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Weekend Ginger: Nigeria, President Jonathan and sliding petroleum prices



Gasoline prices further crashed in the United States this week, as it on the average,  sold for $2.47 per gallon, even as the Naira got weaker, and on the average, exchanged for N190 per Dollar.



It was the first time gasoline has been under $2.50 since 2009; and by January, according to Keith Kohl, Editor of Energy and Capital, it is expected to be as low as $2.25 for a gallon of regular. Similarly, it was also the first time that Naira would exchange this low, just as it could further slide southward, to N200 per Dollar, by January!

Speaker, Tambuwal

Speaker, Tambuwal

In the ancient Yoruba history, some men were described as the “Abobaku”, meaning those who must die, with the King. In so far as the King reigns, the Abobaku can enjoy. The day the King dies, the Abobaku would be killed. It is his lot! Nigerian successive governments elevated the crude petroleum to the status of Kings; and inadvertently relegated the people to the humbled hopeless ranks of “Abobakus”. 

Capt Labinjo Dada, NISA Secretary General

Capt Labinjo Dada, NISA President

Or, how come the fate of about 96 percent of over 170 millions of Nigerians have suddenly become not just attached, but seemingly, totally dependent on the continuing demands for it?! No thanks for warped minded planners and managers, who were comfortable, planning the economy on a monolithic consideration: crude petroleum!

A Public Relations Officer with the Bahrain Maritime Authority, (something akin to our own NIMASA) was asked, how come their country ran a taxation regime which provided foreign investors easy access to land, coupled with about two years tax moratorium status at inception.

The guy said they knew one day, that the demand for crude petroleum would crash in price; and so wanted to entrench a sufficient industries-based economy, before the doomsday. Now, that is foresight! No wonder their money is three times, stronger than a Dollar.

Nigeria exported its crude Free on Board (FOB) and yet imported her cargoes, wet, general or bulk, on a Cost Insurance Freight (CIF). It is worse than crass ignorance. It is far worse than myopic recklessness. It is a curse!

It robs the country of any value-added services. It denied the youths of the desired employment opportunities, either in the shipping sector or through its supportive ancillary factors.

This was definitely, not Goodluck Jonathan’s making. It was a system a powerful cabal initiated. It was a system each head had freely and “parasitically” nurtured and passed on. It was a system that Jonathan had inherited and retained!

If Naira at 165 to a Dollar was hard luck; what would be the fate of Naira at 200 to a Dollar, to a gargantuan population which imports virtually everything, from pins to palm oil!

Perhaps, for Government, there may be no better time than now, to employ more people who would educate her people presently. The Government needs urgently, those who would come down to the battered level of the populace, to enlighten us, on several things,   particularly, the issue of subsidy!

It must tell the people how it has “judiciously” expended the kerosene subsidy, while the masses mournfully bought it, at purely market rates.
It must educate the people, on why the authorities have commissioned several mega KVAs and yet, most of those who enjoy electricity supply merely have it mostly in the nights, as if it was meant to only fuel procreation!

And beyond these, the Government must educate the people, as to new efforts being pursued, to protect the masses who neither benefited from her subsidy nor any truly, free health treatment, from the adverse effects of the continuing, southward slide in petroleum prices; apart from porous assurances of increasing taxation of those with private jets!

The Government, nay the President must understand that some of the masses, despite the odds, still loves him. And should this remaining dwindling group gets hungrier, they too may become despondent too and stop praying for him. Or, is that not what the social contract theory teaches: that the leader must continue to enjoy the absolute loyalty of his people, in so far as he protectively, leads them well?

But those who must assist the President to do this job must be first cautioned, to do it with grace and candour; not the present set, who have in their belligerence, seemingly done more harms than good to Mr. President. They are gradually, but consistently ruining President Jonathan’s chances for 2015.

The President, must also take decisive measures, to pump funds into the education sector, particularly at the tertiary levels. A situation where the public institutions are perceived  as deliberately sabotaged, so as to enable the private universities prosper is not in the best interest of his Second Coming!.

Finally, a President who as a boy could not afford any shoes to wear, must fully appreciate the fact that soon enough, if the Government fails to protect the masses, they would become poor. ; thereby compounding the problems of the original poor class who had hitherto, depended on slightly, less poor. 

The “poors” cannot sleep, if they are hungry. The rich, even if they have acquired bullet proof helicopters may also not be able to sleep, if the “poors” are permanently awake.

There is however another alternative which Mr. President may consider as an option: refuse to invest a little in education and enlightenment and spend times 3 of it, on security and Boko Harams!



WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…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



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…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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