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Real sector crisis worsens, firms may wind up by March – MAN

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  • NNPC/Chevron gas project to improve power

Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) yesterday raised the alarm that many companies in the manufacturing sector might be forced to close down when they run out of raw materials to continue production.

Disclosing this at the 2016 MAN-Media Luncheon for the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria, CICAN, in Lagos, President of the Association, Dr. Frank Jacobs attributed the worsening operations of many Bank of Nigeria, CBN, policy restricting some 41 items from accessing foreign exchange through official forex windows.

According to him, the restriction of the items could be seen as the right direction to some extent, but that the policy measure had to be reviewed as some of the items on the restriction list include materials used by those manufacturers, which could not be sourced locally.

Jacobs said the call for revision of the forex policy on the affected items that could not be produced or sourced locally formed one of the association’s advocacy campaigns since last year in furtherance of its commitment towards stabilising the nation’s economy.

He said: “In the last one year, the association engaged government at all levels including Ministries, Departments and Agencies on a number of issues affecting the manufacturing sector and the Nigerian economy. Some of the issues advocated on were resolved while others are currently being addressed. In broad terms, the Association recorded remarkable advocacy successes.”

The industrialist explained that the advocacy had improved MAN’s consultation and contributions to strategic policies of government as members of several committees of government such as the Presidential Jobs Board, Steering Committee of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, as well as the Steering Committee of National Quality Infrastructure Project.

He listed some of the results of such constructive engagement with the authorities to include successful resistance of the implementation of MYTO 2.1 introduced by Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and Distribution Companies, DISCOs. He also recalled that the association was in court with NERC and the DISCOs on their contentious bills and had obtained an injunction restraining them from applying such charges or disconnecting members who refused to pay at the MYTO 2.1 rate.

The association also advocated for the removal of the monthly exorbitant fixed charges collected from electricity users by DISCOs; the non-reflection in MYTO 2.1 and the downward review of electricity bills for SMIs in particular and prorating of electricity charges to consumption.

Jacobs said the association had strengthened its cooperation and collaboration with government agencies, such as Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, RMRDC, Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, among others.

He pointed out that the association’s collaborations with SON led to the sustenance of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations on the 25 per cent reduction on all SON administrative charges as well as SONCAP exemption for the importation of spare parts, machinery, raw materials and packaging materials and the issuance of the annual import permits to manufacturers.

He also disclosed that MAN had improved the implementation processes of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR, implementation processes in conjunction with the Customs Service.

Meanwhile, to improve power supply and support government’s effort to reduce gas flaring, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, and Chevron Nigeria Limited, NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, have announced the completion and load-out of the topside module of the SONAM N on-Associated Gas, NAG, Wellhead Platform project.

The initiative will enable the delivery of up to 420 million cubic feet per day (MMCF/d) of gas from SONAM to the Escravos Gas Plant.

Speaking at the launch, the Director, Business Services, CNL, Mr Emmanuel Imafidon, said: “The partnership for the project module was delivered as part of the domestic supply obligation (050)-MEREN; Gas Gathering Compression Platform, GGCP; and SONAM Non-Associated Gas Wellhead Platform, NWP, project which was last in the set of
structures built on the Snake Island by Nigerdock for the project.”

He explained that the project also provided engineering training for 35 Nigerians for the Nigeria Content Development Management Board, NCDMB trainees through 12 weeks of engineering & project management courses.

This also included construction training for 160 trainees in fields ranging from welding, fitting, and scaffolding. “We also scoped the execution of small subcontract fabrication and supply services to our Escravos neighboring community contractors,” he added.

With regard to the project capacity, Imafidon noted that weighing in at 2,700 tons, a height of 28 metres, width of 40 metres and a length of 50 metres made it the
largest topside module ever built in-country, adding, “significantly this feat was achieved by an indigenous company.”

According to him, “The SONAM topside is the final piece in the set of structures built by Nigerdock for the project. Nigerdock’s scope on the project comprised the construction and load out of flare bridges, flare towers, jacket piles, LQP deck, LQ bridge, the Meren and Sonam jackets and this topside module, which till date is the largest ever jacket fabricated in Nigeria.

He also recalled that less than 36 months after the steel cutting, the project is ready for load out, adding that through partnership with Nigerdock and Hyundai Heavy Industries, HHI, the venture partners “recorded a safety achievement of over 2.8 million cumulative man-hours on the project. Also we have recorded Living Quarters Deck fabrication without an injury or incident.”

Also speaking, the Group Managing Director, NAPTIMS, Dafe Sejebor, also represented by the General Manager, JV Oil Operations, Mrs. Kate Iheme, expressed satisfaction with the project completion, adding that investment of this kind will shore in rapid development to the economy.

She said: “MEREN Gas Gathering Compression Platform, GGCP, and SONAM development is a major lift forward in building of natural gas extracted during NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture operations for power generation.

“However, this will eliminating gas flaring from its access, and is expected to grow investment opportunity to boast the Government economic diversification efforts”

On his part; the Chairman, Nigerdock and Jagal Group, Mr. Anwar Jamarkani, said: “Nigeria’s vision has always targeted at the maximising of immense potential from the oil and gas industry to foster national economy development in breath taking divinity of its people.”

National Mirror with additional report from 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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