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29 Survive Calabar Boat Mishap

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About 29 persons, including two who survived by clinging to a cooking gas cylinder, have been rescued after a wooden boat capsized offshore Calabar, Cross River State, with an estimated 128 people onboard, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (CRSEMA) official said yesterday.

The wooden boat had set off on Friday from Benin Republic, overloaded with passengers who had hoped to find work in Gabon, Head of CRSEMA, Vincent Aquah, said, citing survivor accounts.

The vessel had stopped at the Oron port in Akwa Ibom State, to collect more passengers but two hours after returning to sea, the engine began taking on water.

The captain told passengers to pray, telling them, “we are in serious trouble”, according to Aquah’s account.

As the boat began to sink, passengers jumped into the water, with the captain and three others grabbing hold of the floating cylinder.

“But after some hours, the captain and another passenger, a woman, could no longer hold on, and fell into the water,” Aquah explained.

A 27-year old man from Togo, and a 14-year old girl from Benin, managed to continue clinging to the makeshift raft.

They said that as they drifted, they saw a flame coming from an offshore oil field operated by the Chinese firm, Addax Petroleum.

A foreign oil worker on the platform, who spotted them, dispatched a boat to rescue the two, said Aquah.

“We have 29 survivors so far from the boat accident,” he told newsmen in Calabar yesterday, adding that the total number of bodies recovered so far remained at nine.

There were previous indications that the boat had originated from Congo-Brazzaville, but Aquah insisted those accounts were inaccurate.

The vessel is believed to have capsized at Malabo, 40 nautical miles (60 kilometres) off the coast of Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

Aquah specified that two of the survivors had been brought to Calabar, while 27 others were in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.

The rescue operation began on Sunday, and “the search for the remaining passengers is still on,” Aquah said, adding that the wreckage of the ship had not yet been located.

Corroborating Aquah’s account, Coordinator, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Olayemi Abass, said “some 27 of the survivors were taken to Oron and two brought to Calabar. Those in Calabar are receiving treatment at Bakorm Medical Centre, Calabar.”

Abass indicated that the wooden passenger boat, which was conveying a total 128 passengers, including three Nigerians – a male and two females, and others from Togo, Benin, Ghana, and Niger, was on an illegal voyage to Gabon, when the iunforunate incident occurred.

It would be recalled that in July, 2012, a ferry sank in choppy waters as it crossed from mainland Tanzania to the island of Zanzibar, leaving at least, 104 people drowned.

Zanzibar authorities charged three people with manslaughter over the sinking of the ship, the MV Skagit, including its owner and captain.

In September, 2010, more than 200 people perished when the MV Spice Islander, which the authorities admitted was overloaded, sank while sailing between two of the main islands in the Zanzibar archipelago.

Rescue workers saved 619 passengers in that terrifying incident.

Meanwhile, at least, 50 persons drowned and some 35 were reported missing after a boat accident on a river in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo in July, 2011.

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CBN Opens N500 Grants Portal For Graduates, Undergraduates

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To reduce the level of suffering associated with unemployment in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has developed grants of N500,000.00 for graduates and students.
A statement from the apex bank, made available to The Tide, said qualified persons have been directed to visit cbnties.com.ng portal for the CBN N500k grants registration.
This, according to the statement, is under the Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), in partnership with Nigerian Polytechnics and Universities to exploit the potential of graduate entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
CBN said the aim of TIES is to increase access to finance for Nigerian polytechnic and university graduates and graduates with innovative business and technological ideas.
The apex bank added that it is also to address the trend of white-collar job seekers and focus on job creation.
The statement quoted the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, as saying that the scheme is designed to create a “paradigm shift from a ‘white-collar’ job search culture to an entrepreneurial culture to economic growth and job creation between undergraduates and graduates.
“As for the grant, CBN will allocate N500 million among the top five third best delivery organizations.
“The top five polytechnics and universities in Nigeria with the best entrepreneurial trends/ideas will be awarded first place: N150 million second place N120 million third place N80 million fourth place N80 million and fifth place. Location – N50 m illion”, it stated.
As part of the scheme, the CBN has announced that it will form a private and public sector expert organization (BoE) for two-year regional and national entrepreneurship competitions to assess the entrepreneurial and technological innovations offered by Nigerian polytechnics and universities.
BoE will also recommend high-potential projects and the variable impact on the award of the grant.
Projects funded under the scheme will be monitored by independent monitors set up jointly by CBN and MFIs.

