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SIFAX: Infrastructural deficit, bane of maritime industry growth – Afolabi



  • As Don tells Gov’t: Adopt Measures To Grow Economy

The SIFAX Group Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi has identified the currently huge infrastructural deficit as a major factor seriously impeding the Nigerian maritime sector from fulfilling its potentials and called on the Federal Government to decisively address it.

“Our sector cannot continue to reel under the burden of infrastructural decay if we want to contribute meaningfully to the economy and fulfill the industry’s potentials”, Dr Afolabi stated, highlighting them as the deplorable access roads, faulty cargo scanners, non-existent rail system, and the non-functional truck bay, among others, which seemingly have conspired to negatively impact the service delivery efficiency and overall maritime sector impact.

Addressing participants at the second edition of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference held on Friday, August 4, 2017 at the Main Auditorium, University of Lagos.

He indicated that a key focus of the conference is to promote the culture of intellectual discourse in the country’s maritime industry, particularly an intellectual engagement which will be solution-oriented.

L-R: Mrs Funke Agbor (SAN), Senior Partner, ACAS-Law; Bola Ashiru, Strategy and Operations Lead‎, Deloitte West Africa; Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group; Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, Chairman of the Occasion; Inam Wilson, Partner, Templars Law; Princess Vicky Haastrup, Executive Vice Chairman, ENL Consortium Limited and Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria at the 2nd edition of the 2017 Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference held at UNILAG sponsored by SIFAX Group.

“We seek to address topical issues that are germane to the prosperity of the maritime sector as well as all its stakeholders, which include the client, agents, investors, regulators, workers and the community, among others.

“According to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations affiliate responsible for regulating the global maritime industry, over 90% of the world’s trade is transported by sea and it is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world.

“The sector also has a key role to play in the alleviation of extreme poverty and hunger as it already provides an important source of income and employment for many developing countries, such as the supply of seagoing personnel and ship recycling, ship owning and operating, shipbuilding and repair and port services, among others.

Mallam D. Bulangu, former GM Sifax (1st left), Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, Chairman of the Occasion (1st right) and other distinguished participants

“As highlighted above, the maritime industry is strategic to any maritime nation in terms of its contribution to its economic growth and development” he posited further.

He however regretted that in Nigeria, the contribution of the sector to the country’s GDP is still very low when juxtaposed with its huge potentials and opportunities, and commended the commitment of the Federal Government to reforms in the maritime industry, especially in respect of the Executive Order signed some months back by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

“It is an acknowledgement of the fact that things must be done differently. However, infrastructural deficit would negate the good intentions of the government if this problem is not strategically and urgently addressed.

WISTA Chieftain, Barr. Jean Chiazor Anishere at the event.

“Experts from diverse, but relevant backgrounds – maritime, law, academics, business, consultancy etc, have been assembled to do justice to the topic. Many of them I know personally and can attest to their rigour, scholarship and genuine commitment to improvement in the sector. To those I have not met, I have been privileged to read their resumes. To say they are intimidating is an understatement. I am convinced that we would end this conference with useful insights that will translate to a tangible solution.

“Let me thank the president, officers and members of the Maritime Forum, who have shown through this conference that young people can act as catalysts for change if they put their minds to it. I have always believed in the energy and dynamism of the youth and it’s not surprising that they are showing us that they are ready to lead in the future”, he concluded, saying how refreshing and humbling, it was for him, to see his little efforts at stimulating growth in the maritime industry, being recognized by his  alma mater, the UNILAG and by its crop of young but highly intelligent students who had shown keen interest in the industry.

In the meantime, a financial expert, Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, has observed a pronounced dysfunctioning manufacturing sector where growth is stunted as the demand for goods and services far outstripped supply; and urged the Federal Government to adopt urgent corrective measures.

The Senior Economist at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, made the call on Sunday in Lagos while reacting to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data for the month of July.

Highlighting the need to fast-track the growth of the manufacturing sector through the provision of infrastructure and the provision of credit, Tella noted that the data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) only showed that the PMI stood at 54.1 per cent in July 2017, indicating marginal expansion in the manufacturing sector for the fourth consecutive month.

He therefore urged the managers of the economy to develop a robust research that would show improvement in the economy.

