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Sifax Assures FG Of Turning Around Warri Port

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In a bid to make the nation’s ports viable and attract foreign investors, the SIFAX Group-led consortium, Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited, has assured the Federal Government and other stakeholders that it would turn around the fortunes of the Terminal B, Warri Old Port.
The Chairman of the consortium, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi (MON), dosclosed this at the formal signing ceremony and handing over of Terminal B, Warri Old Port to Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Abuja on Wednesday
The Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited won the concession with a competitive bid of $100.78 million and would run the terminal for 25 years.
In April 2018, the company was announced the preferred bidder of the Warri Old Port, out of the seven other companies whose bids were evaluated.
The Sifax also signed a contract with the Gambian government to operate an inland container depot in Banjul, the country’s state capital.
In a statement made available to The Tide on Wednesday by the Corporate Affairs Manager, Sifax Group, Muyiwa Akande, Afolabi said the combined industry and business experience and pedigree of all the members of the consortium gave him the confidence that the project would be another resounding success.
He expressed his appreciation to the BPE and NPA for the transparent manner that the process was conducted, right from the beginning.
“This is great news for us as a company to have led this consortium to win the concessioning of the terminal. While we are glad that we have emerged the concessionaire of the Warri Terminal, we are not unaware of the enormous responsibility this success has conferred on us,” the statement said
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director, Sifax, Mr. Adekunle Oyelede, said that the company was known for its adherence to international best practices and compliance with agreed covenants, promising to set new standards with the management of the new terminal.
He said: “BPE, NPA and other relevant government agencies should look forward to an efficient port management system when we formally take over the control of the terminal while the clients are in for an unparalleled customer-focused service delivery that will put them at the heart of our operations. We will also adhere strictly to the terms of the concession agreement too.”
Earlier in his speech, BPE Director-General, Alex Okoh, noted that the objectives of the Federal Government in concessioning the port is to increase efficiency, improve service delivery, modernise port development, reduce the cost of shipping and clearing of goods at the ports and relieve the government of the burden of financing the sector, while urging Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services Limited to focus on these objectives as they take over the terminal.
“Government expects nothing less than strict adherence to the terms of the concession agreement. Consequently, the pursuit of your business objectives must be tailored in a way that will also assist in the realisation of these objectives. I know for sure that the company has both the financial muscle and capable manpower to make the terminal a beauty to behold”, he stated.

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Customs Loses  N2.3bn Daily To COVID-19

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The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) says the lockdown in Lagos State, arising from the Coronavirus pandemic has caused the service to lose its daily revenue of N2.3 billion in the state.
The lockdown was imposed by the Federal Government on Lagos State to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a statement by NCS Public Relations Officer,  Apapa Area Command, Nkiru Nwala.
Nwala  disclosed that the Customs’ top three revenue generating commands namely the Apapa Area Command, Tin Can Island Port Area Command and PTML Area Command were collectively losing N2.3 billion daily to the lockdown.
She said the Apapa Area Command, which she described as the highest revenue collecting command of the NCS, recorded an average collection of N900 million daily as against its daily target of N1.8 billion.
Nwala noted that the effect of the lockdown would have been minimal on the command’s revenue generation if the banks had opened for operations.
“As you know, none of the activities in the port was stopped but the major issue here are the banks and there is little we can do without the banks. Duty payment is beyond online transaction, it has a whole lot of documentations that is required more than transfer.
“On Wednesday, we got N949million. If the banks were open, it would have been a bit different but I learnt the banks have been asked to open. Since the bank will be opened by weekend, I am sure the revenue will improve”, she said.
The Tin Can Island Port Command, which is the second highest Customs revenue collecting command, has also been recording a shortfall of N700million daily in its revenue collection since the lockdown, according to its spokesman, Uche Ejesieme.
“Before now, we are on the average of N1.5 billion to 1.7 billion daily but I don’t think we are making that much now. For now, we are between N800 and N900 million daily collections since the lockdown.
“We hope that by the time the bulk operators that pay in bulk come in, it is going to boost our revenue.
“The major problem is because the banks are not working despite the directive that they should work. The agents confirm that they can’t even do a single transaction in the banks. The jobs are interwoven; one agency cannot operate without the other. The situation expectedly has affected revenue generation.
“Beyond the fact that some of the agents cannot go to the banks to pay, some are actually doing e-payment but if you look at the percentage of e-payment and manual, the difference is huge. We are hoping that sooner than later, some of the challenges will be ameliorated.
Also speaking,  spokesman, PTML, Area Command, Tin Island Port Complex Yakubu Muhammed, said the lockdown has negatively impacted the revenue generation of the command as most of the agents cannot come over to lodge their declarations.
He said the command’s revenue declined from a daily collection of N900million to N189 million while number of declarations also dropped from 1300 daily to 100.
“Our daily official revenue target is N1 billion but on the average, we collect between N600 million and N900 million. If you look at what we have from Tuesday (last week) when the lock down started, the rate has really dropped”, he said.

 

Chinedu Wosu

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Lockdown: Sifax Condemns Detention Of Workers

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The management of Sifax Group has raised alarm over detention of its personnel by security agencies despite proper identification and covering letter from the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
In a statement signed by the Group Managing Director of Sifax, Mr Adekunle Oyinloye, and made available to The Tide in Lagos, the company said that its operations at the terminal had been faced with daunting challenges since the lockdown.
Oyinloye disclosed this during a tour of all terminals in Lagos by the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA),  Hadiza Bala Usman to assess the impact of the lockdown on ports.
He said: “We have encountered a lot of challenges including the harassment and detention of our staff by security agencies despite presenting their ID cards and the cover letter from NPA and bank closure at the ports,among others.
“We will need your assistance to address these obstacles to our operations”, he pleaded with the NPA boss”.

 

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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COVID-19: NIWA Distributes Buses, Patrol Boats To States, Agencies

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) says it had distributed water buses and patrol boats for use by relevant state and federal agencies in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
This is as the agency has donated N10 million to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Lagos State Government in the fight against the deadly virus.
This was contained in  a statement  by NIWA in Lokoja, Kogi State, and made available to The Tide.
The statement reads: “Further to our earlier financial contributions, the Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority has authorised the release of the authority’s water buses, security patrol boats and other craft for use by relevant states and federal agencies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These crafts are useful for moving personnel and materials to and from the riverine communities, as well as maintaining security on our inland waterways”.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Lagos Seaports and Marine Command, has arrested six stowaways at about 3 nautical miles off the Lagos fairway buoy.
The stowaways, who are all Nigerians, allegedly boarded a South Africa-bound vessel, MV GRAND DUKE with Panama flag along the Lagos channel while sailing at slow speed.
Public Relations Officer of the Command, Augustus Maisor, who disclosed this in a statement, identified the stowaways as Pedro Desmond Peter (27) from Borno State; Noah Osas Richard (24), Edo State; Eze Paul (36), Imo State; Elijah Sunday (35); Adewale Thompson Oki (29) and Paul Oguns (24), all from Ondo State.
The statement said in consonance with the NCDC guidelines on COVID-19, the stowaways (all male) were subjected to temperature check by Port Health officials before profiling by personnel of the command.
She said the six suspects would be handed over to the Police for interrogations and prosecutions.

 

Chinedu Wosu

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