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Radar overhaul, spares to gulp $2m

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Radar overhaul, spares to gulp $2m
  • NAMA, Thales end rift

 

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has begun the overhaul of the 66 million total radar coverage of Nigeria, otherwise known as TRACON.
The refurbishing of the airspace surveillance equipment could cost the government over $2 million or more according to a maintenance engineer who spoke to New Telegraph in Lagos under the condition of anonymity.
The source that pleaded anonymity stated that NAMA would recondition the system to enable it meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standard.
Reconditioning is the overhaul of the airspace radar equipment to keep pace with global best practices.
Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, on October 17, 2010, commissioned the multi-billion naira project.
A total of eight other locations now host the same project, following the completion of installation work across the country. The project comprises four Primary Radar and five Secondary Radar Heads co-located in Nnamdi Azikwe, Murtala Muhammad, Malam Aminu Kano and Port Harcourt International airports.
The architectural design of TRACON consists of voice communication systems, voice recording systems, very high frequency transceivers, fibre optic, display consoles, integrated aircraft billing systems and spares while radars at the international airports comprise of both the primary and secondary radars.
The TRACON projects, which was embarked upon to address the safety needs of the industry, is also aimed at providing total coverage for the Nigerian airspace in order to enhance civil and military surveillance of aircraft (s) operating within the country.
TRACON, which is now operational after all hurdles, has five relay stations, which serve as standalone Secondary Surveillance Radar located at Talata Mafara, Maiduguri, Numan, Obubra and Ilorin.
Ever since the commissioning, the equipment was yet to be overhauled occasioned by the starving of the agency with important spares that put the system into serious risk.
But with the delivery of spares to the agency penultimate week, many of the components are to be replaced to allow for great functionality and accurate reading of the highly sensitive facility.
NAMA Managing Director Captain Fola Akinkuotu, said the exercise would involve a turnaround maintenance, which is to be carried out by the equipment manufacturer- Thales Group of France.
The agency took delivery of another consignment of critical spare parts required for the exercise.
The consignment, cleared at the Apapa port in Lagos, came from Thales Group. It includes MES1 1400A power supply modules, control units and other critical units.
The spare parts, Akinkuotu said, would be used by NAMA engineers on any of the nine TRACON installations across the country to ensure their optimal functioning.
“The relationship between NAMA and the equipment manufacturer, Thales has never been frosty as some reports would have it,” he said. “In fact, it has been very cordial and we are poised to continue to keep it that way. You will recall that we cleared some consignments of spare parts for TRACON last year from the same Thales.”
He disclosed that another consignment was being cleared at the Apapa port, adding that other consignments were expected from Thales as payments had been made.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu had caused a scare when he raised the alarm last year that the airspace surveillance system’s operations may be hampered due to lack of spare parts
He however, stated that the radar had remained functional, thanks to the ingenuity of NAMA engineers who have kept it working, stressing that the contractors for the multi billion naira project, Thales, a French firm had reneged in supplying spares for the life-saving equipment.
Corroborating Akinkuotu, Director Safety Electronics and Engineering Services (DSEES), Farouk Umar Ahmed said the agency had been having challenges with the equipment since 2014, adding that for over two years, Thales had refused to supply them spare parts.
His words: “Since 2014, we have been managing this (radar) without spares. We are pleading with the Minister of State for Aviation to plead with Thales of France to do the needful,” he added.

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Maritime financing: Analysts want BoI to manage, disburse cabotage fund

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Maritime financing: Analysts want BoI to manage, disburse cabotage fund

Investing in maritime infrastructure, including ship acquisition and shipyards is capital intensive and needs financing either from commercial banks or low interest funds from government development facilities. PAUL OGBUOKIRI reports that at this time that NIMASA is set to grow local participation in the sector; there is need for the agency to tap into the expertise of Bank of Industry in the disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund to boost funding for competent operators

 

The 5-year cabotage waivers cessation target

 

 

The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) recently announced a five-year strategic plan to end granting of waivers to foreign operators to continue to trade within Nigeria’s territorial waters.

