From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Federal Government has begun talks with some banks and a transaction adviser in its quest to float a fresh private sector driven national shipping line (national fleet).
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello who disclosed yesterday said the project was now at the stage of sourcing finance to acquire vessels and operate.
The NSC boss who doubles as the Chairman, Implementation Committee for the new national fleet, assured that the process leading to the establishment of a new national fleet would be transparent and open for assessment.
“We would deliver the national and shipping line way in a very transparent way. This includes the engagement of stakeholders. We have a lot of local ship owners on that committee. We have a meeting with the local content management board. We are also having engagement with others like NIMASA, NPA etc. It is not only to have the shipping line, but to have grand plans for its sustainability.
“For example, we are talking to the Chinese to open ship building and ship repair yard. So, if we have the national fleet, we do not have to take them outside for repairs with all the attendant huge cost. We have engagement with the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron so that cadets will be trained on Nigerian vessels. With that, they have the expertise required to man the sector. The whole essence of the national fleet is that it should make contributions to the economy.
“He who controls the means of transport, controls the trade. Nigeria, more than ever before, is becoming conscious of the potentiality of the maritime industry and the transport industry as a whole. It is taking conscious steps to improve the sector, to diversify the economy, to get Nigeria out of recession and to call on maritime industry to support the economy as it is being done globally,” Bello explained.
The NSC boss said all maritime stakeholders were collaborating to address the perennial issue of port congestion as it was making Nigerian seaports commercially unattractive.
“We really want to collaborate with stakeholders in the decongestion of the port. The Ministry of Transportation is more or less like a business ministry, working hard to attract investors, generate revenue for the government and improve legitimate trade.
What we are so happy about is the ministry’s engagement with stakeholders. The minister engages the stakeholders and we have the inputs from them. There is nothing we do without their buy in. It is a democratic way of having people to participate. Through our engagement, we have been enriched,” he said.
Education: No going back on deadline for TRCN membership, FG insists
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government has advised teachers whose biodata is yet to be recorded on the database of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) to have it done as quickly as possible, because government would not extend the two-year grace period that is due to end in 2017.
Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, who chaired the maiden induction for teachers at Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, Imo State, warned that any teacher found in the classroom at the end of 2017 without TRCN’s certificate and license would be flushed out.
TRCN spokesman, Muyiwa Ojewuyi, in a statement yesterday, noted that the Registrar, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, at the induction, maintained that professionalism was a major factor in any endeavour and should not be undermined by teachers: “There is no going back on TRCN’s professionalism drive. The council would soon reintroduce the Professional Qualifying Examination (PQE), which would serve as a major pre-requisite for admittance into the teaching profession in Nigeria.”
Ajiboye commended the Vice Chancellor of IMSU, Prof. Victoria Obasi, TRCN – Imo State office and Faculty of Education of the University for the excellent package of the induction protocol, being the first of its kind in the university.
While appreciating the efforts of TRCN in repositioning the teaching profession, she admitted that TRCN has become a formidable force to reckon with in teachers’ education in Nigeria.
Planning: FG votes N1bn for national housing scheme in 2017
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
In line with its commitment and resolve to deliver affordable housing to Nigerians through the Integrated National Housing Plan, the Federal Government has voted over N1 billion in the 2017 budget for the setting up of a social housing fund to boost housing delivery in the country.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja when stakeholders from the Housing and Urban Development Working Team of the National Economic Summit Group, led by Pemwalk Gomwalk, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
In a statement signed by the acting director of information in the ministry, Ben Bem Goong, the minister explained that the Federal Government placed premium on housing and urban development.
However, acknowledging the funding constraints in realising the goal of meeting the country’s housing deficit, the minister challenged the National Economic Summit Group to mobilise the private sector to complement government’s efforts by investing in housing, adding that it was a good sector to invest in.
Earlier, Gomwalk told the minister that the group was working hard to mobilise the private sector to team up with government to ensure that the objectives of the Integrated National Housing Plan were fully realised.
JAMB: JAMB, NECO, others meet over 2017 exams
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) will today host the chief executives of all examination bodies, the National Examination Council (NECO), the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), and other stakeholders in a meeting to harmonise modalities toward coordinated, hitch-free examinations in 2017.
The meeting would also determine the appropriate time frame for each of the examination bodies to conduct exams, to avoid clashes and afford candidates ample time to study and prepare for each of the examinatons.
JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, last week, declared that the board was yet to commence the sale of 2017 UTME forms, for undisclosed reasons, warning parents and candidates to be wary of fraudsters who might want to hoodwink them.
“We will meet with heads of other examination bodies, NECO, WAEC and NABTEB, to consider the proposed date for each of the exams, to avoid clash with each other.
“We don’t want to conduct our exam at a time when students are not ready because that might be disastrous. Remember that JAMB does not conduct achievement examination but a ranking examination, and that was why we kicked against the extension of its validity,” he said.