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TAAM 5.0: Akabogu Tasks NIMASA On Cabotage Law Implementation, Calls It Huge Failure



NIMS Is To Entrench Continental Maritime Industry Efficiency- Akabogu 

A renowned maritime lawyer and Senior Partner of Akabogu & Associates, Dr. Emeka Akabogu, has described the implementation of Cabotage law as a huge failure.

Akabogu said this during a panel discussion at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) Conference on Friday in Lagos.

The conference organised by SIFAX Group in collaboration with the Maritime Forum, University of Lagos had the theme: The Maritime Roadmap Project – Making Nigeria a Leading Maritime Nation in the World.

 Nigeria made a bold attempt to change the face of maritime business within its coasts when it enacted the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003.

The objective of the Cabotage Act is primarily to reserve the commercial transportation of goods and services within Nigerian coastal and inland waters to vessels flying the Nigerian flag and owned by persons of Nigerian citizenship.

Akabogu said that operators had not benefited from the Cabotage law.

“The Nigerian Maritime Administration Agency (NIMASA) is responsible for the implementation of the Cabotage, which came with a lot of hope but has been a huge failure.

“It is a failure because what should be of advantage to Nigerians has clearly not been implemented.

“Nigerian shipowners invested in ships because they believe in Cabotage but however, faced the disappointment of government not implementing Cabotage measures which have resulted in foreign shipowners competing in our domain.

“The Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) which has been accumulating by shipowners since 2004 to date has not been disbursed for once. It is disgraceful and there is no explanation which can be justified,” he said.

TAAM Panelists while brainstorming during the UNILAG Conference

He pointed out that it was in view of this and many others that it would be difficult to determine what could be justified as measurable achievements by the maritime industry.

Akabogu, however, noted that from the port point of view, the only significant measurable stride was the concession of the ports to private terminal operators in 2006.

He said that the private sector operators such as SIFAX had significantly contributed to the development of the Nigerian maritime space.

On what could be done with regard to NIMASA Act, and the Merchant Shipping Act, Akabogu who described NIMASA Act as a highly useful instrument said it needs to be implemented.

“NIMASA Act makes provision for the maritime fund which is 25 percent of the income that NIMASA generates and this fund should go to the development of the Nigerian maritime space across board.

“This is separate from the CVFF in the Cabotage Act which should go exclusively for the development of ship-owning capacity.

“What is being done by NIMASA with this 25 percent maritime fund within the context of the law?

“Today we have NIMASA significantly investing in projects which should be undertaken by humanitarian agencies and not investing in those projects which are of long-term sustainable value to the Nigerian maritime industry,” he said.

He pointed out that another issue NIMASA should be concerned about was the national carrier status.

On the Merchant Shipping Act, Akabogu called for a technical guide that would ensure the implementation of safety and security standards.

This, he said, would ensure that ships coming to Nigeria were not delayed unnecessarily.

“Going forward, as an industry, we need to start becoming more responsible, private sector should not shy away from holding public servants accountable, Nigerian shipowners should work with acceptable minimum standards to ensure that there is confidence in the system.

“The freight forwarders association have done a lot of disservice to the Nigerian maritime industry as a result of continued backlash among themselves, they also need to adopt technology which will lead to having a single window in port,” he said.

Also, Dr. Adewole Bodunrin, the President, of the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria, stressed the need to establish a maritime arbitration centre in Nigeria to aid the measurable strides that would make the shipping successful.

“98 per cent of Nigerian cargoes are being transported by foreign carriers and when a dispute arises, Nigeria is left out because there is no arbitrary centre,” Bodunrin said.

Ms Funmi Folorunso, the Secretary-General, African Shipowners Association,  while speaking on having increased shipowners in Nigeria noted that “there are ships but the ships are not what the country needs in 2023.”

According to Folorunso, there is a need to set agenda for the incoming administration on what the industry needs to achieve sustainable growth.

“Nigeria does not have a fleet development agenda and we need to ask ourselves if national shipping is what we require now or Nigerian shipping lines,” she said.

She urged the Federal Government to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) for economic growth and development.

“Nigeria has a history of oil tankers. AfCFTA is not about oil tankers but cargo movement within the African states and we need to tap into it,” she said.

Also, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, the President, the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association, said for sustainable shipping, Nigeria must develop its human capital, build and develop infrastructure such as the deep seaport.

“In acquiring vessels, it should not be sought outside, Nigeria has all the materials needed to construct the vessels, what we lack is the political will to push it forward.

“There is a need to look inward and start developing what we have, sensitise the young ones on opportunities in the industry,” she said.

The TAAM conference was birthed to serve as a platform where key issues that will engender innovations and practical ideas needed to sustain the growth of be maritime sector are discussed and workable solutions proffered.


Children’s Day: London Academy Business School Celebrates Nigerian Children



...Reiterates commitment to provide high-quality education to Nigerian Child***
Dr. Larry, the Director of London Academy Business School (LABS), joined other Nigerian leaders from other industries to celebrate children on children's Day. In his words, Dr. Larry stated that children remind us of the future.
While speaking to reporters, he emphasized the aura of love that children create in the homes and throughout society, Also that "the joy and happiness from children are amazing, sufficient enough to drive energy for nation building."