“I think that the situation has not changed. There is need for the managers to look at the economy holistically.

“There is need for the research component to give us a true reflection of the economy,’’ Tella said, pointing out that the decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to retain the lending rate at 14 per cent cannot stimulate the economy since the cost of borrowing is too high.

The financial expert noted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also said that the growth of the nation’s economy was slow, below expectation.

The don argued that no meaningful improvement could take place in an economy with a huge infrastructure deficit, a composite PMI above 50 points indicates that the manufacturing/non-manufacturing economy is generally expanding.

Fifty points indicates no change and below 50 points indicates that it is generally contracting. Below are the PMI for the months of March to July.

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MWUN Felicitates with Sanwo-Olu, Says Victory Demonstrates People’s Love for Selfless Service



MWUN Felicitates with Sanwo-Olu, Says Victory Demonstrates People's Love for Selfless Service

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has congratulated His Excellency, Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu on his re-election as the Executive Governor of Lagos State.

 President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju felicitated with the governor, noting that Sanwo-Olu’s victory is well deserved, following his focused selfless service.

According to the President General, the victory is a clear testimony of the love showered on the governor as the Chief Executive of the state by the people of Lagos State.

Prince Adeyanju promised the commitment of the union to making the seaports safer under a better working environment for all the practitioners.

In his words: “The Lagos State election which was keenly contested for, left Governor Sanwo-Olu winning the election on a very wide margin; this which gave him an edge over other contestants was a clear testimony of love showered on him as the Chief Executive of the state by the people.

“We in the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria wish to felicitate with the amiable Lagos State Governor on his well-deserved victory during the poll in the state. The President-General of the Union, Comrade Adeyanju has promised the Governor of the Union’s commitment towards making the nation’s seaports safer under a better working environment for all the practitioners.

“On behalf of my executives, I wish to express our profound readiness to work and synergies with the Governor in all areas of the Maritime Industry towards achieving the best of economic values for the state and the nation at large. On this note, we say congratulation, Governor Sanwo-Olu!”

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Re-Election: Adeleke congratulates Makinde as Folarin felicitates, lauds Oyo voters



Re-Election: Adeleke congratulates Makinde as Folarin felicitates, lauds Oyo voters

 Gov. of Ademola Adeleke of Osun has congratulated his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, on his re-election in the March 18 governorship poll.

He gave the congratulatory message in a statement on Monday in Osogbo.

He described the outcome of the election as a strong vote of confidence in the performance of Makinde in the last four years.

He added that “I congratulate my brother, Governor Seyi Makinde on his re-election at the polls.

“Residents of Oyo State have reaffirmed their faith and confidence in his performance.

“They have confirmed the rapid development of Oyo State under the able leadership of my brother, Seyi Makinde.

“On behalf of the people and government of Osun State, I extend warm felicitation to Gov. Makinde.

“I look forward to years of partnership and collaboration between our two states on inter-state infrastructure development, among others.”

Adeleke also described Oyo and Osun states as siamese twins, calling for closer partnership in economic and social affairs.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Sunday declared Makinde the winner of the 2023 governorship election in Oyo State.

Makinde had 563,756 votes to defeat his closest rival, Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 256,685 votes.

In a related development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Oyo State, Sen. Teslim Folarin, has congratulated Gov. Seyi Makinde on his victory in the March 18 governorship election in the state.

Folarin’s congratulatory message is contained in a statement personally signed by him and made available to newsmen on Monday in Ibadan.

 Makinde, of People Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after polling 568,756 votes to defeat his closest rival, Folarin who scored 256,685.

Folarin, while congratulating Makinde, expressed appreciation to the electorate in the state for their support to APC candidates in the just-concluded general elections.

He also expressed gratitude to God for preserving the lives of the people throughout the electioneering process and to his friends and political allies for their overwhelming support.

He commended members of the 2023 Oyo State APC Presidential and Governorship Campaign Council for their issue-based campaigns, loyalty, dedication and commitment to the struggle.

“My gratitude also goes to the coalition parties, candidates of other political parties, volunteers, the press and individuals that contributed to the ‘Itesiwaju Ipinle Oyo 2023’ project,” he said.