 

 

Speaking on the NIMASA cabotage waiver cessation plan, at the recent Nigeria Maritime Finance Fair (NMFF), organized by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said the agency in its determination to build capacity for the success of the Cabotage Act, NIMASA decided to administratively review the grant of waivers and make policies which will enhance local content development, in line with Section 22(1) (K) of the NIMASA ACT 2007.

 

 

In his paper titled: Five years strategic plan for cessation of grant of cabotage waiver; Dakuku said towards realizing that goal, property owners along the coast have been invited on the need for them to key into the plan and utilize the opportunity for developing Ship Building/Repair yards.

 

 

According to him, NIMASA has also extended invitation to Nigerian indigenous cabotage operators to partner with invited foreign ship building companies on ship building with NIMASA facilitating same by creating the enabling environment.

 

 

Dakuku, who was represented at the event by a director in the agency in-charge of Cabotage Services, Barr. Victor Egerue, said the agency has requested for tax holidays and Customs Duties incentives for ship building/ship repair yards in Nigeria.

 

 

He said the plan seeks to ensure that ship repair yards should be established as a prelude to establishing Ship Building yards, saying the private sector will be engaged for the utilization of NIMASA Floating Dockyard.

The NIMASA helmsman said the import duty waivers on imported ship spares and components should be facilitated, further calling for a review of the Temporary Importation Permit Scheme by Nigeria Customs Services on Bareboat charters.

He stressed the need to facilitate Joint Venture Partnership between foreigners and indigenous operators on ship building. He added that the agency is moving to engage NEXIM BANK to guarantee loans sourced from foreign financial institutions for acquisition of vessels.

He called for the establishment of credit guarantee schemes, even as foreign vessels are now to be required to obtain license before they sail into Nigeria to perform any task and this will be fully enforced with sanctions for non-compliance.

 

 

 

According to him, NIMASA will drive facilitation of bareboat charters with purchase options, even as seafarers training will be geared towards domestic needs.

 

 

A joint committee of NIMASA/relevant stakeholders will be inaugurated in July 2019 to drive the process, Dakuku said. He added that Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) in Nigeria for Ship Building and Repairs by foreign ship building/repair yards will be facilitated by the committee.

 

 

Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)

 

 

Over 15 year the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) was set up by the Federal Government, NIMASA has failed to disburse the fund to Nigerian operators in the sector whom the fund was set up to provide cheap funding for their shipping operation in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

 

 

Analysts say the delay in deploying the fund for the very reason (financing maritime infrastructural projects/ship building/acquisition for cabotage trade), has left the huge fund which is growing daily but is continuously being depleted by successive administrations in the agency.

 

 

They say now that NIMASA has shown sufficient determination to grow the local operators capacity to enable them take over completely from the foreign operators in the cabotage area, is the best time for the agency to synergise with the Bank of Industry (BoI) for seamlessly disbursement the fund to the contributors and finally bring to an end the endless pilfering of the fund by successive administrations of NIMASA.

 

 

Speaking, the Coordinator of Save Nigerian Freight Forwarders, Importers, Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC), Chief Patrick Chukwu Osita, said:  “If the consistent stealing of the cabotage fund is stopped and it is handed over to BoI to manage and disburse more Nigerians will be employed, the national fleet will grow and the domination of the country by foreign vessels in our coastal trade will be minimised.”

 

 

The CVFF was established in 2003 mainly to promote indigenous shipping through loans to local operators.

 

 

It was set mainly to promote indigenous shipping through loan to local operators. The fund is made up of contributions from operators in the Nigerian coastal waters by way of 2 per cent surcharge imposed on the operators by NIMASA. The oil and gas industry which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy constitutes over 80 per cent of the cabotage trade. Two per cent of the gross contract sum performed by all cabotage vessels in Nigeria is paid into the cabotage fund by operators.

