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Senate kicks against implementation of new auto policy, wades into Apapa gridlock



The Senate President, David Mark, on Thursday said Nigeria was not ready for the Nigeria Automotive Industry Bill.

Mark said he did not think Nigeria had the right resources to implement the law if passed.

He spoke during deliberation on the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development plan (Fiscal Incentives, Assurance and Guarantees) Bill which passed its second reading on Thursday.

Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) representing Cross River Central Senatorial District, the senate leader, sponsored the bill.

The objective of thE bill is to create revenue and expand the automobile market in Nigeria.

Mark said the bill was a good one without doubt but won’t solve the problem in Nigeria’s automotive industry.

He said Nigeria was not prepared for the bill to be carried out because no investor would put his money were 24 hours power was not guaranteed.

He said a good foundation had not been laid to enable the bill become a success.

“This is an excellent bill, we should pass it. We are missing the point not by this bill but you know because we have not laid the foundation for which this bill can become sustainable.

“I believe that the implementation is very important and unless we get these other factors together, this will remain absolutely good on paper but in practice it is going to be very difficult to get it right.

“China has protectionist policy; today, everybody is going to China. India has protectionist policy, there is no country that does not have the protectionist policy but we abandon our own because we have failed in several other areas,” he said.

Egba, the sponsor of the bill, said there was a huge automobile market in Nigeria and the bill would create opportunities to increase the standard of living of citizens and earn great revenue for the country.

He also said the objectives – income tax relief, tariff re-adjustment, administration and assurances would enhance the prospects of development of automotive in Nigeria.

Ndoma-Egba said about 400,000 vehicles worth over N550 billion were imported into the country in 2012.

“A total of about 400,000 vehicles – 100,000 new and 300,000 used – valued at over N550 billion were imported in 2012. The bill will thus facilitate the injection of foreign direct investment into the economy,” he said.

In concluding, Mark commended the government for its good work.

“We should commend government but we must let government know that for this bill to be meaningful, a few other things must be out in place, almost immediately along this bill.

“Sincerely, I agree that this government is doing very well and we are doing our best so that we implement these bills that we pass,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Privatization and Commercialization has pledged to ensure that the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and the Lagos State Government collaborate to ease the traffic gridlock on the access roads to Apapa and Tin Can ports, Lagos for the benefit of port operators and other users.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Olugbenga Obadara, made the pledge on Monday, in Lagos, when he led other senators on the first leg of their oversight visit to the ports in Apapa.

Obadara was responding to complaints by the Managing Director of Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL), Operators of Terminal E, Apapa Port, Alhaji Abba Isa Bukar that the port access roads were in deplorable condition.

He said “containers are continually falling off trucks while in transit, damaging vehicles daily while commuters face untold hardship thus, requiring prompt government attention.”

The Senator said FERMA and the Lagos State Government would meet to iron out the grey areas to enable them tackle the gridlock.

He noted that as the nation’s commercial hub, the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports would not be allowed to deteriorate.

Obadara said the committee embarked on the visit to know how much revenue the terminal operators were generating for the Federal Government and also to know their challenges with a view to getting legislative intervention to restore them.

Earlier, Bukar had informed the senators that since GDNL commenced operation in 2006, the company had embarked on massive infrastructural development and have ensured prompt payment of revenues accruable to government.

He listed insecurity, poor access roads, lack of an enabling law, litigation and lack of basic facilities as the challenges facing the company and ports operations in general.

On insecurity, the MD lamented the frequent attacks on the terminal from a neighboring village, Sapokoji and called for increased security patrol by security agencies along the water front.

Bukar appealed to the legislature for the urgent enactment of the Ports and Harbour Bill to attract more investments in the maritime sector.

At the ENL Consortium Limited, Operators of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, the General Manager, Mr. Mark Walsh emphasized that the entire workforce was 100 percent Nigerians adding that the company’s capacity in cargo handling and other related activities had been developed to world class standards.

At APM Terminals Apapa, the Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Dawes informed the lawmakers that since takeover, the company had paid about $621 million to government as taxes.

The committee members also visited Lilypond Container Terminal Ijora and Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL).—Ships and Ports

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…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



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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