects that very soon, the Kaduna refinery would be back on stream, Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the NNPC, Garuba Muhammad told newsmen during a monitoring exercise in Abuja.

He said that what had worsened the situation was the involvement of taxi drivers in sales of fuel black market, explaining that many of them abandoned their trade for this exercise.

He added, “When you have this kind of situation, people will naturally get agitated but people are getting calm now because they know the supply gap has now been bridged, and it is a question of distribution now”.

In the meantime, the World Bank on Monday lowered its 2016 sub-Saharan African growth forecast to 3.3 per cent from a previous forecast of 4.4 per cent in October, citing plunging global commodity prices.

The bank said the commodity price rout, particularly for oil, which fell by 67 per cent from June 2014 to December 2015, as well as weak global growth were behind the region’s “lackluster” performance.

The average growth rate in the SSA region came in at three per cent last year, a severe slowdown of 1.5 percentage points from the year before, the World Bank said in the twice-yearly Africa Pulse economic update.

That is the slowest rate of economic expansion since 2009, when the sub-Saharan Africa region suffered delayed blowback form the global financial crisis.

In 2016, growth is seen accelerating a little, to 3.3 per cent points, a performance the bank calls “lackluster.”

The report blamed “low commodity prices, weak global growth, rising borrowing costs, and adverse domestic developments in many countries for the slowdown across the region, noting that worst-hit were “the region’s largest commodity exporters.”

“Overall, growth is projected to pick up in 2017-2018 to 4.5 per cent,” the World Bank said in a statement.

It said a projected uptick in economic activity next year would be driven by economic powerhouses including South Africa, Nigeria and Angola as commodity prices stabilise,Reuters reported.

Nigeria and Angola are the continent’s top two crude oil exporters whose economies have suffered as a result of sharply lower crude prices, while South Africa was also hit by lower platinum, iron ore and coal prices.

“There were some bright spots where growth continued to be robust such as in Cote d’Ivoire, which saw a favourable policy environment and rising investment, as well as oil importers such as Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania,” the World Bank said.

Still, the World Bank singled out some “bright spots” on the continent, naming Ivory Coast and Kenya as good performers. Ivory Coast is a major cocoa exporter and hasn’t been affected by the commodities crash, while Kenya, east Africa’s biggest economy, is a net importer of energy, meaning it is set to benefit from low oil prices.

with an expected deficit of N2.2tn has been so far unclear.

Detailing its plans, the federal government expects to generate N3.38tn ($17bn) this year from non-oil sources, up 87 per cent from N1.81tn in 2015, the presentation showed.

Corporate income tax collection is expected to exceed the N700bn generated last year, while the government also aims to recover stolen Nigerian assets stashed abroad as part of efforts to crack down corruption, it said.

The biggest source of revenues this year will come from what the presentation called “independent revenue”, without providing further details.

Buhari is planning to squeeze informal small traders, who make up almost half of the Gross Domestic Product, this year to boost tax revenues by 33 per cent.

On Saturday, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said Nigeria was considering the issue of Chinese Panda or Japanese Samurai bonds to help fund the budget.

The government also wants to switch its debt mix so that 40 per cent of loans would be from abroad, compared to 16 per cent now, the presentation showed. Loan repayments are expected to be stretched.

Buhari has asked the United States for help in returning stolen Nigerian assets stashed in the US banks. In March, the US said it had frozen more than $458m of funds that the late military ruler Sani Abacha had stolen.

Nigeria has recovered about $1.3bn of Abacha’s money from various European jurisdictions as of last year, with more than a third of that coming from Switzerland.

Abacha also held assets in France, Britain and British offshore centres such as Jersey. Nigeria has also held talks with China, the World Bank and other international institutions to get loans to fund its plans to roll out infrastructure projects.

Shipping Day with additional report Upshot

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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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