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FRSC Urges Motorists To Co-operate With Security Agents

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The Assistant Corps Marshal and Zonal Commanding Officer (Zone 6) of the Federal Road Safety  Corps, (FRSC), Mr. Chike Nwaka, has advised motorists to co-operate with the law enforcement agents to ensure an accident free yuletide.

Speaking with The Tide transport correspondent in his office in Port Harcourt yesterday, Mr Nwaka said all road users should learn to be tolerant and show love to one another on the road inorder to avoid unforeseen circumstances.

He said the corps had enlightened motorists and other road users in the zone not to over-load, over-take or over speed, but to observe all road regulations.

The zonal commanding officer, in-charge of Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River and Bayelsa States who described the road transportation sector as one of the engine rooms of the nation’s economy further stated that although the infrastructures on ground are not the best motorists should always think of safety and be tolerant of one another, for all to enjoy the Christmas with happiness.

According to him, intensive enlightenment programmes were mapped out and embarked upon at the various motor parks in the zone where drivers and passengers including all stakeholders were enlightened on the need for safety during the yuletide.

Mr. Nwaka however note that inadequate equipment for the corp members had been a problem but said they are trying to make do with what they have to meet their obligations.

He decried the attitude of some road users who make phone calls while driving, as well as over-speeding and ignoring traffic rules, pointing out that all should co-operate with the law enforcement agents for safety on the roads.

On the new number plates, the Assistant Corps Marshal said it was a good thing that had happened to the country as it would help check traffic offenders and called on all Nigerians to be proud of the system while urging critics to cross-check their facts.

 

Collins Barasemeye

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Maritime

Shippers’ Council Registers 160 Port Operators

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The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) says it has registered 160 Port stakeholders into its Regulated Port Service Provider and Users platform since the initiative began in 2023.
Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr Pius Akutah, made the disclosure on the sideline of a sensitisation programme by the commission for port operators in Lagos, with the theme, “Regulated Port Service Provider and Users”.
Represented by the Director, Consumer Affairs, Chief Cajetan Agu, Akutah emphasised the significance of the programme for stakeholders.
He said the sensitisation programme was the second edition after its commencement during the last quarter of 2023.
The Secretary said the 160 registered port operators consist of agencies, terminal operators, shipping companies, individual port users as well as service providers.
“We invited the ports stakeholders for enlightening them on the processes for online registration of Regulated Port Service Provider and Users.
“We have demonstrated to them how to register and how to make payment and we were able to present before them the various categories of the registration.
“The rate of payment is also in the registration. The payment of each group depends on the operation. A shipper pays N30,000, terminal operators and shipping companies pay N300,000, truckers also pay N30,000, while some pay N50,000 and N100,000.
“The Council was able to intimate them on the benefits, because port users benefit more as we help to interface on reducing port charges from time to time”,  Akutah said.
He said  that there was a need to continue to work with port operators to stop delays and eliminate high costs to make the port efficient.
Also speaking, the Deputy Director, Stakeholders, Service, NSC, Mr Celestine Akujobi, said “the sensitisation exercise was important for the council to enable us bring all the port stakeholders together”.
According to him, this is to avoid challenges during the implementation of the council’s responsibilities.
“By the time we introduce sanctions on defaulters, no operators will complain that he or she is not aware of the registration.
“I’m happy with the turnout of this sensitisation. This shows that the operators are well informed of the statutory friction of the council as the port regulator.
“The final implementation will commence as soon as we discover that all the operators have keyed into the portal.
“We are engaging other ports across the country and we’re hopeful that before the last quater of 2024, the council will implement sanctions on defaulting operators”, Akujobi said.
Earlier, Vice Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwards (NAGAFF), Dr Ifeanyi Emoh, said  port challenges were enormous, adding that they originated from some of the government agencies.

Emoh urged the council to look into regulating other government agencies, so that there could be a window through which they can collect port charges collectively instead of indiscriminately.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