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Economic Growth, Determining Factor For Policies In 2023  – Stockbrokers

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Chairman of Research and Technology at the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr. Akeem Oyewale, has said that economic growth and development should be the determining factor in policies ahead of 2023.
Oyewale, who said this recently at the institute’s Annual National Economic Review and Outlook 2022 webinar  in Lagos, urged policy makers to act in a spirit of justice and tolerance to avoid acts that could lead to violence in the run-up to the 2023.
Speaking on the topic: “Global Dynamics Shaping Nigeria‘s Economic Future”, Oyewale listed factors such as the process leading up to the 2023 general elections, the response to Omicron, and the effects of COVID-19, as what would also determine the growth of the nation’s economic development.
He used the fora to urge the Federal Government to intensify its engagement with Nigeria’s capital market to better smoothly finance the 2022 budget deficit without increasing borrowing.
Oyewale also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fully consider the effects on the capital market when making monetary and fiscal policies.
According to him, the philosophy of building an economy led by the private sector enshrined in the National Development Plan must be strictly adhered to.
On the need for new listings, Oyewale said Nigeria National Petroleum Company’s trading should continue with the public listing of its shares on the stock market.
This, he explained, would give Nigerians the opportunity to co-own one of the country’s commanding heights.
“The CBN and banks should grant trading facilities to securities trading firms in the country to maintain optimism in the capital market”, he said.
Speaking further, he urged pension funds and other institutional investors to increase their investment in the stock market to create much-needed stability and encourage new investment.
Earlier, President of the CIS Council, Mr Olatunde Amolegbe,  said the institute would continue with initiatives that would enhance its growth and development in 2022.
Amolegbe stated that CIS would undertake activities that would promote capital market literacy in all geopolitical zones of the country, saying that he would strengthen collaboration with international professional bodies such as CISI UK and others for the benefit of their members.
He continued that the institute was working to increase the number of Nigerian universities offering graduate and undergraduate courses in securities and investment/capital market studies.
“Our vision by 2023 is to see the Securities and Investments profession registered in the hearts of young Nigerian academics as their preferred career path and CIS as the model to be followed by other professional bodies,” he concluded.

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PenCom Completes Review Of Pension Reform Act 2014

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The regulatory body of the Nigerian Pension Industry, the National Pension Commission (PenCom) says it has deliberated on the review of the Pension Reform Act 2014 (PRA 2014).
This was contained in a statement to newsmen signed by Peter Aghahowa, Head, Corporate Communications of PenCom, who disclosed that the regulator organised the retreat on the review of PRA 2014 in Abuja between January 12 and 14.
According to Aghahowa, the retreat was aimed at identifying salient issues to be reviewed in the PRA 2014 as a prelude to advancing legislative action on the bill.
Aghahowa said it is expected that the National Assembly would subsequently organise a public hearing to provide an avenue for stakeholders to formally make input into the proposed amendments.
He also said that the PRA 2014 was enacted following a review of the initial PRA of 2004, which introduced legal and institutional frameworks of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and established PenCom to regulate and supervise all pension matters in Nigeria.
According to him, the Director-General of PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, during the opening ceremony of the retreat, had informed the participants that the PRA 2014 codified one of the most important socio-economic reform initiatives of the Federal Government.
He continued that she said this has brought about a pension industry that has accumulated pension assets in excess of N13 trillion invested in various aspects of the Nigerian economy.
He quoted her as saying that “the review is a corollary to some implementation challenges encountered with certain sections of the Act not long after its enactment in July 2014.
“This was also an addition to persistent calls from stakeholders for the amendment of some sections of the Act, which resulted in several legislative initiatives through the sponsorship of Bills for amendment of the PRA 2014 by the National Assembly.
“Consequently, the Commission as the regulator of the pension industry, decided to coordinate and harmonize the various efforts in order to achieve a comprehensive and constructive exercise for the review of PRA 2014”, he concluded.

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