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Weekend Ginger: Why Buhari Must Seek Out Another ‘Awolowo’

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  • Situation today… Not really too different!

President Muhammadu Buhari left no one in doubt as he acknowledged the harsh reality of the recession, while appealing to Nigerians for understanding and patience.

“The recession for many individuals and families is real. For some It means not being able to pay school fees, for others it’s not being able to afford the high cost of food (rice and millet) or the high cost of local or international travel, and for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic”, observed Mr. President.

Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

His voice, body language and countenance were convincing. More Nigerians can believe him.

When the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele first told Nigerians that the country would be out of recession in no time, the Naira exchanged for N424 to a Dollar. On Wednesday, only a few days later, when the Minister of Finance restated the statement, the Naira had slumped to an  all-time low of 470 to the dollar on the parallel market. Only 24 hours after, the Naira lay prostrate, panting fuku-fuku at N480 per Dollar. May be by Monday, it would have raced beyond the N500 mark!

Now, even a few Nigerians with faith, as monguous as an Olympic football are beginning to find it unsettling, believing Emefiele and Adeosun! Those with faith, the size of mustard seeds now wonder if the economy is actually not racing towards depression!

Economy is in recession when your friends are losing their jobs. It is in depression, when you lose yours!

It had hung on the cliff on Monday as it exchanged for N445. On Tuesday it slipped dangerously to N452, panting pitifully as it sought for any helping hands, while peering at the precipice below. Helplessly, it seemingly hit the hard rocks Wednesday afternoon, taking away a few tears off the faces of poor parents, who were yet to remit their children’s school fees, abroad!

Chief Obafemi Awolowo

Chief Obafemi Awolowo

Nigerians are getting wiser by the day! Forget the N312.99 it sold for at the interbank.
Nobody bothers how much it exchanges again at the interbank. How many people actually sources their funds there again? Gradually, steadily, the country is already producing a generation of youths who would return home and owe a hundred percent allegiance to their tribal lineage, rather than the State!

For now however, industry watchers, and traders agree that dollar liquidity has become a most daunting challenge in the market, buoyed by rising pressure from parents hunting stressfully for the schools fees of children studying overseas.

“The rate is N472 to the dollar as we await the kick-off of the distribution of dollars to the BDCs by Travelex on Friday”,  the President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, actually noted, even as some analysts blame the removal of the 41 items from the official exchangeable list, as the constant reason for chronic and painful fainting of the Naira!

But if some parents cannot sleep because they are currently, actively roaming the Bureau De Change shops, their seniors, even the Senior citizens were said also to be going sleepless. They feared that the Government they prayed and voted for is scheming to use part of their N5.8tn Contributory Pension Scheme assets to fund infrastructure development in a bid to move the country out of economic recession!

We thank God President Muhammad Buhari is a meticulous, and indefatigable corruption warlord! Yet, such intimidating credentials may not be enough to either persuade or pacify a generation of elderly Souls who know that in Nigeria, our greatest Tsunami is leadership! Besides, most of them have tasted raw hunger, in the past!

Subsequently, they would neither listen to either the Federal Government, nor the Director-General, National Pension Commission, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu. But, can you really blame them?  Now, who would trust a man who couldn’t sustain the value of the Naira, but instead, merely blame predecessors for failing to build a barn of tubers, all because he was failing his in-laws expectations?

They lost faith in phensic, paracetamol  and Cafenol, because the headache was great. Hook, line and sinker they staked all they had, bought and joyously swallowed the APC. Exacerbated by acute hunger, the headache, ironically has seemingly metamorphosed into migraine!

The President is loved by the people. It is the King’s men that the people are afraid of. Their words, body language are not in sync, with the harsh reality of the increasing Pains of recession.

In war time, sometimes, the retired soldiers may be recalled. Buhari should reconsider the best materials, wherever they are, in so far as they are Nigerians. That was how General Yakubu Gowon found the Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo inside a Prison, brought him out and won a war.
The critical situation today may actually not be too different!

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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