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WEEKEND GINGER: BEST PLACES TO WORK?

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…WHY NOT IN NIMASA; IF NOT WITH OIL MARKETERS!

Working as a petroleum product marketer is gradually becoming the best job in Nigeria! Head you win…tail, you win. The only one losing is the Common man!

10454484_316187248505099_6100223381555349114_nAs an ‘oil marketer’, you have a unique privilege of belonging to an association that can freely bring both the authorities, as well as the masses to their knees; while you freely smile to the banks.

FB_20150416_00_08_47_Saved_PictureYou have the honour of tactfully, ‘retrieving’ the sum of N154 billion from a Jonathan’s Government, insists that you still have over N200 billion to further collect, while the clueless government plead for your considered consideration to accept only N131 billion as ‘fuel subsidy’ from its ‘sovereign’ or ‘suffering’ funds; even as arbitrarily ‘deregulate’ supply and begin to sell at prices, far beyond “regulated” cost.

Last week, fuel procured at a petrol station in Berger, just before the long bridge exiting Lagos, on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway was N120 per litre. A day earlier, it was N140 per litre at the same station. That is to show you the members can be very ‘generous’ too. Slashing N20 off, within only N24 hours.

On Tuesday, a station after the same long Bridge sold its petrol at N130 per litre, just as those at Ibafo, freely dispensed at N140.

In Ibadan yesterday, queue simply disappeared at the petrol stations as those with fuel, openly sold at N150 per litre. The only place with a queue was the NNPC Mega Station by the Bashorun General Gas, along the Iwo Road- Ojo Expressway, all because they had no fuel to sell!

But while the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala may still be pleading with the oil marketers to collect N131 billion, the nation would never be appropriately informed, whether or not, the Government would still pay subsidy, of stock that the common man is currently buying at N150 per litre in Ibadan; or N140 at Ibafo!

Nigerians believe that Government would still pay the oil marketers on the current stock. They had witnessed how Government speedily declared a ‘subsidized’ kerosene for N50 per litre, joyfully paid the subsidy; and remained deaf, dumb and blind as masses begged the authorities to suspend payment of the subsidy, because they were 85 percent of the time, unable to find any subsidized kerosene!

Nigerians also believe that the petrol crisis would continue unabated, into the first week of the inauguration of the government of the President elect, General Muhammadu Buhari. It is the only to secure and retain Buhari’s attention, especially to force him, to negotiate with them! And then, the nation may continue in Okonjo-Iweala’s language, “roll on, and roll off” the debts, till thy kingdom come!

By the way, I overslept today! The tiny mosque with giant public address systems near my home, which usually wakes me up at 5.00 am with the celebrated “Call for Prayer”, had no fuel to power its generator!

But I may never be able to work as an oil marketer. It is a special terrain where the multi-billionaires call the shots! Perhaps, I should go and work, with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Yes… NIMASA is it!

I know NIMASA would naturally confer a lot of advantages. At NIMASA, we would easily collect various levies, particularly the Cabotage Vessels Financing Fund (CVFF), and rather than expend the stupendous billions on the critical stakeholders, for the acquisition of ships so as to both boost capacity and generate desired employment; we could stash the billions in few ‘lucky’ banks at rates as low as 3%; even when we know that Nigerian banks do not offer loans at less than 18 percent!

At NIMASA, we could also do a re-appraisal of our mandate, ignore our core mandate of growing shipping; throw overboard the second critical mandate of performing the state flagship duty of raising the standard or quality of shipping operations, especially by foreign registered vessels trading in Nigeria; and latch on to the infinitesimal task of raising safety to engage in the pursuit of piracy!

We could thereafter, engage, compete and ‘collaborate’ with the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Airforce and if possible later too, even the Nigerian Army, to provide them with ‘platforms’, ‘helicopter’ and possibly later, armoured tanks, if Buhari allows us; wrongly, recklessly and illegally squandering hard-earned resources, at absolutely overlapping functions, with little or no significant bearing to my core mandate!

Yea! At NIMASA, we could freely side line the Navy who needed to acquire and use patrol vessels to monitor the waters, and travel to Norway behind their back, to procure de-commissioned war boats, only to compel them to come and collect our latest ‘platform’ irrespective of whether or not, it actually meets their stringent or technical specifications!

Truly, if I can’t work as an oil marketer, why not NIMASA, where I can grow so powerful to such a point where I finally forget that I’m still a ‘Public Servant’, and thus frontally size-up and issue ultimatums to expandable political parties, at the drop of a coin, to shape in; eat their words, or be engaged in legal tango! Even if, I have to beat a fast retreat soon after!
A sage counselled: sugar your words as you utter them, so that you won’t find it bitter, in case you have to eat it back!

But, how can I think of going to work at NIMASA, now that the agency is indicated to be so broke, that it has reportedly begun to visit banks, to raise loans, to pay staff salaries?!

Maybe, we should critically explore other places, where I can work, aside from NIMASA….
See you next week. Until then, keep asking yourself: Is it still “No Cure, No Pay?!”

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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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