 

BoI and development financing in Nigeria

 

 

According to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of BoI, Mr. Mr. Olukayode Pitan, the bank has said that the ban is ready to leverage on its years of experience in managing government’s development finance funds; to collaborate with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in ensuring a seamless disbursement of the fund to qualified and competent operators.

 

 

He disclosed this in Lagos that it has only recorded minimal default in its long years of managing government development funds including the including the Nigerian Content Development and Management Board’s $200 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCIFUND).

 

 

This is coming as BoI disclosed that it has already disbursed $82million out of the $200million NCIFUND, to some local contractors (who are contributors of the fund) operating at the upstream Nigerian oil and gas industry.

 

 

The fund lent to the operators at a single-digit interest rate according to the bank, is to enable the operators acquire ships as well as for support of companies involved in ship repairs and allied investments under the Nigeria Content Development Fund (NCDF).

 

 

Managing Director of BoI, Kayode Pitan, said this in Lagos at the maiden edition of Nigeria Maritime Finance Fair organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON).

 

 

Pitan, who was represented by an official of BoI, Victor Agina, added that the funds provided have created 3,117 jobs across the country.

 

 

He urged NIMASA to partner the bank in the management and disbursement of its CVFF.

 

Pitan further explained to maritime stakeholders that companies with about 51 per cent Nigerian citizens’ equity that sources at least 40 per cent of their raw materials locally are eligible for the bank’s loans.

 

 

He added that borrowers under the NCIFUND are entitled to loan facilities with five year tenure inclusive of one year moratorium.

 

 

Investment opportunities in the maritime sector

 

 

Speaking, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello has said that the reforms in the maritime sector have thrown up quite a vast opportunity for investment in the sector.

 

 

He said that the upsurge in the volume of general cargo handled from 54,473,850 mt in 2007 to 84,951,927mt in 2014 and 71,535,635mt in 2017 has created investment opportunities in the area of:

 

 

This among others was the highlights of the paper he presented at the Nigeria Maritime Finance Fair in Lagos.

 

 

In his paper titled: “The role of commercial regulator in creating conducive environment for investors/financiers in Nigeria’s emerging private sector driven maritime industry,” Bello said that development of Container depots / yards, Inland Container Depots (ICDs), Inland Dry Port, Off- Dock Bonded warehouses/Freight stations are major areas the require investment.

 

 

He also called on investors to grab the investment opportunities in logistics / haulage transportation service (including rail, roads and inland water transportation services), truck yards / parks.

 

 

He noted that Nigeria has a large reserve of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) which created activities in the maritime sector, thereby provided investments opportunities in the supply of marine equipment for storage and transportation of oil products, supply of tug boat services, security patrol boats, supply vessels (for bunkering and chandelling services), Waste collection boats, vessel repair yards, Independent power generation, transmission and distribution, residential, tourisms and  free zones for oil and gas etc.

 

 

He said that with the appointment of NSC as the economic regulator of the ports, he said the role of the agency in encouraging private sector investment in the port sector was highlighted in section 3 (i) of its regulations, 2015.

 

 

“As a matter of fact, the regulation of an economic system seeks to achieve five (5) key objectives, namely: The protection of investors / Consumers of services, Ensure that the markets are fair, efficient and transparent, the reduction of systemic risks, the reduction of crimes and the maintenance of consumers’ confidence in the market place

 

Bello listed the duty of commercial regulator is to among others include; Contribute to the fulfilment of one or more of these objectives, Maintain an open market that can be participated by widest range of appropriate participants with no un-necessary barriers to entry and exits and Provide an equal regulatory standard on all participants that meet minimum criteria.

 

Last line

 

As outlined in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency’s (NIMASA’s) 2018/2019 Forecast, the Nigerian maritime industry is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2019.

