From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja, with agency reports
NIGERIA is losing $700 million monthly (about N137.9 billion) to dominance of crude oil shipment by foreign ship owners, National President of Nigeria Indigenous Ship Owners Association (NISA), Aminu Umar, has said.
Umar made the disclosure in an interview yesterday in Lagos on the sideline of the Annual General Meeting of the association.
He urged the Federal Government to grant indigenous shipowners between 10 and 20 per cent allocation in lifting crude oil. The shipowner said that Nigeria was losing a huge amount of money due to the fact that foreign shipowners had dominated the transportation of crude oil.
“Almost 70 to 77 crude oil vessels load oil monthly out of Nigeria. The foreign shipowners do not employ Nigerians and they do not pay tax. What we are telling the Federal Government is to give us the support so that we can take at least 10 per cent of the crude oil vessels operating in Nigerian waters,” he said.
According to him, if government could give indigenous shipowners 10 per cent allocation to lift crude oil, they would create jobs for the country’s youths and retain part of the proceeds in the nation’s banks.
Umar said indigenous shipowners would also pay tax which would assist the government in its responsibilities. He said that the association was ready to partner the government to check the shortcomings in crude oil trade.
The shipowner said that government’s policy had not been supporting indigenous operators, urging government to give them maximum support and to also create a conducive environment for them to excel.
Umar said that the recent changes in leadership of the maritime sector had slowed the association down in arranging meetings with both the Minister of Transportation and heads of maritime agencies.
He said the association would like to partner government for proper understanding of the maritime industry as an alternative to resolving the foreign exchange challenges confronting the nation
UAE to invest in Kano, other African states
From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
UNITED Arab Emirate (UAE)’s Minister of Economy, Sultan Bin Sa’eed Al-Mansouri, has said his government will invest in African countries like Nigeria, particularly Kano State, as part of measures to balance its growth and diversify the economy in the light of the global drop in oil prices.
Speaking during a meeting with Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, in Dubai, he disclosed that his country’s focus was now on the African continent given the promising growth opportunities in its markets and the immense capabilities of Dubai-based companies in varied sectors in the economy.
“Looking at the opportunities in the African market, we realise that the continent is considered among the most important destinations on the global investment map, particularly in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, mining and tourism,” Al-Mansouri affirmed.
The Minister explained that the economic policies of his country are geared towards moving away from the oil sector and building balanced relations with other economies, assuring that Kano was a likely investment destination for his country.
Al-Mansouri added that because UAE wants to ensure that it is at par with the best global economies, it is building a comprehensive knowledge-driven economy, adding however, that the country has challenges in the areas of security management, water resources and food production.
On his part, Governor Ganduje stated that Kano State has mutual opportunities for development cooperation, particularly in the area of alternative energy, agriculture and infrastructure.
He explained that the state would also welcome investment in its proposed light rail project noting that “the project objective will boost employment in the city with an estimated 28,000 jobs.”
He added: “Kano’s huge population, the largest in Nigeria, is a huge market for all types of products and is a traditional market for many West African countries.”
Ganduje assured that the state and indeed Nigeria as a whole, was now peaceful with a government that has zero tolerance for corruption.
Maritime safety: FG releases new guidelines for dredging in Lagos
…Defaulters risk jail
By Uche Usim
IN what could be described as a paradigm shift, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has released new guidelines for dredging operations in Lagos State.
Speaking yesterday at a Stakeholders’ Forum for dredgers operating in Lagos, the Area Manager of NIWA, Lagos, Muazu Sambo, said the blueprint is to promote safety of vessels and other marine operations as the agency is poised to deepen water transportation in Nigeria.
According to him, penalties for defaulters range from fines to imprisonment, even as he stressed that the gravity of the offence determines the weight of the punishment to be meted out by the courts.
Sambo in the 18-point guideline stated that henceforth, dredging machines must be placed at a minimum of 500 meters away from each other.
“Dredging operations must not obstruct navigation activities along the waterways and the dredging pipes should be properly marked out and sunk in water for safety of other users of the waterways. The permissible distance of the dredge machine from the shoreline must not be less than 500 meters.
“Only one machine will be allowed per stockpiling site. Permit granted to a particular company in a specified location shall not be transferred. It’s non-transferable to another location or another individual. Also, the approved site must not exceed the delineated area prescribed in the perimeter survey submitted.
“Penalty shall be imposed on dredging companies for non-compliance with Health Safety and Environment standards. Penalty shall also be imposed on a dredging company that does not maintain the access road to its stockpiling site.
“No reclamation project should commence until all requisite documentations are observed and approval granted. Penalty shall be imposed on a dredging company that sells wet dredged sand to trucks,” he stated.
The Area Manager also said no dredging site shall commence sales of dredged sand before 6am and must close by sunset, adding that dredging and all floating equipment must have valid annual survey and operational permits of NIWA.
Sambo noted that the Ajah area of Lagos remains a volatile area, adding that the agency had to reduce the number of operators from 24 to six.