Families of missing sailors
that drowned during an accident involving their tanker; MT Tank and another MT Elixir have accused the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) of bribery for failing to divulge useful information about the escape ship (MT Elixir).
The families are also appealing to the minister of transportation, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi to ask the regulatory agency for allowing the vessel to sail out of the country despite the incident that claimed one life and eight others missing.
Speaking to journalists at the weekend in Lagos, wife to one of the missing crew, Mrs Esther Edoloro lamented that NIMASA is in possession of all necessary information about the ship saying that it will be incompetent on the part of the agency to say it has no document about the ship on Nigerian waters.
“I don’t even know what NIMASA is doing in this matter honestly. To me, they have collected bribe from the other vessel MT Elixir because I don’t see any reason why they will just release the other vessel without even giving us concrete information about the vessel.”
Even my lawyer has been asking them for the information, they refused to give any information about the other company which is not supposed to be. They are supposed to carry us along because this is human life. We are talking about this matter for the past three months,”she added
According to her, the lawyer has been demanding for information about the whisked vessel but NIMASA has refused to release details about the incident and the vessel in particular.
My lawyer has served them (NIMASA) two papers before and the one served them on Monday will be the third one.
“ No response yet despite all the papers he has served them”.
She also expressed confidence in the minister, urging him to look into the matter and quiz NIMASA for hoarding such vital information.
“ What I know is that NIMASA has collected money from the other vessel.”
When my lawyer was talking to the company’s lawyer, even the company’s lawyer wants to sue NIMASA because they are not giving them concrete information, they are not giving them the information they need to go on with the case.”
“ I believe NIMASA has collected money from MT Elixir that is why they kept silent. “
“That is the reason why they are not saying anything; they don’t want to step into the matter.
“I don’t know if there will be a way for me to reach our new transport minister, I will be very happy because I know he will do something about it.”
When asked about her expectation from the transport minister on the case, Mrs Edoloro affirmed that
“I want him to look into this matter, let them bring out the information about the other vessel so that we will know what we are doing.
“ At least with his help, I believe NIMASA will bring out all the information about the other vessel because I believe that whichever vessel that is coming into Nigeria water, NIMASA has their records. “
“They are supposed to give concrete information about other vessels so that we can know what we are doing.
“ I want the minister to prevail on NIMASA to bring out the information we need.”
“ That is, the name of the company that the other vessel is representing with other things. That is what we want them to do for us.”
When contacted on phone, Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Hajia Lami Tumaka said that lawyers to all concerned parties are meeting on the way forward. Adding that the lead lawyers of the two ships are talking.
Nkpemenyie McDominic, Lagos
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to urgently put in place a policy to check further devaluation of the naira to the United States dollar and other international legal tenders.
The House decried that while the Nigerian currency was losing value, others in Africa were appreciating.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Mr Bamidele Salam, which warned the CBN of the implications of further devaluing the naira.
The motion was titled, ‘Matter of urgent public importance on the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently put in place monetary policies to stop the free fall of the naira against the dollar and other international legal tenders’.
Salam recalled that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while addressing the Bankers’ Committee at a summit on the economy in Lagos earlier in February, informed the committee about the naira devaluation against the dollar.
The lawmaker also quoted Emefiele as saying at the summit that the official exchange rate stood at N410 to the dollar.
“That is 7.6 per cent weaker than the rate of N379 published on the central bank’s website,” Salam noted.
According to the lawmaker, while the value of the naira relative to the dollar had declined by nine per cent in the last six months, the South African rand and Ghanaian cedi had appreciated by 11.4 per cent and one per cent, respectively.
Salam also recalled that the CBN adopted multiple exchange rates in 2020, in a bid to avoid an outright devaluation.
He noted that the official rate used as a basis for budget preparation and other official transactions differed from a closely controlled exchange rate for investors and exporters known as the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing Methodology.
He stressed that the naira had traded in a tight range between N400 and N410, while the NAFEX rate was different from the parallel market, considered illegal by the CBN, where the naira closed at 502.
Salam said, “The House is concerned that devaluation is likely to cause inflation because imports will be more expensive any imported goods or raw material will increase in price; aggregate demand increases, causing demand-pull inflation. Firms/exporters have less incentive to cut costs because they can rely on the devaluation to improve competitiveness.
”The concern is that the long-term devaluation may lead to lower productivity because of the decline in incentives.
”The House is further concerned that devaluation of the naira makes it more difficult for Nigerian youths especially in the IT sector, whose businesses are online and must necessarily transact businesses in the US dollars.
“It also reduces real wages. In a period of low wage growth, a devaluation that causes rising import prices will make consumers feel worse off “.
Four West African Countries To Buy Nigeria’s Unutilised Electricity
Four West African countries, Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, are collaborating to buy the unutilised power produced in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Sule Abdulaziz, disclosed this at the WAPP meeting on the North core project in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said the four countries were collaborating to make the power purchase from Nigeria through the North core Power Transmission Line currently being built.
He explained, “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“The electricity generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So, it is unutilised power”.
He said Nigeria was expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875km 330KV Northcore transmission line from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Abdulaziz said, “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact”.
The WAPP chairman noted that the project, funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, had recorded progress, adding that the energy ministers would be addressing security issues for the project at another meeting in Abuja.
He said, “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos (generation companies).
“So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria”.
The Secretary-General, WAPP, Siengui Appolinaire-Ki, said the cost of the project was about $570 million, adding that part of the investment in each country would be funded by that particular nation.
According to him, the countries in the partnership, including Nigeria, are also being supported by donors.
He said the funding agreement was ready as partner countries were awaiting the disbursements.
Appolinaire-Ki, however, said the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.
Reps Probe N275bn Agric Loans Under Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the disbursement of loans and credit facilities by the Federal Government in the agriculture sector since 2009.
The period under review covers the administrations of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan as well as the present President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Chike Okafor at the plenary last Wednesday, titled ‘Need to investigate disbursements of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security’.
Okafor said, from 2009 to date, the Federal Government had approved the disbursement of funds to farmers in various schemes to the tune of over N275billion, ranging from Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, to help farmers improve agricultural production and guarantee food security in Nigeria.
The lawmaker also noted that apart from increasing food supply, the schemes were to grant agricultural loans to large and small-scale commercial farmers to lower the prices of agricultural produce, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “The House is aware that since the approval, most farmers have not been able to access the loans due to stringent requirements being demanded by banks from prospective borrowers and the alleged siphoning of over N105billion meant for farmers by management of NIRSAL.
“The House is concerned that food production has not attained the expected level, despite the approval of over N275billion facilities to farmers.
“The House is worried that the projected diversification of the economy from oil production to agricultural production and increase in agricultural output, food supply and promoting low food inflation will not be achieved if farmers are unable to access loans meant to increase agricultural production”.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to “investigate disbursements and compliance of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security in the country”.
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