 

 

It is therefore necessary to adequately support the local maritime industry towards generating considerable multiplier effects such as job creation, import substitution and poverty alleviation, which would have significant positive effects on the socio-economic condition of Nigerians     

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New yam out, price decrease marginal

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New yam out, price decrease marginal

Consumers in Lagos on Friday said that the price of one kilogramme yam which increased by over 30 per cent over a month ago, last week fell marginally by about two per cent.

 

 

They, however, expressed hope that the price will continue to fall in the weeks ahead as the new yam has started to arrive at Mile 12 market and other markets around Lagos State.

 

 

 

Also, the said that the price of beans which decreased in April, has remained stable at N150 a derica cup this week.

 

According to them, fresh tomatoes has remained very scarce in the markets in Lagos State, leaving them with the poor quality local specie or Tin Tomatoes as supplement for the rich and qualitative specie that comes from the northern part of the country.

 

They also stated that they have been recording stability in the prices of other foodstuffs.

 

The consumers, who spoke at Ikotun-Egbe, Ojo-Alaba, Suru-Alaba, Orile, Iyana Ipaja, Oyingbo and Ketu markets, said though they have been recording low sales since even with fall in the price of beans.

 

At Ikotun Market, Mrs. Chiamaka Udoka, a housewife, who was at the market to buy foodstuffs for her family, said: “The price of yam is going up with speed, but it is normal because we are already in the rainy season and the new yam will soon be out. However, one good thing that has happened is that price of beans is stable, having fallen down to N150 per derica cup.

 

“The good news is that the prices of most other foodstuffs in the market, both the imported and the ones produced locally; have remained stable for over two months now.

 

“Despite that, I can tell you that things are getting difficult meeting the family need as our disposable income has become very small. Infact, our husband’s take home pay can no longer take us home.”

 

Similarly, a trader, Iya Modinatu, spoken to at Iyana Ipaja market said customers were not coming forward to buy as expected.

 

She believed that people no longer have enough money to spend. She said she is praying that the economy will get better again so that Nigerians will start to live a normal life.”I believe things will start getting better,” she adds.

 

At Ketu market, traders said though the price of yam is rising, it is not affecting the prices of other foodstuffs and other household items in the market. They are however yet to witness the kind of patronage they witness during the build-up to the February general elections.

 

Mr. John Chimezie, a dealer in rice and beans and other foodstuff in the market, said: “Sales is not good, there is low patronage. People are not buying. It seems Nigerians have not recovered from the 2016 economic recession. We hope the situation will change for the better soon as the elections are over now.”

 

Survey of the prices of goods at the Sabo market, Ikorodu (a Lagos suburb) earlier on Thursday, indicate that the price of rice and beans has remained unchanged; this is even as customers spoken to said they expect the prices down to the 2017 levels as the elections are over now.

 

According to Iya Muri, a trader at the Ikorodu market, the demand for rice and beans is high but the price though stable, is not yet attractive, “we are however expecting that the price of beans in particular, should be falling after the elections as the price of beans is normally low by this time of the year.

 

 

She said: “By this time of the year, the price of rice and beans crash, like early in 2017, and by the same period in 2018, the price was manageable and favourable to both the buyers and sellers. Mama Gold, one of the best premium rice sells from between N18000 for 50kg. The difference is too much for us the retailers and the buyers will always complain about the price before buying which is not good for the business. Customers are our only source of income. The same also goes for the local rice i.e Ofada Rice with a bag (25kg) sold from N10, 000 to N15, 000.”

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Customers to get prepaid meters, pay later –NERC

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Customers to get prepaid meters, pay later –NERC

T

he Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says electricity customers will be allowed to get prepaid meters and pay later.

 

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, Nathan Shatti, NERC’s Commissioner for Finance and Management Services, said customers will start enjoying the privilege from August.

 

He said customers can either pay upfront or in installments within a period of one to 10 years.

 

According to NERC, the one-phase prepaid meter will be available for N36, 992 and three-phase for N67, 055.

