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$4.6bn Ibom Deep Seaport  To Create Over 300,000 Jobs -Official

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The Akwa Ibom State Government says the approval of  4.6 billion dollars by the Federal Government to build Ibom Deep Seaport (IDSP) will create jobs for over 300,000 teeming youths in the state.
The Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, said this while speaking with newsmen in Uyo at the weekend.
The Federal Government had, at the Federal Executive Council meeting, on December 16, granted final approval for the take off of Ibom Deep Seaport Project in Akwa Ibom.
Okon  said that the first phase of Ibom Deep Seaport would help address unemployment in the state, as no fewer than 300,000 youths would be actively engaged through the project.
According to him, the creation of jobs is part of modalities set by the state government to eradicate the alarming rate of unemployment in the state.
He said that the approval of the long anticipated seaport would help in the implementation of  the state government programmes and policies to alleviate poverty and create job opportunities for her citizens.
“Akwa Ibom is industrialised because this project, when operational, will solve and arrest critical problems in the state, most especially the issue of unemployment and then stimulate our state economy accordingly.
“The total cost of construction of the Ibom Deep Seaport is 4.6 billion dollars but the first phase of it is 2.016 billion dollars which was approved on Wednesday December 16 by the Federal Government.
“The structure of Ibom Deep Seaport is billed for 60/40 per cent that is, 60 per cent for the private sector and 40 per cent will go to the public sector,” he said.
Okon thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President, Minister of Transportation, and other stakeholders, who had in one way or the other contributed positively in making the project a success.
“They have shown that Nigeria is a country that when good projects with immense benefits for the country is presented, approval will be given for the best interest of the country,” he said.
“Because the port will increase the revenues for both the Federal Government and Akwa Ibom,” he stated.
Okon reiterated the state government’s commitment to train the indigenes in maritime and oil and gas related skills to place them in a position of advantage for employment.
“Recently, government has set up modalities for people to be trained on various skills that is related to the maritime sector and also in the oil and gas industry.
“Our children should be encouraged to embark on relevant courses which will give them advantage in the Maritime sector.
“Akwa Ibom youths should position themselves to advantage of the emerging opportunities. “Therefore, there is need for us to strategically position ourselves and update ourselves with the relevant skills because every industry has its own basic skills of requirement,” Okon said.

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Estate Surveyors Reject Housing Deficit Report

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The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has disagreed with the report of housing deficit in Nigeria, insisting that there is no proof to justify the report.
The institution also corroborated the assertion of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, that Nigeria does not have a 17 million housing deficit.
A recent report had indicated that there are 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria. 
President of NIESV, Emma OkasWike, who faulted the report in an interaction with newsmen, Monday, said the body was in full agreement with the minister’s statement and position on the matter. 
“We are in total agreement with the minister on the unreliability of the 17 million housing deficit being brandished in Nigeria for lacking scientific proof.
“We are using this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of data bank and our commitment to the provision of a property data bank for all state capitals and major cities in Nigeria”, NIESV president said.
Wike, however, agreed that there are more demands in housing sector due to mass movement from rural areas to urban centres, adding that when demand exceeds supply, there will be scarcity. 
He said that the solution to the problem lies in having accurate data of empty houses in the cities, which could assist in further planning.
The NIESV president hinted that his institution had been challenged to come up with accurate data on the housing issue, pointing out that such data would help solving the housing problem.
“We have laws in this country, and law is not the problem; it is not enough to say repeal the law, but the implementation is the problem.
“The communities fighting over land, resulted in enacting the Land Use Act, and every section of the Land Use Act has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. The administration of the law is the problem we have in this country, but not the law perse”, he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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FG To Shut Ikorodu Terminal Over Explosive Overtime Cargoes

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Strong indications have emerged that the Federal Government may shut down the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos over the recent alarm raised by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) on some explosive overtime cargoes.
Members of the Governing Board, NPA, had recently expressed worries over some overtime cargoes that have been abandoned for over 44 years at the facility, even as they called on management of the Nigeria Customs Service to expedite actions to evacuate some of the detained consignments.
Speaking with our correspondent recently on the next line of actions by the NPA Board in furtherance to the evacuation of the dangerous cargoes, one of the board members, Hon. Ghazali Mohammed Mijinyawa, said government might shut down the facility due to high risk involved.
The board member reiterated that the explosive cargoes pose serious threat to the facility and the nation, adding that it would be wise for government to shut down the terminal and give rooms for the evacuation of such items.
According to him, the executive board of NPA will hold a retreat to determine the next line of actions on Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos.
“The executive management would have a retreat and I wouldn’t tell you what the retreat is all about but in two weeks time, we are going to shut the port terminal at Ikorodu and that is what we are going to do”, he reaffirmed.
On the issue of revoking the licenses of some terminal operators,  Mijinyawa said plans were afoot to review the port concession agreement in order to be fair to all parties involved in the process of renewal.
Mijinyawa who is also the chairman, Seaport Concession, NPA, pointed out that the terminal operators had testified that NPA was committed to the concession agreement and would further ensure fair play to all parties involved in the renewal process.
He said, “We have to sit down and have a review of everything and of course if there are those worthy of renewal we just have to give them that opportunity but for the ones that have defaulted, it is better you find out why they default before any necessary actions because you just have to strike a balance.
“It’s not a matter of I am not going to renew the agreement but to find out why are they not functioning properly. Is it because of the Covid? Is it the NPA defaulting? Is it them defaulting? So, you just have to go through the documents and see for yourself before you make a judgment of that; so that we can be fair to all parties”.
 According to him, the terminal operators appreciated the efforts of the NPA on the working relationship between stakeholders as against the backdrop of port operations since 2006.

By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos

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CBN Not Supporting Solid Minerals Dev  – Minister

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The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, DrUche Ogah, has alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not been supporting the development of the mines and solid mineral sector in the country. 
The minister made the allegation at a two-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy.
The forum was aimed at getting inputs of stakeholders to the contents of four bills on how to achieve rapid development of the solid minerals sector.
The bills are Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation Establishment Bill 2021, Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission Establishment Bill 2021, Institute of Bitumen Management Establishment Bill 2021, and the Explosive Act 1964 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2021.
The panel is also expected to investigate the loss of $9 billion annually due to illegal mining and smuggling of gold.
Ogah said, “It is unfortunate that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not believe in us. If they believe in us, if they support us the way they are supporting agriculture, we will do wonders for this country.
“This is one ministry that is untapped, that is unknown, that can change the landscape of our revenue.”
The minister said there was need to support research for growth of the sector.
According to him, “Equally, we need to ask the Ministry of Finance to speed up the export policy on solid minerals because that is the only way to have operators into the sector”.
Ogah urged citizens to be involved in checking the activities of intruders in the mining sub-sector.

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