The APC governorship candidate, however, appealed to party members and support groups to remain calm, as the results of the election were being studied.

“It is God that gives and takes power. May Oyo State and our people continue to prosper,” he said.

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Nigerian Maritime Women form new Association; Canvasses Equity, Digital Innovations



Nigerian Maritime Women form new Association; Canvasses Equity, Digital Innovations

Four maritime women associations which jointly organized a summit where they canvassed for gender parity in the maritime sector and encouraged more women’s contributions to technological advancement in the digital space have agreed to form a single association to advance their cause.

The four associations are: Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, African Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigerian chapter, Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA), Nigerian chapter and Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria (FESAN).

The summit, which was part of activities to mark the 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD), was anchored on the IWD 2023 theme; ‘Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’.

Speaking at the event, the WISTA-Nigeria President, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke noted that as separate groups their impact have been fragmented while they have also been unable to get requisite support from the federal government in attending crucial regional and international conferences.

Her words: “One of the high points for the collaboration was the inability to get financial support especially in attending international conferences. It is at global meetings that we can network with other women and major global operators. When one intends to contest for regional or international positions, one would need to know women in maritime in other countries to get their buy-in. The federal government hasn’t been giving us the support to attend international conferences.”

“We explained this to the Permanent Secretary of the Transport Ministry, Dr. (Mrs.) Magdalene Ajani at a recent meeting and it was at that point she informed us that there has been no budgetary provision for women at the Ministry for some years. She encouraged us to start sourcing funds. We, however, have examples of other African countries where the women were backed fully for these activities.”

Stressing that government support mustn’t always be financial support, Ezeoke stated that there could be a sort of moral support by recognizing women groups among stakeholders such that shipping companies, terminal operators, NLNG, and oil firms are inclined to take up the financial support to enable women achieve the advocacy dreams.

In her own submission, the President of WIMOWCA Nigeria, Mrs Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore opined that the removal of women budgetary provisions from the Transport Ministry underscored the Importance of getting more women into key leadership positions where such decisions are taken.

Edodo-Emore, who is also Chairman, Zoe Maritime Resources Limited, expressed delight at the utilizing of technology to address the challenges of artisanal fishers who get better fees for their products and are better equipped to preserve them on account of several innovations.

“With this partnership, women are better placed to access funding for women’s education and training. We are all excited and we believe that we are set to begin reaping the benefits of this partnership. As regards fishing, it’s important that we bring technology into the fishing industry.

“The process of catching the fishes, preservation, storage, among other processes have evolved with technology. We need to sensitize and equip the industry, especially artisanal fishers,” she said.

Speaking, Mrs Rollens Macfoy, President of WIMA Nigeria, said that success has no gender even as she encouraged women to seek to be the best at what they do such that it becomes difficult to be marginalized.

“When you strive to bring out your value and worth by your doggedness, innovation, skills and humility; at this point, if you’re being marginalized there is something to shout and fight about. Nevertheless, a lot of organizations have an unwritten law or position that prevented women from rising to Directors or head of the agency. At such organizations, we have observed that gradually women have been emerging as Directors, heads of units and sometimes head of the agency. It is a gradual process and it will keep getting better,” Macfoy said.

She was optimistic that with the Women in Maritime Network operating, by the end of the year, women will make strides like the force of gravity as more women will also be given a voice and attention.

A cadet under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), Ms Peace Moulders, said that innovation and technology would play a critical role in addressing the world challenges from climate change to healthcare and others.

Moulders, however, stressed that it is not enough to simply wait for the technology to emerge, advising women to actively embrace and promote them to drive positive change.

“A call for action for individuals and organisations is to foster a culture of innovation by encouraging risk-taking, investing in research and development, promoting ethical considerations and advocating for policy changes. Government and organisation should remove barriers to innovation because by embracing them there would be a better future for the girls, and communities,” she said.

Other participants at the event are the Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Mrs. Vivian Chimezie-Azubuike; Head of Nigerian Ship Registry at NIMASA, Mrs. Nneka Obianyor; Treasurer, WISTA Nigeria and Deputy Director, Revenue at NIMASA, Dr. (Mrs) Odunayo Ani; among others.

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