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Dawn Of Competitive Transport In Rivers

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A new era of what could be described as “Competitive Transport System” has unfolded in the history of transport operation in Rivers State, and in Port Harcourt environs in particular. This is the desire of average commuter in the state. In the past, the transport system in the state could be said to be very undeveloped, having the features of hooliganism, gangstarism with the “winner takes all” syndrome in the system. It was a period of near monopoly due largely to the operational style of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), where no other group outside the NURTW could survive in the system, and if they must survive, it must be by violence, clash and flex of muscles physically among themselves and with the law enforcement agents. Transport fare was relatively unstable especially within the town service operation ( intra-city bus service) Mini buses dominated the entire transport and every attempt to checkmate obnoxious increase in fare was met with stiff opposition by members of the transport union. It is not surprising that any attempt made by any group to appear as an independent group will face serious attacks from the transport cabals that held the system to ransom. The scenario then gave birth to other emerging groups who had links with either the government (the federal or state) or the Labour Organisation to make their existence strong in order to enable them withstand the threat of transport mafias in the state. The coming on board of the Labour Mass Transit (LMT), the Rivers Mass Transit Scheme, and the Port Harcourt City Transport Scheme were fallouts of the efforts to launch themselves into the mainstream transport scheme in Rivers State. Other transport bodies that followed suit were the Rivers Transport and Investment Cooperative Union Limited (RTICUL) and the Nigerain Legion Mass Transit Scheme. Their coming on board brought hope to the general commuter public and other self commissioned drivers who were seeking for other alternative organisation in the transport system to guarantee freedom from the near-monopoly known in the system. The new entrants into the transport system operated as franchise schemes, with lots of promises and hope of freedom for its members, where a lot of self-commissioned drivers were registered for protection, as it were. Hopes were dashed, when these operators could not accomplish promises made to members, as the system turned out to be a source of environment for the operators. This scenario nevertheless plugged back the system into confusion again, as any emerging group could be taken very serious because of the antecedents. But since the inception of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi government in Rivers brought, hope and relevance have been rekindled in the transport system, as real investment for the development of the transport system evolved in the state. Governor Amaechi on January 29, 2008 organised a transport summit where egg heads in the transport sector both within and outside Rivers State gathered to brainstorm on the way forward and for the development of the transport system in the state. At the summit, transport and related issues were discussed, and resolutions reached, which informed the basis for government transport policy in the state with the Skye Bank playing active role at the summit. Decisions reached at the summit began to pay-off when the Skye Bank as a private financial institution in partnership with the state government rolled out the Port Harcourt City Bus Service Scheme (PHCBS); a scheme where multiple luxurious buses were used to service the Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs transport wise. This effort of The Skye Bank’ efforts in partnership with the state government impacted positively on the system, particularly in the area of control of transport fare along the Aba Road axis which was its first point of call in operations. This also gave rise to relatively organised transport system in the state as tickets were issued and the same fare charged both at the peak and off-peak in commuters rush hours. At least there was no reported case of cut in distance of operations, and the most impressive aspect is that large number of commuters and passengers were moved from one point to another and buses were readily available, with designated bus stops remarkably built. Another remarkable appearance was that of the Monier Haulage, that partnered with the Skye Bank to provide readily available and affordable transportation. With the appearance of the Monier Haualge, PHCBS launched its operations within the Mile III- Rumuokoro and Choba axis, with multiple luxurious buses in its fleet. Before the advents of the transport firm operators along UNIPORT-Rumuokoro axis, as well as that of Mile III, the fare charged by other private transporters were out rageous. But competition set in when Monier haulage started charging moderate fare against what others in Union have garged up to charge. A fare charge of N100 from Choba to Rumoukoro has now been forced down to N50 by private mini buses drivers, while PHCBS takes only N40 both do Mile III and Choba. Ideally, the major transport corridors in Port Harcourt metropolis are the Aba Road, and the Ikwerre Road axis, and this is where much passenger traffic is experienced. Next is the Rumuokoro-Choba and the Igwuruta axis, and on record, the PHCBS has taken over operations along the routes giving rise to competitive transportation. Already, many commuters that ply the routes have made the PHCBS as their number one choice because their operations are well organised, easily available, no report of hike in fare at any time of the day, and of course with low transport fare. This scenario has forced other mini bus operators to compete for passengers with lower fare charged in most cases. Interestingly, many drivers no longer position their vehicles for loading at the park but are always seen outside the motor park to compete with the PHCBS operators at a reduced fare. The reason is that the number of passengers that enter the motor park has drastically been reduced, since PHCBS positioned themselves outside the park to scout for passengers. This has affected the revenue base of most transport operators. The Secretary of NURTW, Rumuokoro branch, Mr. Ikechukwu Orlu, agreed that the operations of PHCBS has brought competition to the system, and that the daily revenue to the union has reduced drastically. This prompted the reason for members to load outside according to him. It is clear that this competitive scenario has reduced the burden on commuters on the road, and this of course will chart the course of advancement of transport system in the state, and the credit will be given to the initiators of the present administration. Corlins Walter