 

 

Shatti said the commission approved a total of 42 meter service providers in April under the meter asset providers (MAPs) scheme.

 

The regulator had issued permits to the firms to begin the rollout of new meters by May 1.

 

“Although the installations did not commence immediately across the country as anticipated, due to the need to finalise some documentations and also mobilise the supply of meters,” he said.

 

“I am happy to report that the installations of meters have now commenced across various DisCo franchise areas.

 

“Currently, we have asked or encouraged the MAPs to concentrate on the upfront payment for obvious reasons. The payment by instalment is scheduled to commence on August 1, 2019.”

 

Shatti said repayment for the cost of the meter services will be done monthly through metering service charge while vending.

 

“Discos have the responsibility to make the areas for meter deployment ready in line with MAP regulation and the planned roll-out,” he said.

 

“MAPs will then determine the type of meter the customer needs and the customer will decide how long (the period) he/she plans to pay for the metering services.

 

“After confirming the type of meter and period of repayment, the MAP will install meters across the whole area in an organised and systematic manner – no exception, all customers without meters in those areas must be metered by the MAP.”

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Price of imported rice drops in June

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Price of imported rice drops in June

T

he average price of one kilogramme (kg) of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased month-on-month in June, Sunday Telegraph market survey team have learned.

 

It was revealed that the price of rice decreased year-on-year by -0.40 per cent and decreased month-on-month by -0.70 per cent to N3590.90 in May from N361.38 in April.

 

Similarly, Sunday Telegraph learnt that the average price of one kg of yam tuber increased year-on-year by -2.07 per cent and month-on month by -30.71 per cent to N300.88 in June from N206.48 in May.

 

Also, it was learnt that the average price of one dozen of Agric eggs medium decreased year-on-year by -12.80 per cent and remained stable month-on-month at N459.80 in June.

 

In addition, it was learnt that the average price of piece of Agric eggs medium size (price of one) increased year-on-year by 1.73 per cent and decrease month-on-month by -0.74 per cent to N42.91 in June from N42.23 in May.

 

Sunday Telegraph further learnt that the average price of one kg of tomato decreased year-on-year by -10.03 per cent and increased month-on-month by 50.11 per cent to N400.29 in April from N250.50 in May.

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Average price of cooking gas decreased in June

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Average price of cooking gas decreased in June

T

he National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says the average price for refilling of a five-kilogramme (kg) cylinder of cooking gas decreased to N1, 995.38 in June from N2, 028.04 in May.

 

The bureau stated this in its “Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking Gas) Price Watch’’ for June, obtained from its website at the weekend.

 

The NBS said the price of refilling a five kg cylinder of cooking gas dropped by 1.6 per cent month-on-month and -1.94 per cent year-on-year in the period under review.

 

According to the report, the states with the highest average price for the refilling of a five kg cylinder of cooking gas are Adamawa with N2,485, Bauchi N2,450 and Borno N2,407.

 

It also said that states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a five kg cylinder of cooking gas were Ebonyi N1,732.50, Enugu N1,702.86 and Abuja N1,700.

 

“Similarly, average price for the refilling of a 12.5 kg cylinder of cooking gas increased by 0.13 per cent month-on-month and decreased by 1.24 per cent year-on-year to N4, 226.04 in June and N4, 220.44 in May.

 

“The states with the highest average price for the refilling of a 12.5 kg cylinder of cooking gas were Bayelsa with N4,654.55, Akwa Ibom N4,640 and Enugu N4,563.85.”

 

The NBS added that the states with the lowest average price for the refilling of a 12.5 kg cylinder of cooking gas were Katsina N3,900, Ekiti N3,870.41 and Kano N3,775.

 

It said the various prices were collected across the 774 local government areas in the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), from more than 10,000 respondents.

 

The NBS said its audit team subsequently conducted randomly selected verification of prices recorded.

