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Shippers Council pledges enhanced services for efficient effective Transport/Maritime system

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Shippers Council pledges enhanced services for efficient effective Transport/Maritime system


By Friday Idachaba
The Nigeria Shippers’ Council has pledged to scale up its services to Kogi Shippers to ensure efficient and effective Transport/Maritime system and enhance support service ability to complete in the global economy.

Zonal Director, North-Central Zone of the Council Mrs Ify Okolue, disclosed this at the validation and inauguration of a new Executive Council for Kogi Shippers’ Association on Saturday in Lokoja.

Okolue said the quality, cost and efficiency of the council’s services influences the trading environment as well as the overall cost of goods traded internationally.

She said that due to the historical precedence of the people of Kogi State with maritime related activities along the Rivers Niger and Benue, the council deemed it necessary to establish an Area Office in Lokoja in March, 2000.

The North Central Zonal Director said that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recommended the establishment of National Shippers Council in developing economies in 1956 to serve as a countervailing force against the excesses of foreign ship owners and other multinational maritime service providers.

Okolue said that one of the statutory functions of the Council was to provide a forum for protection of interest of shippers on matters affecting the shipment of imports and exports to and from Nigeria and to encourage the formation of shippers’ associations all over the country.

She appealed to all stakeholders to support the new leadership of the Association with ideas and suggestions that would improve the attainment of international trade and contribute to socio-economic development of the people of Kogi state.

Speaking in same vein, Area Officer of the NSC in Kogi Mr Edwin Ignatius, said Nigeria earned over 405 million US Dollars from export of Cashew nuts in 2018 with Kogi accounting for over 60 per cent of entire cashew production.

He said if properly harnessed and channelled with adequate information the state stood to generate a lot foreign exchange for the nation through its abundant natural resources.

In his acceptance speech, the newly inaugurated President of the association, Mr Habuh-Rajan Suleiman thanked the Nigerian Shippers Council and members of the Association for finding worthy to serve.

He said that the Association which comprised of prospective and active importers and exporters would use its power of advocacy to negotiate and manage transportation services on behalf of his members.

Its areas of intervention, according to him, comprise Road transportation carriers, Rail transport carriers, Rivers transport carriers, Air Transport carriers, Ocean transport carriers and other forms of transportation of goods and services within and outside Nigeria.

Suleiman said membership of the association would benefit both small and medium-size companies through aggregation of cargo volumes; facilitating collaboration and information sharing; advocating, sensitising and organising activities; partnering with government and non state actors among others.

He pledged effective cooperation and collaboration with the management of the NSC in its effort to regulate and ensure effective transportation and movement of goods and services within and outside Nigeria.

Newly elected executive officers inaugurated to oversee all the affairs of the association for the next two years include Habuh-Rajan Suleiman, President; Okotie Felix, Vice President; Mike Damia, General Secretary and Iyke Joel, Assistant General Secretary.

Others are Alhaji Ichapi Mohammed, Treasurer; Darlington Jide-Ofor, Financial Secretary; Donatus Pope, Publicity Secretary; Biodun Akerejola, Auditor while Engineer Meduteni and Mr Nuhu Adaji were returned as Ex-Officio members.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the highlight of the occasion was the administration of the Oath of Office administered on the newly elected executive officers of the association by a legal practitioner, Ogalla Omachoko Esq. (NAN)

FDJ/

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FG assures Nigerians of availability of PMS as it blames tanker drivers, employers feud for fuel scarcity

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FG assures Nigerians of availability of PMS as it blames tanker drivers, employers feud for fuel scarcity

