The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA), yesterday lauded the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for approving 10 per cent discount on vessels calling at the Eastern ports.
The First Deputy President of ONICCIMA, Mr Chris Ukachukwu, gave the commendation in an interview with The Tide source in Onitsha.
Ukachukwu said that the action would decongest the Lagos ports.
Reports says that the management of the NPA had yesterday approved a 10 per cent discount on harbour dues in the concessioned terminals of Calabar, Rivers and Delta Ports.
Ukachukwu said that once implemented, it would help decentralise activities at the Lagos ports and at the same time, create significant economic activity in the various locations of the Eastern ports.
“It will stimulate economic activities at the Eastern ports of the country and will also stem the urban drift. As it is now, it appears as if for you to do anything, you must go to Lagos. The implication is that Lagos becomes overpopulated, while other parts of the country will see the drift which was not the original plan of the country.”
“The idea was that the various economic hubs in the country within the six regions must develop simultaneously, so that wherever you are, you have that sense of belonging,” he said.
According to the ONICCIMA boss, the new policy will reduce the cost of transportation as well as reduce inflation.
“Most times, to transport goods from Lagos ports to the Eastern part of the country cost as much as N600, 000 or more.
“Importers will have no option than to add the cost of transportation to the prices of goods which permeates down, such that prices of goods keep skyrocketing.
“However, once importers know that it will cost less than one third of the previous amount to get the containers to any part of the Eastern region, it will positively affect prices of goods,” he pointed out.
Ukachukwu also called for legislation by the National Assembly to regulate the activities of customs and Police personnel, especially on the highways.
He said that in spite of several announcements that the Federal Government had withdrawn customs and Police officers from the roads, they return within one week or two.
“When you travel from Lagos to the East for instance, you will encounter lots of check points mounted by the Police and Customs which are often targeted at importers.
“For them to stay on the roads mean multiple taxes and creating difficulty for businessmen.
“But, if there is a legislation that will further regulate the activities of these law enforcement agencies, it will create the desired impact needed in the country.
“Officers can easily incur the wrath of the law if they flout the law,” he stressed.
Ukachukwu noted that the initiative was a win-win situation for all Nigerians as the demurrage usually incurred and time wasted at the Lagos ports would reduce.
He advised the NPA to create awareness on the new directive to enable Nigerians to begin to divert their goods to the Eastern ports.
COVID-19: Dockworkers/Seafarers Are Essential Workers, Exempted From Travel Restrictions, Says NIMASA
? As Agency Unveils Guidelines for Terminals, Jetties.
In line with the newly endorsed protocols by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO] designed to lift barriers to crew changes, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA] has designated Seafarers and Dockworkers as essential workers who should be exempted from travel restrictions.
The exemptions are contained in a new guideline developed and published by the Agency to support essential services in Nigeria’s shipping sector. The guideline states that the jobs of dockworkers at the country’s seaports, terminals, and jetties are essential to the national economy and, therefore, dockworkers should be granted passage between their places of abode and the seaports/terminals and jetties to perform their duties.
The advice also declares that seafarers are on essential duty and as such exempted from the curfew and travel restrictions, which may hinder necessary movement for crew change. It directs companies employing the services of seafarers to provide special and dedicated means of transportation to convey the seafarers, adding that such transport system must be disinfected within the recommended minimum hours.
The guideline specifically provides for the mandatory use of facemasks within all terminals and jetties, mandatory temperature check on all staff before access to terminals, and denial of entry to persons who present temperature above 38°C. It makes it mandatory for all dock labour employers to develop risk assessments and safety intervention guidelines for all personnel and operations in the areas of vulnerability within their maritime operations that can be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including cargo handling, access control, and rostering procedures.
Dock labour employers are also to devise methods of ensuring that dockworkers absent from their duties for issues relating to COVlD-19 are quarantined and compensated for the suspension of earnings they suffer as a consequence. Furthermore, all dock labour employers are to ensure that buses deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic carry a 50 per cent maximum capacity in line with Federal Government directives, and all passengers wear facemasks. Such buses must have hand sanitisers for all drivers’ and passengers’ use and be frequently disinfected.
Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the latest advice was meant to contain the coronavirus pandemic while also supporting the continuation of the economy.
Jamoh stated, “Like President Muhammadu Buhari said, no economy can survive total lockdown. If you look at it critically, maritime is an essential duty, with the major actors being seafarers and dockworkers. This is why we continually come up with guidelines to ease their operations so that activities in our ports will not suffer.”
The DG emphasised the prohibition of loitering around port premises and charged dock labour employers to ensure social distancing of two meters is maintained between people in the workplace and other public spaces within and around port terminals.
The guideline is in sync with those issued by the United Nations agencies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
ICT Skills’ll Deliver Economic Independence To Nigerian Girls – NITDA
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that if Nigerian girls are taught relevant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills at a young age, they will be set up for economic independence in future.
The Agency who made this remark through a press release signed by its Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, joined the global community to mark the “Girls in ICT Day.” The day which is marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April falls on the 23rd April this year.
In the statement, Mrs Umar said that the Agency is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in ICT, the world’s fastest growing sector.
She said, “During this year’s celebration, NITDA is drawing attention to the critical need for more girls and women to participate actively in the ICT sector of our economy. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had estimated skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the ICT sector within the next few years. This opens a huge opportunity for girls and young women who have the ability to learn Coding, Apps Development, Computer Science and other ICT related courses.
“This will not only make them ready for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue. With technology playing vital role in all manner of careers, from Arts to Social Sciences, and from Law to History, to Graphic Design, learning ICT skills at a young age will set girls up for economic independence. Furthermore, the ICT sector needs more girls and women and celebrating a day like this reminds us that ICT helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.
“It contributes significantly towards better healthcare, better environmental management, better communication, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn. NITDA, in its proactive manner and in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy as well as in furtherance of bridging the gender imbalance in ICT in Nigeria, has embarked on series of Capacity Building programmes for women and girls across the country. Girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good wages and enjoy huge career opportunities.
Keystone Bank Disowns Ex-staff, Fake Investment Company
Keystone Bank Limited has alerted customers of the activities of one Mr. Obinna Onuselogu, who parades a company, Triple C Investment Limited, as an affiliate of the bank with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank, in a statement yesterday, said Onuselogu, who used to be a staff, was no longer in its employ.
It added that anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of the bank does so at his/her own risk.
“Please note further that Keystone Bank is neither related nor affiliated to any company known as Triple C Investment Limited, which Mr. Onuselogu claims to be its chief executive officer.
“Anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of Keystone Bank does so at his/her own risk,” the statement said.
It was learnt that the ex-staff has been using the name of the bank and its executives claiming to be in partnership with the bank with the intent of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank said it was working on a legal process and security agents to put an end to the unscrupulous activities of the so-called Tripple C Investment and its agents.
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