 

It also said that selected food price watch data for June 2019 reflected that the average price of 1 dozen of Agric eggs medium size decreased year-on-year by -8.23 per cent and increased month-on month by 6.55 per cent to N495.32 in June 2019 from N464.87 in May 2019 while the average price of piece of Agric eggs medium size (price of one) decreased year-on-year by -5.01 per cent and month-on-month by -8.20 per cent to N39.30 in June 2019 from N42.82 in May 2019.

 

The average price of 1kg of tomato decreased year-on-year by -28.84 per cent and month-on-month by -9.40 per cent to N226.07 in June 2019 from N249.52 in May 2019.

 

The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased year-on-year by -5.53 per cent and month-on-month by -2.37 per cent to N352.82 in June 2019 from N361.39 in May 2019.

 

 

Similarly, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber decreased year-on-year by -36.27 per cent and month-on month by -15.68 per cent to N182.15 in June 2019 from N216.03 in May 2019.

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AfCFTA: Nigeria on suicidal mission –NAGAFF

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AfCFTA: Nigeria on suicidal mission –NAGAFF

 

 

T

he National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has described Nigeria’s recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement as suicidal for the economy.

 

Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam in a statement, said the African free trade deal would be an economic danger to Nigeria that would further expose Nigeria to the danger of dumping substandard, fake and life endangering products in the country.

 

Aniebonam said: “It is unthinkable to note that we signed into this agreement without ensuring that Nigerian made products can compete effectively with other manufacturers outside the country.

 

He noted that the country could benefit from the trade agreement, but averred that the government must take proactive measure to adequate quality assurance and standards in her products.

 

“In other words, for Nigeria must benefit from AfCFTA we must ensure that the National Metrology Institute (NMI) is made to be adequately functional and proactive to quality assurance and standards.

 

“And for us in NAGAFF we have to continue to advise the government through our public policy advocacy, the need for government to pay greater attention to the informal sector groups than the present position wherein the government has continued with uncommon support for the organised private sector with their bogus and unverifiable economic inputs to the ailing economy.

 

Aniebonam recalled that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) left Nigerian economy badly bruised, due to the dumping of repackaged products originally manufactured outside Africa to Nigeria.

 

“At this juncture, it has become pertinent to take a flash back into history, especially the ETLS scheme, which eventually, left Nigeria and its economy badly bruised.  Nigeria has a large market no doubt.

 

“It ended up serving as a dumping ground for products from other African countries which may have repackaged the products originally manufactured outside Africa.

“Let us take coffee as an example.

 

 

Coffee is primarily produced in France, but may have been imported into countries like Cote D’ Ivoire, but repackaged and re-labelled as being produced in Cote D’ Ivoire and exported to Nigeria enjoying zero tariff under ETLS.

 

“Our fear is that this might be the fate of Nigeria as other African countries, that depend solely on imports from Europe and other parts of the world, will import such products into their countries, only to repackage and re-label them and again export them to Nigeria, paying little or no tariff under the  AfCFTA,” he added.

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LandWey partners finance firm to ease land ownership

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oremost real estate company in Nigeria, Landwey Investment, has collaborated with PiggyVest, an online savings and investment platform, to make premium landed property affordable for more Nigerians especially low and middle income earners.

 

According to the partnership, interested buyers can purchase land in square metres according to the amount they can afford per time.

 

 

Addressing newsmen recently in Lagos, the Managing Director of Landwey Investment, Olawale Ayilara, said the arrangement will create entry opportunity for Nigerians within low and medium-income brackets to actualise their dreams of premium land ownership through a seamless process.

 

 

He said: “The purpose of the partnership bears in mind that people save for several reasons; and on a trusted platform such as Piggyvest, people can take little steps and buy real estate as either an investment or to be built in future.

“Land and home ownership is a dream most Nigerians share, but the low ownership rate in Nigeria is a major housing deficit to be bridged.

