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Weekend Ginger: Money begets Money; but the Government has warehoused the TSA funds!

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The light blue jet toured down from the sky, like a bat out of hell, cruising speedily at a 45°accute angle towards the swamp. The children on the Arepo community field abandoned their football game and fled. A woman, unconsciously holding her big breast was shouting: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”.

It was 6.19pm, Thursday.

From where we stood, between the field and the Arepo community statute, we thought the jet was heading to crash. But few seconds before it thundered unto the ground, it veered left, it spitted three frightening ‘fire’,” praaa-pa-pa!”, regained altitude, flew round, and sped in the direction opposite Lagos!

An armoured vehicle, with soldiers on the alert dashed towards the swamp, as shops hurriedly closed for business.
All businesses shut down. Arepo stood still as everyone fled behind closed doors. The few shops that still opened were those selling cooked foods, and they disappointedly waited, in vain, for customers who hid behind closed doors. Few hours later, we learnt the jet actually called to bomb pipeline vandals and saboteurs. We have since not seen some of our neighbours and ‘drinking’ mates at the joints towards Rainbow Estate. We probably may not see some of them again, if the report that between 147 to 150 vandals were felled!

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

Obviously, no one can say President Muhammadu Buhari has not exceeded former President Jonathan Goodluck, in the area of enhanced security. But, several Nigerians would readily agree that the economic terrain under Jonathan was a lot softer and fairer to them than now, under Buhari.

In other words, President Buhari has better Security Managers. Jonathan had better Economic Managers!

Under Jonathan, Nigeria arguably was the largest and fastest growing economy in Africa. It was also assumed to be about the third fastest growing economy in the world. Under Buhari, Nigeria has one of the most enviable security apparatus in the continent. Even as we still await the dreaded drones, to land!

But, how come some believe that Buhari has lousy economic managers? The reason is simple: Money begets money; but the President’s economic experts have convinced the President to ‘warehouse’ the monumental funds of the Treasure Single Account (TSA) idly in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

An expert who lauded the President on the introduction of the TSA, opined that the President should have allowed the CBN to develop a working arrangements with the Commercial banks on how the funds, could be managed by the various banks, to benefit the citizens.

“Trust begets trust. Confidence begets confidence; and Money begets money!  What rationale do we have for taking the money from the commercial banks, where it was being productively utilized by Nigerians, only to warehouse it in the Strong rooms of the CBN?”, he asked, highlighting that it was the singular reason why some companies which hitherto thrived on government funds in their custody began to fold up!

“Government is well intentioned. We needed to take control of the funds from perceivably corrupt Chief Executives who were bargaining with it with Bank executives. But, we should have upon taking control, create new modalities which would thereafter, return same funds to the commercial bank managers who would still ensure that the citizens continue to productively utilize it”, he explained further, noting that light availability had begun to improve, ever since Government commenced payments of stipends to the ex-militants.

“Government should continue to apply the carrot and the big stick strategy”, he said further, lauding President Muhammadu Buhari, for his vision and steadfastness on security issues.

In the meantime, let’s continue to pray for Mr. President, despite the dreadful weakness of the Naira, against the Dollar.

If his government could perform so impressively in the sphere of security; if the Government could pull so much positive surprise in the improvement of power supply ; there should be no doubt, that with genuine and dedicated prayers of the people, the President should also be able to pull mind-boggling, but commendable surprises, in the area of strengthening the Naira also.

We refuse to lose faith, despite the odds.
May the President live forever!

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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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