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WEEKEND GINGER: FROM RORO PORT, TO RORO DEBT

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…JONATHAN HAS DEFINITELY NOT SACKED ENOUGH!

President Goodluck Jonathan has fired two persons: first an Inspector General of Police and then a Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). He gave them the portfolios; so he has a right to sack them. The only thing wrong is that the President is yet to sack those who ought to have been sacked first: those who made a mess of the President’s plan to provide electricity.

The President knew he must give the people electricity power. He knew like God, that light would for ever be the most single important item to Nigerians. But whereas God not only prioritized it, HE also made light the pivot of all creation, by purposefully declaring: Let there be light; the President only declared an emergency, sets up a group to midwife it; went to bed; waiting on a group that gleefully messed him up!

Shortly before the late President Musa Yar’ Adua died, the nation’s generating capacity was put at roughly about 4200 mega watts (mw) minus or plus. We had light. We also had generating plants. As at last week, our current generating capacity was roughly about 2,979.07 Mw. Between Yar’ Adua and last week, it was not only the case that we had lost over 1,220 mw; or that electricity supply had tumbled, but also that even the capacity to provide fuel for our generating plants had been withdrawn. I queued for 25 minutes at a feeling station near the First Bank at Ibafo, on the Lagos –Ibadan Expressway on Friday night; before I could buy petrol for N140 per litre!

Was this a sector where the Government is still paying subsidy? Has the subsidy now been finally removed? Or are we still paying the subsidy? If we are still paying, then why are we now buying the item for N140 per litre, to power a generator? Some young fellows have no idea of what a generating plant looks like in Ivory Coast, Senegal; and soon enough now, Ghana! But a two month-old baby in Nigeria, even the ones born in Ikoyi and Victoria Island in Lagos, knows the sound and smell of a generator!

A whole week I spent at a hotel around Nungua Beach in Ghana, there was no single power outage! But most part of the city of Ibadan had not enjoyed four-hour cumulative light supply, in the past one week!

Nigerians had poor light supply before the sector was concessioned. After the concession, light simply disappeared! We didn’t believe a sage discovered that ‘half bread is better than none”! Now, we know!

A source disclosed that on one occasion when Mr. President’s Emergency electricity enhancing group met, it was decided that a target of 4,000 mw should be set for 2014; 5,000mw for 2015 and 6,000mw be set for 2016. But somebody reminded them of the need to raise the bar, in order to impress Mr. President, even if the target remains a mirage. Consequently, targets of 5,000 mw, was set for 2014; 6,000 mw for 2015; 10,000 mw for 2016 and 12,000 mw for 2017. It was further learnt that once they agreed on the projection, they laboriously convinced the President; even though everyone knew their agreed target was spurious, bogus and unattainable.

In 2014, they achieved 3200mw; and in 2015, they abandon the targets totally, to concentrate on Mr. President’s re-election. Overnight, the mega watts tumbled, sliding under 3000 mw!

It is the members of this group that Mr. President must identify today and sanction. If the President had provided 24/7 electricity, Buhari x 5 could not remove a single Goodluck Jonathan from office!

But if you think the above group was mediocre, what would you say of the second group?  A group charged to calculate how much fuel was imported, so that subsidy could be paid to them. Faced by man-made scarcity of the major oil importers, the team met the multi-billionaire marketers and after several hours, failed to agree on what Nigeria owed them.

We don’t need a PhD, to calculate how many millions of litres of fuel Nigerians can consume daily; we don’t need a PhD to tell us if we multiply this by five, we can manage to get an average of what Nigerians consume, between Monday and Friday. We also don’t need a seasoned Mathematician like ‘Chike Obi’ to tell us that what we consume on Sundays cannot be as much as what we are likely to consume, between Mondays and Fridays.

Simple logics calculation could therefore, provide an idea of minus or plus; of what we are likely to pay as subsidy, in one week; one month; or one year!

Furthermore, we could then juxtapose obtained figures with figures obtained from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), in terms of fuel importation, since they were also expected to remit certain amount of money to the NPA offers, based on quantity imported!

The ANLCA National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu could help them in this calculation. You don’t need a PhD!

Yet, a revered member of this second group, and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iwealla allegedly had this to say: “This is a rolling business and there is no one definitive figure. Even as we talk today, by the time we leave, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA may have cleared some more Sovereign Debt Notes and as speak, the Executive Secretary of PPPRA has been clearing and certifying payments, and that is why it is really not a fixed sum!

Nigeria has paid them N154 billion. Government says what was outstanding now was about N131 bn; but the oil marketers put the figure as about N200 billion. It was then generously agreed that they should probably roll the debt to the in-coming Government. In other words, Buhari’s Government is already indebted to oil marketers now, to the tune of over N200 billion!

These are the people that President ought to sack!

I used to celebrate the word RoRo Port, because it has to do with Roll on, Roll off port activities. I never knew I would wake up one day, and we will all be talking of Roll on, Roll off Debt!

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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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