FG Launches National Single Window Steering Committee

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said the decision of his administration to embark on a National Single Window (NSW) platform is to boost the country’s Ease of Doing Business Index as rated by the World Bank.
The NSW is an electronic portal that links all agencies and operators within the country’s supply chain to an integrated platform, which is to be domiciled at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Membership of the steering committee is drawn from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and some key private sector operators, which include importers, exporters, shipping lines, freight agents and banks.
Speaking while inaugurating the steering committee for the project at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the President also said the platform is aimed at eliminating all forms of encumbrances to trade and commerce with a view to optimising revenue generation and ultimately boost the inflow of both local and foreign direct investment into the country.
The President, who decried the bottlenecks that characterise the country’s import, export and other supply chain activities, noted that the project is another milestone by his administration, saying the project would boost investment inflow by removing all forms of trade barriers in the import and export value chain.
“Nigeria’s import and export processes are bureaucratic, which lead to delays at the seaports. Such inefficiencies have adverse impacts on local businesses in the country and serve as potential impediment for foreign direct investments.
“To eliminate these challenges, today, we are launching the National Single Window project.
“The National Single Window Project is intended to enhance revenue generation through imports and exports and accelerate economic activities in the country.
“This project is a bold initiative to simplify and streamline our import and export clearance processes by eliminating bottlenecks, and harnessing best-in-class technology. This will result in reduced costs of doing business and position us to attract more foreign investment.
“The National Single Window Project will consist of four key pillars, namely: Single Window for Imports, Single Window for Exports, Port Community System and Scanning Services across our sea, air and land borders.
“The Project is not merely a technological advancement, but a strategic initiative to increase revenue generation by consolidating import and export related procedures into a unified electronic platform.
“The platform will serve as a single portal for the submission and approval of all import and export related documents, as well as a centralised payment system. It will be integrated with the various systems in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved in the import and export processes.
“The National Single Window project is a top priority for this Administration. As a result, I am directing all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies working on similar systems or information technology implementation projects to stop doing so in silos but align and consolidate such projects under the National Single Window Project’s scope.
“Today, I am also inaugurating the National Single Window project steering committee. The primary objectives of the Steering Committee are to provide support, oversight, strategic direction, and guidance to ensure the effective implementation of the project.
“You are entrusted with the responsibility of aligning this project with this government’s revenue enhancement objectives, setting the stage for a more efficient and responsive economy.
“I expect nothing short of excellence from this committee. You are the driving force behind the success of this crucial project, and your commitment and dedication will determine its outcome.
“Our collective effort will shape this project and play a key role in shaping the future of trade and commerce in Nigeria. I urge you to approach this task with a sense of purpose, unity, and a shared commitment for the betterment of our nation”, the President said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of FIRS, Zacch Adedeji, who also spoke at the event, thanked President Tinubu for the project and approving FIRS and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as the project’s implementing agencies and financial managers.
Adedeji said the project aligns with the President’s commitment to stimulating Nigeria’s economy through enhanced trade facilitation and a bold step towards realising the country’s immense economic potential.
“As we strive towards achieving sustainable economic growth, we must embrace high-impact projects such as the National Single Window. By simplifying the government trade compliance process through a cutting-edge digital platform, we will unlock a myriad of economic benefits.
“This initiative will serve as a catalyst for achieving an average Gross Domestic Project (GDP) growth rate of seven per cent annually, propelling Nigeria to new heights of prosperity. The National Single Window is not just a technological advancement; it is the gateway to a more connected, efficient, and transparent system.
“By integrating our seaports, government agencies, and key stakeholders, we will create a seamless ecosystem that facilitates trade, saves time for businesses, and opens up a world of opportunities.
“From providing access to education and healthcare to enabling small businesses to reach global markets, digital connectivity is the key to unlocking Nigeria’s true potential.
“The heavy costs, delays, and inefficiencies at our ports has been a constant burden. It is estimated that a staggering $4 billion annually is lost due to these inefficiencies.
“By addressing revenue leakage prevention and facilitating effective trade, we will reclaim these lost resources and channel them towards the betterment of our society.
“Steering Committee, National Single Window 2 Paperless trade alone is projected to bring an annual economic benefit of around $2.7 billion; a testament to the transformative power of this initiative.
“The success stories of countries that have embraced Single Window systems are evident. Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have all witnessed significant improvements in trade efficiency after implementing similar initiatives. It is now Nigeria’s turn to join the ranks of these progressive nations and reap the rewards of a streamlined, digitised trade environment.
“The National Single Window is not just about facilitating trade, it is also a powerful tool for expanding our tax base and capturing the informal e-Commerce sector. By providing a unified, modern digital platform for expeditious paperless cargo clearance and logistics, we will bring more businesses into the formal economy, ensuring that everyone contributes their fair share to our nation’s development.
“Moreover, by linking the Nigerian National Single Window with other African nations, we will expedite cargo movement and optimise intra-Africa trade.
“This will position Nigeria as a leader in regional trade facilitation, fostering stronger economic ties with our neighbors and creating new opportunities for growth and collaboration.
“The current international trade environment is complex, involving disparate systems and requiring an average of 40 documents per transaction. Nigeria’s lack of a comprehensive trade facilitation system has led to bottlenecks, corruption, port delays, decreased revenue, and a negative business environment. The National Single Window is a decisive response to these challenges.

“By improving trade facilitation, revenue generation, economic growth, transparency, security, and streamlined processes, we will transform Nigeria into a global trade powerhouse”, the FIRS boss explained.

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Maritime

NPA Secures $700m Citibank Loan For Tin Can, Apapa Ports Rehabilitation 

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In a bid to rehabilitate ports across the country, the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has secured a $700million loan from Citibank to revamp Tin Can and Apapa Ports.
Speaking during the signing of a mandate letter with Citibank Nigeria in Lagos,  Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the agency negotiated a loan of $700million from the Citibank to be funded by the UK Export Finance (UKEF), an export credit agency, to rehabilitate the Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports, Lagos.
He said NPA has opened discussion with another funding agency to secure financing for upgrading of the Eastern Ports including Calabar, Warri, Onne and Rivers Ports, as well as the reconstruction of Escravos breakwater.
Bello-Koko said the mandate letter would be sent to Debt Management Office for final review and approval.
The funds, he continued, are ready and the reconstruction of the Lagos ports will start soon, as the NPA perfects plans to sign another mandate letter for the upgrading of the Eastern ports in about a month.
“In the last two years, NPA has realised the need for us to rehabilitate and reconstruct the ports all over the country.
“We have been having discussions with multilateral funding agencies who have sent various proposals that we have reviewed.
“What we did is to further discussion with interested parties and we realised it is better to separate the ports in Lagos from the ports in the East, and we are in discussion with another funding agencies to fund the construction of ports outside Lagos”, he stated.
The NPA boss further said the Citibank facility was the cheapest for Nigeria because it came with affordable interest rate.

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