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Sealink Project To Ease Maritime Operations

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The Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) says the introduction of the 60 million dollar Regional Sealink Project, would unlock opportunities in the maritime sector, through indigenous participation.
The Managing Director of NEXIM, Mr Roberts Orya, made this known  in an interview with  newsmen, recently.
The Sealink project is an initiative modelled in support of ECOWAS Treaty and is designed to facilitate intra-regional trade, expand formal trade as well as deepen the payment system within the region, among others.
It is in conjunction with the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and is expected to commence within the next three years.
He said that NEXIM Bank in collaboration with Transimex S.A. Cameroun, would be hosting a Sealink Investment Forum in Ghana beginning today to facilitate its establishment.
According to him, participants in the forum will include representatives of various governments of member-countries, ECOWAS Commission and other nationals.
Others, he said, include select financial institutions, investment companies, high net worth individuals and key maritime/logistics stakeholders.
“The proposed establishment of the regional sealink project has some inherent national benefits such as minimising increases in freight rate payment annually in country.
“It will also stimulate maritime-related employment as well as capital flight of an average of five billion dollars annually from import and export,” he said.
Orya said that the project would facilitate the realisation of the various Maritime-related laws such as the Cabotage and NIMASA Acts and the implementation of the National Shipping Policy.
He said that it would also attract private sector funding for the development of key maritime infrastructure with the national benefit of improving the level of intra-regional formal trade.
This, he said, would enhance the contribution of trade and exports to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as enhance government’s revenue collections.
“It will provide immediate impact to the amelioration of basic road/rail infrastructure deficit challenges that affect regional integration.
“It will also provide a major cause for the muted growth of the intra-African and ECOWAS trade levels of about 10 to 12 per cent,’’ he said.
He also said that the project would enable NEXIM and other export-financing institutions to achieve projected credit growth to improve intra-regional trade level of 12 per cent to a minimum of 15 to 20 per cent annually.

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Maritime

NPA Board Chairman Laments Insecurity At Onne Port 

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Chairman, Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Emmanuel Oladimeji Adesoye, has decried the spate of insecurity at the NPA, Onne Port, saying it has lowered the port’s productivity.
Adesoye stated this yesterday at the NPA, Onne Port Complex, shortly after the facility tour of the port.
Adesoye who was accompanied by members of the Board, regretted the recent attacks on vessels, off  20 nautical  miles to Bonny Harbour.
He, however, assured that the issue of insecurity at the port would be taken to the Federal Government for quick intervention.
“We need to be careful of insecurity in the port and at the waterways” he said.
The board chairman also said that the welfare of port’s staff is dear to the Federal Government.
According to him, the welfare of port workers across the country is the nation’s welfare and would be accorded priority attention.
On the issue of bad road networks to the port, Adesoye said the management of NPA would liaise with the Federal Ministry of Works to carry out a repair works on the road and possibly expand the lanes to enhance smooth operations at the port.
Earlier, Port Manager, Onne Port Complex, Alhaji Alhassan Ismaila Abubakar, had said the management  of the port was making moves towards a 24-hour shipping operations at the port.
He said his desire was to see Onne Port competing favourably with other ports in the world in terms of cargo handling and shipment.
The port manager told the NPA Board members that the management enjoyed cordial relationship with the stakeholders, terminal operators and its host communities.
He also said that the port had not failed in its Corporate Social Responsibility CSR to the host communities.

 

Stories by Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Shippers Caution FG Against Banning  Import Items 

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Following the ban placed on over 41 import items into the country, the Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS), has cautioned the Federal Government against denying importers of traded goods access to foreign exchange.
The association said the port system in the country has suffered tremendously from the initial forex restriction order on 41 items.
The President of SALS, Rev Jonathan Nicol, stated this in a statement made available to The Tide on Wednesday.
Nicol said many companies in Nigeria were already folding up due to the Federal Government’s ban on import goods, even as he warned that Nigerian ports would suffer further setbacks if the government adds traded goods to the list.
According to him, the ban on 41 items by the government has had ripple effects on most Nigerian shippers as the port system has also suffered tremendously due to the ban.
“If the government now places ban on some of the items that industries need to produce, because most of the 42 items already on ban have to do with Industries, so if the government wants to place more items on ban, it means that the industries will suffer.
“In fact, some of them are already packing up their loads because they cannot even sell their goods.
“I know one or two who found it difficult to import this year; their workforce is about 500 Nigerians, they worked three shifts before, now they hardly do two shifts because they are reducing.
“With all these, the manufacturers cannot cope because there is no income. Check through their warehouses, they are sealed up because they cannot sell their goods because there is no money in the country for citizens to buy goods”
“So, how many of the factories will survive if the government places ban on some more items? It means that our port system will be empty”, he said.
The clergy noted that most of the importers from the informal sector were still surviving because they sourced their foreign exchange themselves.
Recall that last week, President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop issuance of foreign exchange for food importation, so as to increase local production of food in the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had also announced plans to put forex restriction on dairy products during the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held on July 23 in Abuja.

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Maritime

Stakeholders Want Govt To Reconstruct Bonny/Bille Jetty

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Stakeholders in the marine industry in Rivers State have called on the state government to reconstruct the dilapidated Bonny/Bille Jetty to enhance smooth water transportation in the state.
The stakeholders described the jetty as a transit point to Bonny Island and other adjoining riverine communities in the state.
Jack Green, a concerned citizen and a stakeholder in the marine business, spoke to The Tide on the state of the neglected Jetty in Port Harcourt, recently.
Green said the sorry state of the jetty had caused untold hardships to the users and equally bred crimes, saying hoodlums use the jetty to perpetrate all manners of crimes in the area.
He appealed to the state government to build a standard jetty that would stand the test of time, as well as provide all necessary facilities to make lives more comfortable for travellers.
Green noted that the delay in completion of the jetty had impacted negatively on the lives of boat operators and commuters in the area.
According to him, following the poor state of the jetty, passengers find it difficult to board boats during the rainy season.
Describing the state of the jetty as risky, Green called on companies and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the state to assist in providing lifeguards to passengers travelling to riverine communities.
He also appealed to boat drivers plying Bonny route to safe lives by avoiding overspeeding and reckless driving.

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