In its quest to ensure the growth and development of the maritime sector in line with the Presidential order on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, the Federal Government is set to automate all shipping related administrative processes in order to reduce subjectivity and corruption, thereby promoting transparency in the Nigerian maritime industry.
This is one of the major consensus reached in the communiqué issued at a one-day maritime stakeholders’ interactive forum held in Warri, Delta State with the theme; “Implementation of Executive Order One (1) – Ease of Doing Business in a Secure Maritime Environment”.
According to the 18- point communiqué, stakeholders agreed that in order to realise the desired accelerated growth of the Nigerian maritime sector, the Ministry of Transportation and its agencies should explore alternate financing windows such as the establishment of Maritime Bank to address the financing gap created by the unsuitability of lending rates of Nigerian banks for the shipping business; consider reviving NIMAREX as a platform for bridging the gap between the Nigerian shipping industry and prospective international investors so as to provide impetus for growth and investment.
Furthermore, it was established in the communiqué that the ministry and its agencies should take urgent steps to address the challenge of under-declaration of cargo by ships calling at Nigerian ports to plug the substantial revenue leakage thus created; that the Ministry and its agencies should cause the urgent dredging of the Escravos Bar to facilitate the access of large dry cargo vessels into Warri ports.
On the issue of safety and security of the maritime space, stakeholders were also of the view that the ministry and its agencies should collaborate with the maritime communities with a view to relying on their local knowledge and intelligence for fighting maritime crimes like piracy, and vessel hijack.
Also, the need for manpower development and capacity building was discussed as the communiqué urged that the ministry and its agencies should consider a return to the former system whereby the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) all contributed to the training of master mariners who are currently counted at 180 with more than 75% above the retirement age.
The issue of the Apapa gridlock and access road challenges was not left out as stakeholders charged the Ministry and its Agencies to consider establishing transit parks for trucks waiting to access the ports and implement an automated call-up system that prevents their proliferation around the ports.
Other areas highlighted are; that the Ministry and its Agencies should consider establishing Complaints Desks and online feedback platforms to promote the ease of doing business in Nigerian maritime industry; amongst other pressing issues, all geared toward the realization of a robust and business friendly maritime sector that can compete favourably with its counterparts in other climes.
Corroborating the stakeholders yearnings as stated in the communiqué, the Director General of NIMASA
Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Transportation and other Agencies under the Ministry will continue to work hard to ensure less human contacts with processes in the maritime sector, which is intended to give way to transparency and discourage sharp practices in the sector and assured the forum that all the points raised will be given urgent and due attention.
“The Federal Ministry of Transportation shapes the policy that drives the industry and we are servants in the industry; hence we will join hands with all Stakeholders to build this industry in order to be able to continue to provide economic opportunities for our people. I therefore charge you all to shape opinions that will help Nigerians know that some people are working hard to take the maritime sector to the next level,” Peterside said.
On their parts, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, also lent their voices and unanimously agreed that automation of all processes and collaboration with all stakeholders are keys to realizing a robust maritime sector, which also demands the support of all industry players.
Buhari said at the presentation that the budget would drive rapid economic recovery.
The president said that, with a benchmark of 45 dollars per barrel of crude oil at an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar in 2018, the budget would consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets to aggressively steer the economy to the path of steady growth.
Nkpemenyie McDominic, Lagos
Oil Slumps To $88/Barrel, OPEC Considers 1mbpd Cut
The global benchmark for crude, Brent, appreciated in price on Monday, a situation the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies consider an oil output cut of more than a million barrels per day when they meet today (October 5, 2022).
Industry figures seen on Monday showed that the cost of Brent moved up by 3.7 per cent or $3.15 to close at $88.3/barrel as at 6.03pm Nigerian time.
Another oil grade, the WTI, also increased in price on Monday, gaining $3.36 or 4.23 per cent to close at $82.83/barrel around the same time.