 

 

“Our partnership is to give people affordable land investment by buying in square metres. This is an avenue for people to have a land in their preferred area without collecting loans from the bank but from the little they save. We have about 12 estates in Lagos but the one we are collaborating to work on is Frontier Estate.

 

 

“For an average Nigerian who wants to live an urban life, he needs to take little steps to make the dream a reality. You can even buy 20,000 square metres and sell it later at a higher price. The more you delay in real estate, the more the value increases.”

 

 

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of PiggyVest, Somto Ifezue, said that the collaboration was necessary to ensure that every young Nigerian could own a piece of land as little as one square metre with a very small amount of money.

 

 

“By the means of a saving scheme with PiggyVest, subscribers can begin their journey to land ownership by making per square metre payments for their land and getting full allocation after payments worth a minimum of 300 square metres. We are truly excited about the relief that this scheme will bring to Nigerians,” he stated.

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Daimler plans to drop Mercedes X-class pickup amid profit slump

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The Mercedes-Benz X-class pickup is to be dropped as the brand’s parent company, Daimler, seeks to reduce costs amid profit warnings, according to sources at the automaker.

 

 

Mercedes launched the model in 2017, aiming to give its light commercial vehicles division a more diversified sales footprint by entering the booming global segment of midsize pickups.

 

 

But only 16,700 units of the X class were sold last year in Europe, Australia and South Africa. The U.S., where demand is mainly for full-size pickups, was ruled out as a market.

 

 

Right from the start, the X class was unable to live up to expectations. Its price, starting at 37,294 euros in Germany, was too high. Competition is fierce in its segment, in which VW Amarok and Ford Ranger also compete.

 

Several recalls also hit sales, among other things because of a footwell light that can come loose and jam under the brake pedal.

 

As part of Daimler’s industrial cooperation with Renault-Nissan, the X class uses the same platform as the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan with a conventional ladder-type frame. It is built at Nissan’s factory in Barcelona, Spain.

 

In February, former Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche abandoned plans to build the pickup for South American markets at a Renault-Nissan plant in Argentina.

 

 

Earlier this month, Daimler cut its profit forecast for the fourth time in 13 months, as it set aside more money to cover a regulatory crackdown on diesel emissions and vehicle recalls related to Takata airbags.

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Hyundai unveils first CVVD engine

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Hyundai Motor Group has developed the world’s first Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology to feature in future Hyundai vehicles.

 

CVVD optimises both engine performance and fuel efficiency while also being eco-friendly. The valve control technology regulates the duration of valve opening and closing according to driving conditions, achieving a four percent boost in performance and a five percent improvement in fuel efficiency. Furthermore, technology cuts emissions by 12 percent.

 

The innovation was revealed at Hyundai Motorstudio Goyang on Wednesday alongside the Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi the first engine to feature the technology.

 

President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group, Albert Biermann, said the development of the CVVD technology is an opportunity for the Group to take the lead in power train innovation.

 

“We will continue our innovation efforts to bring forth paradigm shifts and ensure the sustainability of our business model.”

 

Until now, an internal combustion engine’s performance and efficiency have been governed by variable valve control technology that adjusts the timing of valve opening and closing and depth of the valve’s opening, with engine power produced through the fuel intake-compression-expansion-exhaustion cycle.

 

Typical variable valve control technologies manage the timing of the valve’s opening and closing (as in Continuously Variable Valve Timing – CVVT) or control the volume of air admitted by adjusting the depth of the opening (Continuously Variable Valve Lift – CVVL). Previous variable valve control technologies could not regulate valve duration, as the valve’s closing timing was subordinate to opening timing and could not respond to diverse driving situations. CVVD takes the technology in a new direction by adjusting how long a valve is open.

 

When the vehicle is maintaining a constant speed and requires low engine output, CVVD opens the intake valve from the middle to end of the compression stroke. This helps to improve fuel efficiency by reducing the resistance caused by compression. On the other hand, when engine output is high, such as when the car is driving at a high speed, the intake valve is closed at the beginning of the compression stroke to maximize the amount of air used for the explosion, enhancing torque to improve acceleration.

