The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says it is yet to get a location for the N50 billion floating dock.
Director-General NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, said no one has started or tested the floating dock since 2018.
He said it took the agency eight months to convince the regulatory authorities to get approval to commence operations of the floating dock in Lagos instead of the Niger-Delta.
“Now, as we are talking, I am just coming back from Abuja to get the consent and agreement of the people that will give us the location where we can place the floating docks.
“Up till now, we have not got a location. And then, the other thing is that it has been there since 2018, nobody has worked on it, started it or tested it. So, we have to bring the engineers several times to come and work on it, including the Isrealis.
“Secondly, on the location, the first thing that came was the issue of going to the Niger-Delta. We discovered that we don’t have the draft; the issue of commercialisation also came to the fore, people don’t have the confidence to go there and so many other things.
“On this alone, we spent eight months convincing the authorities to give us the approval to commence the operation of this floating dock in Lagos”, he said.
A floating dock, floating pier, or floating jetty is a platform or ramp supported by pontoons. It is usually joined to the shore with a gangway.
“The pier is usually held in place by vertical poles referred to as pilings, which are embedded in the seafloor or by anchored cables”, he explained.
The floating dock, which was conceptualised and acquired by the Dakuku Peterside-led administration, was expected to serve as a maintenance base for visiting vessels and those domiciled in the country, with aspirations to save about $100m yearly in capital flight; generate employment, and boost local capacity.
Sadly, the aspirations have become a mirage, owing to improper planning.
The facility, measuring 125 metres by 35 metres, with three in-built cranes, transformers, and a number of ancillary facilities, was built by one of the world’s largest ship-building firms, Damen Shipyards, in collaboration with its partner, National Industrial Research and Development Agency, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for N50bn.
Speaking on the agency’s plan to collaborate with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPS) to manage the floating dock, the NIMASA DG said, “We came and saw the modular floating dock belonging to NPA working, with the dolphins standing.
“Today, it is no more. We had a meeting with the NPA and we were contemplating whether the people that managed their floating dock will manage ours. I told them that they killed their own, and that they can’t kill my own, we learned from that particular arrangement, the NIMASA DG explained.
Jamoh said the government had to import dolphins that would be used to clip the floating dock from the Netherlands as they could not be sourced locally.
“For the dolphins that we want to put, you cannot get the equipment that can fit into the dolphins into our own sea in order to clip the floating dock.
“We have to do temporary importation of the equipment from the Netherlands, to come just to put the dolphin and take it back to Netherland” he concluded.
MWUN Threatens To Down Tools Over Failed Quay Aprons
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Friday threatened to shutdown port operations over the dilapidated quay aprons at some of the nation’s seaports.
Speaking in Lagos during a joint press conference put together by the union and Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), President General, MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, reiterated that the lives of labour workers at the affected terminals was at risk, saying that “injury to one is tantamount to injury to all.”
Adeyanju lamented that the union cannot allow the situation consume some dockworkers before protesting against the trend, noting that as a responsible and proactive group, there was the need to down tools for government to do the needful.
Our correspondent gathered that two port terminal, at Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, and another at Port Harcourt, Rivers Port Quay wells have been in dilapidated condition for over five years without any sign of repair works from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Recall that Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Sambo, who also inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port quay apron recently, asked Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
While reacting to questions from the journalists, Adeyanju said the union will also engage management of the NPA in furtherance to address the menacing failed infrastructure of the terminals.
On the recently inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NARTO, the President General noted that the collaboration has been in existence for a long while with the aims to cater for drivers’ welfare and support projects of the NPA in port terminals operations.
He also warned members of the dockworkers branch to cooperate and embrace the agreement with the trucking association, noting that any attempt by the dockers to flout the MoU reached so far would result to sanctions from the national executive of MWUN.
He assured the leadership of NARTO, led by its National President, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, of the Union’s commitment towards ensuring that progress and success is achieved in the agreement.
According to him, the MoU is binding for members of the dockworkers branch, stressing that the Lagos ports was a test run with plans ahead to extend the agreement to other seaports, including, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt ports.
Earlier, President of NARTO, Alhaji Othman, lauded the MoU reached with MWUN, adding that success will be achieved in the merger. Othman said in line with port operations, the merger will bring about free flow of vehicular movement in and out of the ports calling on the parties involved to embrace sincerity and transparency for the benefit of the industry and Nigeria.
He said, “We wish to draw the attention of the general public to the decision for MWUN and NARTO to synergise and collaborate on a basis of common desire to ensure seamless environment to do business in the maritime sub sector of the nation’s economy”.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
PenCom Approves Use Of Pensions For Mortgage
National Pension Commission (PenCom), has commenced approval for workers to use 25 per cent of their Retirement Savings Accounts for mortgage.
PenCom in a press statement released on Friday, titled ‘PenCom approves guidelines on accessing Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders’, noted that the approval was in line with the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
It stated in part, “PenCom is pleased to inform all stakeholders and the general public, particularly RSA holders, that the commission has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the guidelines on accessing RSA balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.
“The approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage”.
According to the PenCom, the guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
It added that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
It further stated that where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, that RSA holders may utilize the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).
To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, it stated, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate.
“The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
“A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application, and the RSA Holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.
“Married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
“RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.
“Application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy.” it stated.
By: Corlins Walter
Car Hires Operators, Bolt Driver Flex Muscles In PH Airport
There was pandemonium at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, Friday, as the Accredited Car Hires operators clashed with a Bolt taxi operator over passengers.
The scenario that played out got to the extent that everyone scampered for safety, as the Bolt driver went wild with his vehicle, and defied everything put in place to stop him, determined to crush anything, including humans, that stool on his way.
Problem started when the suspected Bolt driver was stopped by the Car Hires. After a heated argument, characterized by abuses, the bolt driver decided to enter his vehicle in anger, after he sensed that his car was in danger of being confiscated.
In the commotion that ensued, the car hires, as usual, used their iron piercing instruments to block the tyres of the vehicle to keep it within their custody, and the uproar attracted the attention of other airport users.
The Car hires and their allies at the airport had always insisted that no other taxi operator must carry passengers at the airport, since they do not pay any levy to the airport authority.
Consequently, they use every force necessary to stop other outside taxis from carrying passengers from the airport.
Friday’s incident took a new twist, as the Bolt driver over. Powered the forces used by the car hires, and went on a suicide mission, which made people to scamper for safety, including the car hires.
The driver went on a speed spree away from the airport. Even when the piercing instruments cut his tyre, he drove in such reckless manner capable of pulling down a building, thereby setting the entire environment on panic.
Some security agents present had to clear the way for the Bolt driver who drove out of the Airport with the iron piercing instrument obstructing his car, defiling all attempts to stop him.
By: Corlins Walter
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