However, oil grades in the OPEC Basket dipped in price, shedding $0.42 or 0.45 per cent to trade at $92.34/barrel around 6.06pm on Monday.
OPEC sources told Reuters that the oil cartel and its allies were considering an output cut of over one million barrels per day at their meeting coming up today (Wednesday).
The latest figure is slightly above estimates for a cut given last week, which ranged between 500,000 bpd and 1mbpd.
The meeting to consider a reduction in global oil supply is happening at a time when governments around the world are struggling to control runaway inflation.
A cut in supply leads to a rise in petroleum prices for consumers.
Today’s face-to-face meeting of the 13 OPEC members led by Saudi Arabia and its 10 allied members headed by Russia will be the first in the Austrian capital since the spring of 2020.
“It is a meeting that is taking place at a very interesting global time,” one of the sources told Reuters.
Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, first flagged the possibility of cuts to correct the market in August.
The cartel had agreed to huge cuts in output in 2020 when the pandemic sent oil prices crashing but began to increase production last year as the market improved.
Now, the output cuts are being considered on the back of a slide in oil prices from multi-year highs reached in March and market volatility.
Oil prices soared to almost $140/barrel in March after the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, but have since fallen to around $80/barrel amid recession fears.
‘Blue Economy Can Contribute $1.5trn To Economy’
Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority, Michael Lodge, has said the sustainable development of deep seabed resources located in Africa’s continental shelves, and in the international seabed area can be a key driver for the development of Africa’s Blue Economy.
He stated this, Monday, in Abuja, during a pre-event press briefing on the imperative of supporting Africa’s Blue Economy.
The event is jointly organised by the International Seabed Authority in collaboration with National Boundary Commission, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and aimed to support the strategy of Africa’s Blue economy.
Quoting the United Nations statisics, Lodge said Blue economy could also contribute up to $1.5tn to the global economy if effectively and sustainably managed.
“The sustainable development of deep seabed resources located in Africa’s continental shelves and in the international seabed area could be a key driver for the development of Africa’s Blue Economy.
“According to the United Nations, Blue Economy could contribute up to $1.5tn to the global economy if effectively and sustainably managed.
“This is a huge opportunity for Africa and each African state. The oceans and seas surrounding the African continent include a wealth of natural living and non-living marine resources. This inspired a growing interest in the sustainable development of the African Blue Economy”, he said.
FG, States, LGs Share N2.429trn In Three Months
The three tiers of government comprising Federal, State, and Local, have shared N2.429 trillion from the Federation Account from June to August, 2022.
The amount is made up of statutory distributions, Value Added Tax (VAT), and others that goes to collecting agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
Data available to The Tide’s source stated that the Federal, State and Local governments got N673.137 billion in August, N954.085 billion in July and N802.407 billion in June.
Under statutory disbursements, which is derived after VAT and cost of collection are deducted from the total distributable revenue that accrues to the Federation Account at the end of every month, N1.823,369 trillion was shared among the Federal, State and Local Government councils.
In the three months, the Federal Government received N437.871 billion; State governments received N776.918 billion, while Local governments got N608.580 billion, thus bringing the total statutory disbursements between June and August to N1.823,369 trillion.
Under the proceeds from VAT, a total allocation of N586.26 billion was made to the benefiting governments in the three months reviewed. In August, the three governments got N215.266 billion, in July, N177.167 billion, and in June, N193.827 billion.
From June to August, the FIRS, Customs and other revenue-generating agencies that are entitled to the cost of collection received and shared N35.487 billion in August, N47.254 billion in July and N44.606 billion in June, 2022, bringing the total for the three months to N127.347billion.
After making all the deductions, the remainder known as the ‘total distributable’ was shared as follows: Federal Government in August received, N259.641 billion, in July N406.610 billion and in June, N321.859 billion. So, in the three months, the Federal Government got N988.11 billion.
Within the same months, the state governments received N222.949 billion in August; N281.342 billion in July and N245.418 billion in June – all amounting to N749.709 billion.
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