Despite increasing efforts by the Federal Government to boost business in the Eastern ports, the national trustee member of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Waite Harry, says the federal government is not doing enough to develop the ports in the region.
Comrade Waite who expressed concern over the congestion at the ports in Lagos said though Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has started diverting some vessel traffic to other ports in the country, including the Eastern ports, more needs to be done.
In a chat with The Tide in Port Harcourt, Harry agreed that the federal government has laudable plans for the Eastern ports, comprising Onne, Rivers, Warri and Calabar ports, but argued that such plans are far from being implemented.
“The federal government has good plans, especially when we talk about the deep sea, Bonny, Warri and the rest of them. But one thing is to have plans, the other is the implementation. The implementation is not there.
“One can look at what is happening in this part of the country. I can tell you that the Federal presence is not here. You can see the roads leading to the ports, the rail infrastructure and others.
“Some of the things that we are suffering in this area are politically motivated. You know that some of the states we have are PDP states, and not APC states. These are some of the reasons our parts are not well considered.
“What we are seeing here cannot be seen in the Western parts. But because of some politically-motivated issues, they are not doing anything here,” Harry said.
Responding to claims that lack of funds might be militating against the development of the Eastern ports, he stressed that the issues of politics should not form the basis for considerations and decisions concerning the development of ports in the Eastern part of Nigeria.
“These ports are owned by the federal government. The throughput, whatever that comes from the ports goes to the federal purse. It is not for the states.
“So we should leave politics aside and look at governance for now. The days of election are over. We are talking of things that can be done in the Eastern ports which are in Nigeria,” he said.
Comrade Harry pointed out that the Federal Government needs to do more to ensure that all ports have excellent berths, pilotage and security infrastructure, among others.
Expressing a different view, Chairman of the Energy, Maritime Reporters (EMR) Association, Mr. Martin Giadom said “the federal government, through the Nigerian Ports Authority and the management teams in the Eastern zone, have taken it upon themselves to change the narratives in this part of the country, and there is a significant difference.
“The volume of vessel and cargo traffic has increased as a result of this. Ships, with over 260 meters in length that were previously thought too large to call at the Eastern ports have started berthing here. These are among other positives that we are currently seeing now,” he said.
COVID 19: ‘Lifting Of Curfew’ll Boost Rivers Economy’
A traditional ruler in Rivers state, Eze (Dr) Sylvanus Ogbueri, has commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for relaxing the curfew imposed in some parts of the state capital, saying it would impact positively on the business community in the state.
Eze Ogbueri, who is the Onwa of Omuma ethnic nationality, said that the action of the governor shows that he listens to the feelings of the people, unlike most other political leaders in the country.
The monarch said that Governor Wike deserves commendation because of his exemplary actions since the advent of coronavirus.
“His swift intervention made it possible for the virus not to spread beyond the index case.
“Relaxing the curfew has given petty traders who are not affected by the lockdown to operate and find ways of providing for their families in this difficult period”, he said.
The traditional ruler urged the people of Omuma to comply with the directives of the state government aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus.
“You must observe primary hygiene by washing your hands regularly, observe the social distancing, no meetings, no family visits, and no going to markets and other directives by the government”, he said.
He also commended the Chairman of the Omuma Local Government Council, Hon Christian Nwuiwu, and the representative of Omuma constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Emeka Nwogu, for working round the clock to ensure that the state government’s directives were obeyed.
Chief Ogbueri called on the people of the state to be patient and make necessary sacrifices, expressing hope that the difficult era of coronavirus would be over and people will return to their normal way of lives.
Buhari Approves Withdrawal Of $150m To Support June FAAC Disbursement
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the withdrawal of 150 million dollars from the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Stabilisation Fund to support the June 2020 FAAC disbursement.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this during a news conference on the fiscal stimulus measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock in Abuja, yesterday.
Ahmed said that the fund was also to address these emerging fiscal risks that the pandemic had caused.
She noted that the Stabilisation Fund was created for such emergencies and was to be utilised for this purpose while the government was also exploring other options to augment FAAC disbursements over the course of the 2020 fiscal year.
She explained that based on the fiscal assumptions underpinning the 2020 Appropriation Act, monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursements to the Federal and State Governments were projected at N888.5 billion.
She said, however, that due to the significant drop in international oil prices, FAAC monthly disbursements had declined in recent months to N716.3 billion in January and N647.4 billion in February 2020.
According to her, their experience shows that monthly average FAAC receipts must average at least N650 billion for the federal and state governments to meet their current obligations. Unfortunately, they project that monthly receipts may decline to below N400 billion, over the next three to six months.
“Mr President has also approved that the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning should engage with the CBN to agree on a Debt and Interest Moratorium for States on Federal Government and CBN-funded loans, in order to create fiscal space for the States, given the projected shortfalls in FAAC allocations,” he said.
Nigeria To Source N2.67trn Additional Fund For COVID-19
The Federal Government will be sourcing for over N2.67trillion to fully execute the COVID- 19 stimulus. This is aside the N500 billion already earmarked for the stimulus package.
Addressing journalists on the details of the COVID- 19 stimulus, yesterday, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said Nigeria would draw down her facility with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) totalling $3.4 billion in addition to $2.5 from the World Bank, $1 billion from the African Development Bank and $150 million from the Stabilisation fund of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
The N2.67 trillion, she said, does not include what the government will access from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and dividends expected from Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG).
According to Ahmed, Nigeria has a contribution of $3.4 billion with the IMF and we are entitled to draw up to the whole of that $3.4 billion no less. We have in the first instance applied for that maximum amount, then in the process when we negotiate we might get the maximum amount or less.
“That is the amount of our contribution with the IMF and this is the provision that IMF has made for every member country that you can apply for between 50 to 100 per cent of your contribution to the IMF.
This money from the IMF, she explained: “is a programme that has no conditions attached to IMF programmes and this is not an IMF programme. Up to date, we were told that up to about 80 countries have applied to draw from their contributions to the IMF.”
Other sources of fund the government hopes to draw from to meet the challenges of the coronavirus, the minister said, include a “request from the World Bank for $2.5 billion; from the African Development Bank (AfDB) $1billion.”
The request made to the IMF, World Bank, IDB, and the AfDB, she said, “are request for the nation both for the Federal Government as well as the state”.
In order to address the emerging fiscal risks, as a result of the drop in the international oil prices and global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), President Muhammadu Buhari has given a number of approvals.
News5 days ago
Nnamdi Kanu Reacts As Lagos Denies Knowing Abba Kyari’s Whereabouts
Politics5 days ago
Bayelsa, Kogi Guber Polls: A’court orders INEC to respond to APP’s appeal
Featured4 days ago
Wike Lifts Curfew On Parts Of Port Harcourt …Lifts Suspension Of Obio/Akpor LG Chairman, Deputy …As RSG Moves To Implement Palliatives
Niger Delta5 days ago
1,400 Stranded At Itu Bridgehead
Featured4 days ago
US, UK Diaspora Groups Hail Wike’s Measures Against COVID-19 Spread
Politics5 days ago
LG Boss Orders Closure Of Shops, Markets In Eket
News5 days ago
FG Begins Disbursement Of N5,000 To 1m Nigerians
News5 days ago
RSG Begins Learn-At-Home Media Programmes For JSS3, SS3 Students