The Federal Government has shifted its responsibility to ending fuel scarcity blaming the sudden return of queues at filling stations in parts of the country on unresolved feud between petroleum tanker drivers and their employers, among other issues.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is worse hit as fuel stations have suddenly started witnessing long queues of motorists struggling to buy petrol since Saturday.
Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, had assured the nation that the queues would soon disappear, but the harrowing experiences of motorist continue.
He gave the assurance Tuesday, while fielding questions from newsmen at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after he debriefed President Muhammadu Buhari on the happenings in the nation’s petroleum sector.
Kyari attributed the observed scarcity to suspension of operations by the tanker drivers, who are protesting with their employers over some labour issues, assuring Nigerians that the worst was over as the strike had been suspended for one week.
The GMD said the tanker drivers, as at yesterday, had resumed lifting fuel from depots across the country.
“These queues will go away. It is because there was an industrial action by petroleum tanker drivers against their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners, around their compensation package. Those issues were not resolved up till yesterday (Monday) until we intervened to ensure that there’s an amicable settlement between the parties so that they will have peace and then normal loading operations will commence from the depots.
“As I speak to you, loading has commenced in all depots in the country, dispatching of trucks is ongoing in all the depots. They have called off the strike for a period of one week to enable us intervene and find a solution. So there’s really nothing fundamental that is happening now.”

The NNPC boss added that the agreement arrived at with the aggrieved drivers would enable the authorities to concretise a more lasting solution to the issues.
On the plan to end the petrol subsidy regime, Kyari said government was still in the process of coming up with the best way out of the debacle for the best interest of Nigeria.
“Subsidy is a policy matter. I’m sure you’re aware of this, there are engagements going on within government to get the best framework for having a fully deregulated PMS market.
“As this is going on, we are engaging all parties and all stakeholders as government and to make sure that at the end of the day, there’s an exit that is beneficial to the ordinary man.”

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NNPC insists, it will not increase fuel price in May

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NNPC insists, it will not increase fuel price in May

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Malam Mele Kyari, has said that the corporation will not increase the ex- depot price of Premium Motor spirit also known as petrol in May as being speculated.

He gave the indication at the end of a closed door meeting with Petroleum Transport Drivers (PTD), National Association of Road Transporters Owners (NARTO) and oil marketers in Abuja on Monday.
Ex-depot price is the price marketers buy products from depot owners which determines the pump price at filling stations.

He informed oil marketing companies that NNPC will not increase the pump price of PMS in May.
“I am giving the assurance and I ask Nigerians to go about their normal businesses; we have over 20 billion litres of petrol in our custody.
“Many of you are aware of this and with the assurance with tanker drivers and NUPENG, there is no need for panic buying of the product.
“Petrol will be available in all the depots in the country including NNPC dispatched depot across the country, so nobody should panic in buying the product,” he said.
On the strike by PTD, he said the strike was associated with NARTO’s inability to increase their compensation which was not resolved last week.
“We have given commitment to both NARTO and PTD that we will resolve the issue within a week and come back to the table to have a total closure on the issue.
“We also have a robust engagement with our oil marketing partners in respect of increase in the volume product that is check in the Nigerian market.
“We have agreed to work jointly with all the security agencies to contain any possible infractions seen in our borders.
“We will work as a team to curtail this fraudulent practice with the help of the security agencies,” he added.
He added that the meeting also discussed issues on payment by Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) to oil marketing companies.

He said that all stakeholders agreed in making PMS available to marketers.

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AISA raises concern over inaction of FG in sustaining MoU with Russia on Ajaokuta resuscitation

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AISA raises concern over inaction of FG in sustaining MoU with Russia on Ajaokuta resuscitation