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NSE Begins Week On Negative Note, Loses N19.49bn

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The Nigerian stock market began the week on a negative note as banking and consumer goods stocks, among others, triggered a N19.49bn loss.
At the end of trading on the floor of the Nigerian  Exchange Limited , the NGX All-Share Index dropped by 0.09 per cent to end at 43,270.94 basis points, while the market capitalisation declined to N22.58tn.
Market activities were mixed as the total volume of shares traded decreased by 30.19 per cent while the value traded rose by 34.05 per cent.
A total of 213.13 million shares valued at N2.36bn were exchanged in 4,105 deals, compared to 305.32 million shares worth N3.58bn in 4,450 deals last Friday.
FCMB Group Plc topped the traded stocks in terms of volume, accounting for 27.43 per cent of the total volume of trades while Airtel Africa Plc emerged as the most traded stock by value, representing 28.81 per cent of the total value of trades on the exchange.
14 firms gained compared to 21 losers.
AIICO Insurance Plc was the biggest gainer for the day, topping the gainers’ chart with a price appreciation of 8.57 per cent to N0.76 per share.
It was followed by LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc with a rise of 7.95 per cent, ending the day at N0.95 per share.
Analysing by sectors, three of the five major indices closed lower, led by NGX Oil & Gas (-0.56 per cent), NGX Consumer Goods (-0.23 per cent) and NGX Banking (0.18 per cent).
But the insurance (0.82 per cent) and industrial goods (0.002 per cent) indices gained at the end of trading.

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… Introduces TIES To Boost  Business Loan

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), which provides undergraduates and graduates with a platform to access loans.
The TIES’ underlying aim is to provide access to capital for Nigerian undergraduates and graduates with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas from polytechnics and universities.
TIES intends to shift undergraduates and graduates away from white-collar job pursuits and towards a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.
In a national biennial entrepreneurship competition, the Developmental Component would be distributed in the form of awards to Nigerian polytechnics and universities.
The competition aims to increase undergraduates’ awareness and visibility of high-impact entrepreneurial/technological concepts, foster entrepreneurial talent hunts in Nigerian polytechnics and universities, and encourage commercially viable and transformative technologies.
Interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities shall apply to participate in the national biennial entrepreneurship competition on a dedicated online portal.
Outlining brief details of the project, potential impact and evidence of originality of project, CBN said it is an innovation for students entrepreneurs.

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CITN Applauds FG, Tax Authorities On Fiscal Policy Decisions

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The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has lauded the Federal Government and tax authorities on the giant strides made on fiscal policy decisions and tax administration measures initiated this year in the area of Finance Act 2021 and the introduction of TaxPromax solution.
President of the institute, Adesina Adedayo, who gave the commendation at the institute’s yearly award ceremony at the weekend in Lagos, assured the government and tax authorities of aligning with the measures and promised to provide professional thoughts and insights on ways through which they could achieve an efficient and effective Nigerian tax system.
Adedayo emphasised the need to address the database, adding that without knowing who the tax-payers are, there is no way they can take money from unknown tax-payers.
Database is the aspect we have been emphasising on as an institute and in doing this, there are so many of pockets of data we have. All the data must be harmonised to have a simple unique tax-payers identification number,” he said.

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