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‘Transport Sector Reform Bill ’ll Increase Private Sector Partnership’

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Transport Minister, Idris Umar, says the Transport Sector Reform Bill will be fine-tuned and sent to the National Assembly to provide legal framework for an increased private sector partnership.

Umar, who made this known at the meeting of 12th National Council of Transport, said that the bill would encourage the removal of public sector monopoly and enhance productivity.

He said that the fine-tuning was being done by the ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Public Enterprises and other stakeholders.

He explained that the objective of the Federal Government’s Public Private Partnership Policy was to meet the funding gap to make economically-essential projects commercially viable.

This, he said, would obviate government funding of such projects and allow private sector participation in projects.

Umar reiterated government committed, to provide enabling environment for private sector, states, local governments and foreign investors to invest in the nation’s railways, inland waterways, sea ports, Inland Container Depots and roads. ’

He, however, urged the stakeholders in the transport sector, particularly the states and organised private sector, to key into the sector reform programme and take advantage of the investment opportunities.

“We need to urgently improve the quality and scope of transport services offered to Nigerians in order to give users a choice of mode or combination of modes most suited for their needs.

“We need to further ensure that the national transport network adequately supports the economy and meets the expectations of Nigerians.

“It is only when we collectively act that we can achieve the modern, functional, multi-modal, integrated transport system of our dream,’’ Umar said.

Umar tasked all the stakeholders in the sector to put in place appropriate machinery for implementation of transport infrastructure development plan which the ministry circulated since 2010.

In an address, Gov. Gabriel Suswan of Benue, expressed disappointment over the deficit in transport infrastructure.

Represented by Chief Steven Lawani, the Deputy Governor, Suswan said there was a huge gap between the demand for transport and government’s ability to meet that demand.

He tasked the council to explore and find funding options outside the existing budget system to add to what was available in the budget.

“This calls for partnership in defining roles and complementing other actors so that resources will be optimised and not duplicated or wasted,’’ Suswan said.

The meeting has as its theme “Partnership for Integrated Transport Infrastructure for National Transformation’’

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Transport

Immigration Steps Up Anti-Touting Vigilance

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Passports Command, Ikoyi, has increased its surveillance  on touting in a bid to check extortion within its jurisdiction.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with The Tide in Lagos, last Friday, the Immigration Comptroller, Passports Office, Ikoyi, Lagos, Deputy Comptroller Liman A.I , said the negative impact of touting on the nation’s economy would not be allowed to continue under his watch.
He said ,”we are applying persuasion, dialogue and seeking the support of all well meaning stakeholders in this area to spread the anti-touting message and dissuade people from unlawful acts. However, we could apply coercive power as the need arises.
“With the selfless leadership shown by the Comptroller General, Alhaji Mohammed Babandede, we at the PCO, Ikoyi, Lagos, have decided to re-dedicate ourselves to duty and complement the efforts of the CGIS. 
“We are prepared more than ever to wage the anti-miscreants war relentlessly.
Liman assured the general public of friendly environment for legitimate transaction in an effort to strengthen the national economy, warning deviants to shun touting and other related vices.
According to him, “the command has keyed into the various strategies including the use of ICT in gathering of intelligence, among others.
“The service believes that the fight against miscreants within its corridor cannot be undertaken by the service alone, hence our call on Nigerians to partner with us in ensuring that the passport seekers do not patronise touts to defraud them. Our resolve is unshaken and our commitment is total”. 
On her part, the Public Relations Officer of the command, a Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Mrs Adetoun Shiyindemi, commended the Deputy Comptroller Liman, for his selfless service, pointing out that he has really given the officers and men of the command a sense of belonging. 
“Since the Comptroller came in, it has been a servant-leader relationship here at Ikoyi PCO and we are all motivated to put in our best with what the CGIS has given us, you will see a new immigration service”, she assured.

By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos

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Maritime

Union Urges NIMASA, RSG To Dredge PH/Bonny Jetty

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The Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Rivers State Government to dredge the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty to enhance marine operations.
The union said the low shore of the river hampers its operations and grounds boats.
The Marine Safety Officer, BMTA, Comrade Kings Don, who made the call, said the low shore of the jetty was not helpful to marine operations.
According to him, drivers and passengers find it difficult to ply the route whenever the tide is low, thus wasting man hours.
“Sometimes, we push the boat to a level it would afloat due to low tide suffered in the jetty. We are appealing to NIMASA and the state government to assist and dredge the jetty for more efficiency”, he pleaded. 
Don described the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty as the gateway to Bonny Island and other riverine communities, and called on NIMASA and the state government to intervene and make the marine sector viable in the area. 
He said that the prompt dredging of the jetty would enhance water transportation in the state and improve its revenue generation.
He, however, commended the security agents, especially the Nigerian Navy and the marine police, for rescuing the waterways and creeks from all forms of criminality.
Comrade Don appealed to the security agents to engage in 24-hour patrol of the routes and other channels to save lives and property.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Boat Mishaps: Ship Owner Blames Absence Of Safety Regulations

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A renowned ship owner in the country, Alhaji Aminu Umar, has decried lack of standardisation and enforcement of safety measures on the nation’s inland waterways by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
He also blamed lack of will to enforce regulations, safety, standard and regulations on overloading, night voyage, rickety and old craft as causes of mishap on the inland waterways.
Alhaji Umar, who is a former president, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), said in Minna, Niger State, recently that enforcement of safety and standard on the nation’s inland waterways was weak.
Reacting to incessant boat mishaps in the country, Umar said, “there is no standard applied on movement of people, as all kinds of boat are being used. It is important that we standardise, because lack of safety and standard will increase accident.
“I think, the task of NIWA is to standardise conditions and procedures on the nation’s waterways”.
He also called for the regulation of movement of badges and passenger boats across the port environment.
“It’s a huge risk allowing badges moving containers around the port area side by side with boats carrying passengers.
“Moving people and containers at the same time is a huge risk, and a safety concern.
“NIWA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should see to this and tackle the menace”, he said.

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