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Stakeholders to tackle PPPRA on N86.5 new fuel price

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… As NCC denies involvement in N34bn NBC/MTN licence deal

Udeme Akpan Many stakeholders and groups are set to tackle Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, on the N86.5 per litre new price of fuel in the next few weeks.

Investigations showed that the decision is based on the inability of the agency to provide adequate information to the public on the subject.

Executive Director, Spaces for Change, Mrs. Victoria Ohaeri in a telephone interview noted that it may be difficult to accept the new price unless PPPRA explains how it arrived at the current price regime.

She said: “Members of the public already know that crude oil price currently hovers at over $30 per barrel. But the oil price constitutes only one factor. They need to know other details, including the landing cost since a bulk of the product is imported from the global market.

“The members of the public also need to know other factors such as the marketers’ margins and exdepot price in order to ascertain the accuracy or inaccuracy of the new price.

“Without these and other factors, it would be impossible to embrace the new price. It is necessary for PPPRA and other agencies to be open, transparent and accountable to the people.”

She said Spaces for Change would engage with relevant agencies in the coming weeks in order to ensure that the masses are well-informed.

National President of Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, OGSPAN, Mr. Colman Obasi maintained that it would have been better for PPPRA to present complete facts and figures behind the new fuel price to the public in order to enhance acceptance.

He said it is wrong for the agency to keep the masses guessing on the new fuel price.

Obasi said the need to know and be carried along becomes even more imperative under a democratic government like the present President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

According to him, OGSPAN would send a formal letter, demanding explanation from PPPRA this week.

He said the cooperation of PPPRA and other agencies are necessary to ensure its members and others are well-enlightened on the subject.

A Port Harcourt-based energy expert, Mr. Bala Zaka, who agreed that the publication of the template is required also called on Nigerians to show much understanding with the government.

He indicated that as far as the new price is still below the former N87 per liter, the people should cooperate with government to achieve stability in the downstream sector.

Zaka said the new price will enable government conserve funds, previously expended to pay huge subsidies to oil marketers.

However, a visit to PPPRA website yesterday showed that the agency has not yet publish the template, five days after the announcement was made.

Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr. Farouk Ahmed could not be reached for comments yesterday.

Another official, who preferred not to be named, said PPPRA was still working on the template.

Presidential Bahari did not make any categorical statement on the subject in his first media engagement last week.

“Our priority now is to get our refineries working. By the time we finish what we are doing, 60 per cent of the allocation of crude oil for local refining and 40 per cent would be used for crude oil swap.

“By the end of next quarter, you will not be talking of subsidy. The price is so low that there is no need to subsidise anything,” he had said.

Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu had a few days ago spoke on the new fuel price while interacting with journalists at the Port Harcourt Refinery Company, PHRC, during his inspection tour of the facility.

He had said: “We have done a modulation calculation and it is showing us below N87. I imagine that if the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, publishes it today, it will become effective immediately.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Communications Commission has distanced itself from the N34bn licence deal the MTN struck with the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission to use the 700 mega-hertz spectrum.

The NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Dambata, made this known in the latest edition of the commission’s newsletter.

Dambata said the reason why the commission washed off its hand was that the deal between the NBC and MTN Nigeria was done without its involvement.

The NCC boss said it would seek arbitration and mediation through the Frequency Management Council, which is the highest authority on the management of spectrums.

Dambatta was quoted to have said the 700MHz spectrum shouldn’t have been auctioned by the NBC.

This, according to him, is because it is a telecommunication spectrum that is important for broadband penetration.

He was quoted as saying, “We do not intend to join issues with them (NBC) but we intend to avail ourselves of existing mechanism for arbitration and mediation through the Frequency Management Council.”

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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