The African Iron and Steel Association (AISA) has raised issues over the inaction of the Nigerian Government to sustaining the bilateral agreement to revamp the Ajaokuta Steel Complex ocasioned by the recent visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin.
It would be recalled that Shehu Sharagi and Leonid Brezhnev led Nigeria and Russia when the two countries first started to build the Ajaokuta steel rolling mill in 1979.
In October 2018 almost forty years later, Nigeria returned to the bilateral agreement with Russia to resuscitate the now derelict steel factory complex.
The accord to revive the Ajaokuta project was reached during a meeting between Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia
The partnership was aimed at helping to get sections of the factory into production before the end of 2019, however the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the arrangement
Former secretry African Iron and Steel Association, Dr. Sanusi Muhammed said the Nigerian President’s effort in returning to Russia that originally started the Ajaokuta Steel and the New agreement was a welcome development for the country.
Muhammed spoke during a visit by the National Association of Material and Meturlogical Engineering Students (NAMMES) led by its national President Umah Riseline Ojochogwu to the headquarters of AISA in Abuja.
He said,
“During the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Russia he met president Putin and they signed some agreement and it was aired all over the country. 
“That gladened our hearts. We felt yes we are now moving forward, unfortunately COVID-19 came in and the efforts for the Russians to come to Nigeria to see what is left of Ajaokuta and how they can move it forward had to be postponed. 
“The minister of mines and steel development severally mentioned the suspension of international flights due to COVID-19 that the Russians could not come into Nigeria again but that immediately the window for flights landing and taking off in Nigeria is opened the Russians will come to Nigeria and they will start off.”
Muhammed expressed dismay that even though the window for flight operation has been opened for over one year for international flights unfortunately they are not seeing the Russians again. 
He said, “According to the initial agreement, the Russian Government through it’s own financial institutions was going to fund Ajaokuta $450m. African Bank, a Bank established by African  countries to help develop the Continent promised pumping in $1b. 
“So a total of $1.45b was there and we were very happy to hear that, even though these figures were mentioned before the technical board of Ajaokuta steel company. The technical board is a very critical arm of Ajaokuta. That is is what inform us what is required and how we will go forward.”
He said they have not been able to get to that. 
“Of recent I heard some information, I have no proof, that that agreement is not the way we thought it was. The African bank says they cannot fund $1b unless there are certain conditionalities. Very strigent conditionalities so we began to feel some drawbacks. 
He said they are still trying to find out the true situation adding that they will still continue. 
Muhammed said,
“The ministry has been informing Nigerians on the developments of the steel industry unfortunately for the last six months we have not heard anything from the ministry. 
“We tried to find out, the information was in a sketch so we have not received the kind of information we expected.
Speaking against the backdrop of posers from the students on their future and the fate of the meturlogical industry in Nigeria he said, the National Association of Material and Meturlogical Engineering Studens, (NAMMES) in Nigeria is the reservoir for meturlogical profession. 
He said they have been doing all their best to get things done. “Unfortunately persistence comes with a lot of challenges we have been fervently pursuing this course since the 70s. 
“The initiation of Ajaokuta steel company and Itakpe has brought in great opportunity for meturlogists. “Unfortunately along the line, some people say they were saboteurs who didn’t want to see Nigeria developed and to kill Nigeria is to make sure the meturlogical center does not take off. So we have been fighting along that line.” 
According to him, they have been closely linked up with the ministry responsible for meturlogical industries in Nigeria, the ministry of mines and steel development. “We have written to them, we have discussed with them, we have interacted with them, there is nothing we have not said, to revive the meturlogical industry, we need the support of the ministry of mines and steel development . 
“Steel is one of the meturlogical materials but Meturlogical industry is composed of so many things.So we are looking at the bigger field when we talk about meturlogical industry. 
“Steel has been the backbone for meturlogical development this is why any nation that is developed today they pay premium to the meturlogical development, they pay all the necessary attention to that sector unfortunately Nigeria did not seem to have the wherewithal to get the meturlogical institute on with the meteorological industry. 
He said all the efforts that were made, the saboteurs are all over the place, to ensure that the Ajaokuta does not function. “Those abroad are using Nigerians, you and me, this is why permanent secretaries and ministers would say they would not put any money in Ajaokuta again. 
“Most of those nations that are developed their Government played vital roles in the initiation of of their industries particularly the steel industry. 
“They nurtured it till it developed. It is after it developed to a certain level they then start talking of privatization but initially they were at the helms of affairs for the development of the meturlogical industry. 
“So we have been trying to see in Nigeria we have leaders who thinks about Meturlogy and its importance. I am sorry to say until today we have not started. “

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