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WCO: DIKKO, MIKURIYA HARP ON REGIONAL COLLABORATION AND SYNERGY

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….AS JONATHAN GETS ENCOMIUM FOR HIS STATESMANSHIP 

The Comptroller General of Customs, Dr. Dikko Inde Abdullahi on Wednesday stressed the need for stronger collaboration and synergy amongst regional organizations in the West and Central Africa,  stating that the “reality of our time” has made it mandatory.

 WCO Secretary, Kunio Mikuriya

WCO Secretary, Kunio Mikuriya

Dikko made the observation at the opening ceremony of the sub regional meeting of the World Customs Organization, even as the WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya emphasized that until the menace disease, insurgency or terrorism was collectively and regionally fought, no enduring victory may be guaranteed.

 

CG, MIKURIYA AND Libom Li Likeng Rinette

CG, MIKURIYA AND Libom Li Likeng Rinette

“When we work together , we win together. With the dynamics of international trade and complex nature of border security, we must see ourselves as partners with other Government agencies within and outside our borders.

“The reality of our time imposes on us the obligation of collaboration among all partner agencies of Government; using information technology (IT) and various WCO tools as support”, the Comptroller General said, pointing out that more efforts , more success would be delivered, if stakeholders work on synergies and efficiency.


Speaking on the theme “Coordinated Border Management, an  inclusive approach to connecting stakeholders”, Dikko said the Abuja meeting initiative which recently saw Nigeria, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger sitting and brainstorming on a collaborative approach of combating cross-border terrorism within the region had begun to yield positive results; in addition to assisting in streamlining transit trade between Nigeria and the neighbouring States of Benin and Niger.

“I equally want to recall our resolve against the dreaded Ebola Virus, sympathising with families of affected victims, even as stressed that “from our experience here in Nigeria, no challenge is strong enough to withstand our resolute and collective efforts”.

He however stressed the need for capacity building, through training and retraining of officers, as well as the continuing employment of talented youths, noting that it is their engagement, and training that the emergence of the desired modernized Customs Service would be realized.

“There are talents in Nigeria who believe that successful career can only be nurtured in the private sector.. We need to recruit these talents, particularly those with IT skills and retrain them, with good remuneration, obtainable in the private sector”, stressing that each organization must also focus adequately on welfare package, as a reliable tool, for ensuring improved productivity.

“There is no over-emphasizing the fact that improved welfare for officers will improve productivity and efficiency. Projects like Home Ownership Schemes, subsidized medical services for officers and families and 13th Month salary are some of the incentives we use in Nigeria”, Dikko explained further..; even as he praised President Goodluck Joathan whom he described as a great Statesman and Ambassador of Peace, for providing the Customs Service, the impetus for its immense growth. 

Meanwhile, the WCO Secretary General, Mikuriya has praised the leadership roles that Nigeria is playing in the sub region, noting that from 2011 when he first visited Abuja, till date, he had continued to marvel  with the Nigerian Spirit, their love for hard work, and their commendable leadership qualities as demonstrated during and after the recent 2015 Elections.

He lauded the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), leadership especially, in the pursuit and investment in IT, adding that he was glad that the NCS was able to increase revenue profile by 20 percent, even in the first year of getting its job back, from the Service Providers, particularly, the Destination Inspection group.

Mikuriya also praised President Jonathan,  lauding him for his statesmanship, organising a transparent and credible elections; in addition to the enduring support he gave the NCS, and expressed a desire for similar support by other sub regional political leaderships, for their respective Customs Service.

He assured Nigeria of the continuing support and assistance of the WCO, stressing that the success of the Nigeria Customs experiment may be all that the WCO needs to convince other political leaders, on the importance of supporting totally, their respective Customs Service.

Meanwhile, the three-day event was flagged off yesterday, with a cocktail yesterday  at the Nicon Jotel, Abuja, where of the attendees , particularly, the  WCO Vice Chairman, West and Central Africa,  and Head of Customs , Cameroon, Libom Li Likeng Rinette specially commended the NCS and the Nigerian people.

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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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