Dr. Larry also advocated for effective child protection policies and implementation, urging all critical stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and the government, to protect and celebrate children.
  To ensure that high-quality education is available to children in Nigeria, London Academy Business School has established a Lagos Study Centre with state of the art facility and modern technology with plans to expand across all cities in Nigeria.

Dr. Jones-Esan, who has big plans to change the face of education in Nigeria, has also urged the government and private stakeholders to work with him and his team of professionals to change the face of education in Nigeria. He claims that many children have big potentials but can't realise them because they're not in school.
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Tinubu To Adopt Price Control Mechanism For Agro Products



… Vows to Defend Nigeria From Terror, Criminality – Tinubu***

President Bola Tinubu says he will take steps to ensure price control for agricultural products.

Tinubu said this in his inaugural address on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, rural income shall be secured by commodity exchange boards guaranteeing minimal prices for certain crops and animal products.

He said that agricultural hubs would be created throughout the nation to increase production and engage in value-added processes.

“The livestock sector will be introduced to best modern practices and steps taken to minimise the perennial conflict over land and water resources in the sector.

“Through these actions, food shall be made more abundant yet less costly. Farmers shall earn more while the average Nigerian pays less,” he said.

On foreign policy, Tinubu said that the crisis in Sudan and the turn from democracy by several nations in “our immediate neighbourhood were of pressing concern”.

He said that his primary foreign policy objective would be the peace and stability of the West African continent.

“We shall work with ECOWAS, the AU, and willing partners in the international community to end extant conflicts and to resolve new ones.

“As we contain threats to peace, we shall also retool our foreign policy to more actively lead the regional and continental quest for collective prosperity, ” he said.

The President called on all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliations, to support his government in his bid to take Nigeria to greater heights.

“Our administration will govern on your behalf but never rule over you.

“We shall consult and dialogue with, but never dictate. We shall reach out to all but never put down a single person for holding views contrary to our own.

“We are here to further mend and heal this nation not tear and injure it,” he said.

In the meantime, President, Bola Tinubu, has promised to defend Nigeria from terror and all forms of criminality threatening the peace and stability of the country and the sub-region.

Tinubu said this in his inaugural address after he was sworn in as the 16th democratically elected president of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

He said that security shall be the top priority of his administration, saying that neither prosperity nor justice could prevail amidst insecurity and violence.

“To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our security Doctrine and its Architecture.

“We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number.

“We shall provide, better training, equipment, pay and firepower,” he said.

Tinubu said his mission was to improve the lives of Nigerians in a manner that nurtured humanity, encourage compassion toward one another, and duly rewards collective effort to resolve the social ills that sought to divide the nation.

“Our constitution and laws give us a nation on paper, saying we must work harder at bringing these noble documents to life by strengthening the bonds of economic collaboration, social cohesion, and cultural understanding,” he said.

He called for the development of a shared sense of fairness and equity, adding that the South must not only seek good for itself but must understand that its interests were served when good come to the North.

“The North must see the South likewise.

“Whether from the winding creeks of the Niger Delta, the vastness of the northern savannah, the boardrooms of Lagos, the bustling capital of Abuja, or the busy markets of Onitsha, you are all my people.

“As your president, I shall serve with prejudice toward none but compassion and amity towards all.

“In the coming days and weeks, my team will publicly detail key aspects of our programme,” he said.

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: Don Predicts Reduction In Fuel Price



Prof. AbdulGafar Ijaiya of the Department of Economics, University of Ilorin, has expressed optimism at President Bola Tinubu’s inaugural remarks on the removal of fuel subsidies, saying this may reduce prices at the long run.

Ijaiya, who spoke on Monday in Ilorin, observed that with commitment from the Federal Government in revamping existing refineries alongside Dangote refineries, will increase the availability of petroleum products.

The expert who however explained that though such effect may not be felt immediately, noted that the present pump price is about N200, depending on filling stations across the country.

He questioned if the present fuel price at about N200 was as a result of the subsidy removal, adding that if it is not, then fuel may likely increase with about 50 per cent rate after the removal.

“But the thing is that very soon, what has gone wrong with the refineries will be corrected and Dangote refineries will commence by July/August,” he said.

Ijaiya, who teaches in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the university, pointed out that in the beginning there might be an increase in the prices of foods and services.

He however asserted that in a society like Nigeria where people are used to hike in prices, it would not mean much to the citizens.

“By Economics principle, we have adjusted our expenditure profile consumption to particular items. We have moved from consuming luxury and unnecessary items to necessary items.

“This means people go for what is necessary and do away with those that are not,” he said.

Ijaiya affirmed that in the long run, the fuel pump price will adjust downward and there would be more supply of the products.

He further added that when there are more supply of a particular product in the market, it will automatically reduce the price.

“If we have enough supply, with time and there are no other man-made distortion that has to do with our behaviour, I see us buying it between N80 and N100 per litre,” he predicted.

The economist also foresee filling station advertising and competing for sales, saying it will be good for the nation.

He, however, cautioned that “we are in an uncertain world”, but maintained that fuel subsidy removal would be good for the country eventually as only a minority are benefiting from it.

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