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Motorists Decry Mile 3 Park Conversion To Market

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Motorists at Mile 3 motor park Diobu in Nkpolu Oroworukwo Community, Port Harcourt, have lamented over what they described as conversion of the motor park to daily market by traders.
The Tide reports that following the recent ban on illegal parks and street trading by Port Harcourt Local Government Council Chairman, Hon Victor Ihunwo, Bishop Okoye street traders and drivers were dislodged from their illegal commercial activities.
The ban had put high pressure on the motor park in Mile 3, Diobu, being only the available option to the street trading activities, as all commercial drivers have gone back to the main Mile 3 park.
The Tide investigation further revealed that half of the motor park have been converted to daily market leaving no much space for the commercial bus drivers to load and discharge their passengers as the law stipulates.
Speaking to The Tide last Monday, a commercial bus driver who plies Port Harcourt, Choba route, Evans Onwuegbu, said that the relevant authorities did not make preparation and provision for rehabilitation and relocation of those that would be affected before going ahead to ban and enforce it.
According to him, “you can see for yourself, what is happening in the park is just the effect of the ban without providing alternative place for the affected victims. People must survive, they must respond to the will to survive and the only option is to resort to the park, to sell their goods, thereby blocking the chances of survival for commercial drivers that are key stakeholders in the park”.
The National Union of Road Transport workers official who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said that the union was not responsible for the allocation of market spaces to the traders in the park, saying that their primary function was aimed at organising their members in an orderly manner, collect ticket fee from their members, keep good record and custody of passengers lost items and returned by drivers.
“We do not have the responsibility to allocate space to traders or to collect revenue from the park”, he maintained, stressing that government should do something to relocate the traders to enable the motor park serve its purpose.
A victim of the ban, Mrs Agnes Uju, said she and others sought for alternative space in the motor park at a monetary value collected by the park authority because she had no choice or place to go, she noted that there were no spaces in the main Mile 3 market to accommodate them and if there were, the spaces were very expensive and beyond her financial capabilities as a petty trader.
She appealed to the government to build more low income and affordable markets, that could accommodate a good number of petty traders, as a way to reduce the rate of street trading in the State.
job to expedite action in completing one lane of the road to ease the flow of traffic while the construction lasts.
Drivers who made the call on Monday when our correspondent visited the area said that the road is becoming worst with pot holes around Eleme junction and Oyigbo, making motorist to divert their journeys to alternative routes.
A commercial bus river Ikeji Ama who plies the route lamented over the deplorable condition of the road specially the Eleme junction to Oyigbo toll gate, then to Imo River bridge, resulting to serious traffic gridlock along the axis.
He appealed to the contractor handling the job to endeavour to concentrate and complete one side out of the two sides of the road as a remediation to easing the flow of traffic while the construction continues.
In view of Wangbo Igwe a driver on the route, told our correspondent that the traffic gridlock was becoming unbearable due to the snail movement occasioned by the bad road, saying that the pot holes were affecting their tyres and slowing down their business. He noted that the usual three trips made per day in the past could only fall down to one trip only now and that their vehicles break down indiscriminately due to bad road.
He appealed that the contractor should do something as interim measure, more so, fill hard core on the pot holes to aid movement, saying that the situation was eating up his purse on maintaining his vehicle.
Meanwhile, the site Manager Taun Tayin had apologised to road users of that route, pointing out that the delay was due o regular rainfall in the area and that the job would be completed in less than no time.

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CAC Registers 245,000  SMEs Free Of Charge

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises  free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar,  said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal  Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.

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IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal

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The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),  Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are  experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of  non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the  system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss,  expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an  all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is  barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.

By:King Onunwor

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1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta

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No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.

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