 

Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi Engine

 

Unveiled alongside the new CVVD technology is the new Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi Engine, a V4 gasoline turbo unit with 180 horsepower and 27.0kgm of torque. The new powertrain is the first to utilize the Group’s new CVVD technology and also features Low-Pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation (LP EGR) to further optimize fuel efficiency.

 

The exhaust gas recirculation system returns some of the gas burnt by the engine to the combustion chamber, producing a cooling effect and reducing the emission of nitrogen oxides. The G1.6 T-GDi also features a low-pressure system that redirects the burnt emission gas to the front of the turbocharger compressor, rather than the intake system, to increase efficiency under the high load condition.

 

Additionally, the new unit has an Integrated Thermal Management System that quickly heats or cools the engine to an optimal temperature, and a strong direct spray system that achieves 350bar, surpassing the 250bar of the previous T-GDi engine. In addition, engine friction is reduced by 34% with the application of low friction moving parts.

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Renault/Coscharis opens assemble plant in Lagos

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•Rolls out Logan, Duster in October

 

The Chairman of Groupe Renault, Fabrice Cambolive has disclosed that production of the Renault Logan and Duster would commenced at the Renault/Coscharis Assembly Plant in Awiyaya, Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area, Lagos State.

 

 

Speaking at the official opening of the new Renault plan and unveiling of a new Renault/Coscharis partnership for the production and distribution of Renault brands in Nigeria, Mr. Cambolive said that Renault will offer the Nigerian clients a unique, original range that is perfectly adapted to the conditions of use of the country.

 

He added that Renault has an offer that meets the expectations of the new African middle class in terms of attractivity, durability and equipment such as connectivity.

 

 

According to him, Renault has a strong presence in North- Africa where it produces more than 500 000 vehicles in three plants and where we have an export capacity to the whole continent.

 

 

He added that with a population of over 200 million, Nigeria is a strategic African country where Groupe Renault will extend its footprint.” The Coscharis Group is a recognized player in car assembly and distribution.  Thanks to their expertise and our products adapted to the local needs, we will be able to answer immediately to the customers’ demand in Nigeria.”

 

 

Speaking earlier, Chairman of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka said:”This partnership is to showcase another initiative from our great organisation through one of our subsidiaries, Coscharis Motors Plc, to create value as a key player in the automobile industry in Nigeria. We are indeed glad to celebrate the confidence the renowned brand, Renault reposed in us to represent them in Nigeria. This milestone marks another step in the evolution of the company towards remaining timeless in its relevance.”

 

 

According to him, the company had few years ago, showed courage by investing huge sums of money in setting up a world class ultra – modern assembly plant in the country to demonstrate confidence reposed in the future of the country and its faith in the possibilities inherent in the automotive policy of  the Federal Government of Nigeria. “That bold step, among other landmark achievements in the Nigerian automotive industry, has endeared us to many forward looking global organisations and this partnership with Groupe Renault is just one of the manifestations of this.

 

 

“It is our cardinal objective at Coscharis to always strive to delight our esteemed customers and prospects by providing them with goods and services that deliver value for their money. This partnership is a further demonstration of that objective, especially towards providing them a bouquet of more options that continually delivers value for money. We are committed to broadening our dealership scope when such opportunity as this happens, since it is a strategic opportunity to deliver capable, refined and cost-effective vehicle models to our numerous loyal customers and prospects alike,” he said.

 

 

Dr Maduka said with the official announcement of this partnership, Coscharis shall be offering four variants of the Renault brand into the Nigerian market in the first instance. Two of the variants, Logan and Duster, will be assembled locally in the plant in SKD (Semi – Knocked Down).

 

 

“As time goes on, both the Renault Kwid and Renault Oroch will be added to the Renault line,” he said.

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