Chief Executive Officer, Oilserv Limited and pioneer member, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Engr. Emeka Okwuosa, speaks on life-threatening challenges confronting indigenous oil firms in Nigeria, including impediments to critical investments in energy sphere in this interview with Adeola Yusuf. Excerpts
Have the Nigerian companies adopted the use of technology/robotics for oil, gas operations?
We are already incorporating technology in our operations. Many years ago, you could not find any Nigerian company doing horizontal directional drilling. You would have had to go abroad for people to come and do it. We have deployed that. We have been able to cross rivers with 48-inch pipeline, which would mean drilling and opening the line to 64-inch, which is a major challenge because it collapses a lot. We are encouraging technology a lot.
For robotics, anything is possible but what we should be asking ourselves is how do we put that side by side with the Nigerian initiative and benefits. If you take robotics totally the way you have seen it by displaying human capital, what happens to our economy? I won’t say it is not in our own interest to deploy that, and I won’t say you can stop that. You can’t stop a moving train, you would have to realise that over time, that may become the norm but what do you do? You start to train people to develop such, you start to train people because somebody has to manage that. You will create a different skill to be able to drive that but you cannot completely take out the human interface.
What are the significances of the AKK project?
AKK is Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano pipeline, which is a 614km-long natural gas pipeline project. AKK is a very unique project, not just what it would achieve, which is to be able to move gas to the northern part of Nigeria and create availability of energy to drive industries and create job opportunities.
North does not have energy, but if unemployment continues and security problem continues, everybody will suffer without gas in that axis.
Secondly, AKK is significant because it is the first time a project of that magnitude is being done as EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) and Finance. It is not like the previous projects where NNPC and other International Oil Company (IOCs) award you a project and pay for it and you go ahead and execute and collect your money. We are providing the money and to provide such amount of money, the total value of that project, including two lots, is about $2.8 billion. This is not the kind of money you raise in Nigeria, you have to go and raise that capital offshore. And for you to raise it, you need security. That security instrument is a process and part of it requires the Federal Government to guarantee it.
For instance, if you are backing up the financing with the tariff you will charge from that pipeline, don’t forget that most of that tariff, for example, will be in naira. A financier who is overseas doesn’t know what you are talking about in naira. So you have to provide an instrument of convertibility that has to come from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guarantying that every collection in naira will be immediately converted to dollars. That’s a typical instrument and these things take time to get through government agencies.
So, we are going through that process and we are almost there. We have almost finalized the security and we have also started with the preliminary works. As we speak, the AKK project has started, that is the point I’m making.
What are the impacts of insecurity on AKK project?
We are Nigerians, if there is kidnapping, we will deal with it. You are not going to stop developing Nigeria because there is kidnapping. In construction, we are tested and we are knowledgeable. We worked 100 per cent between 2002 to 2007 when kidnapping was the norm in the Niger Delta. Oilserv remained there. We worked in the swamps, maintained all the pipelines, so there are ways to do that. We are Nigerians, we work in Nigeria and we must create capacity in Nigeria. That is not going to be an impediment at all. It is a concern, but we have procedures to deal with that.
How are the indigenous companies faring in deep-water operations?
We are already operating in that terrain in reality. When you say deep-water operation, you look at it from two different points of views. Are you looking at Exploration and Production (E&P), which is ownership or are you looking at services. I will talk from a service point of view. Nigerian companies participated in the service aspect for Bonga, Akpo, Usan. All these deep-water projects had Nigerians service providers’ input.
There are two key issues with participation in deep-water arena. It is about technology and capital. Both will take time normally to scale up. Nigerians are participating but we are only scathing the surface for now. There is still more opportunity for participation.
Now, how do we increase that? We need to assemble capacity and integrate that capacity by working together in order to have synergy and be able to deal with bigger scope projects. But we are in the integration of FPSO (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading, which is the configuration of topside modules.
Nigerians are in drilling, pipelines and flow-risers. We are doing a lot but it is very competitive and capital intensive and we have to slowly build it up as soon as we can because we have proven capacity but we need to do more because there is so much out there.
It is instructive to add that we have been adding value but not at the level we desire. So the way we can achieve this is by collaborating and synergizing between structured entities such as PETAN. By collaborating, PETAN members will be able to handle bigger projects and compete favorably with international service providers.
The lack of collaboration among service providers is a Nigerian factor. Everyone wants to do things in his own way and it is not the best way to go.
What is the update on Obiafu-Obrikom -Oben (OB3) project?
Let’s put Obiafu-Obrikom -Oben (OB3) in proper perspective. No pipeline has been built in Nigeria of that size or capacity. You may recollect that in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, we had the likes of Wilbros and others but no Nigerian player was present in the pipeline industry. Look at all our pipeline infrastructure today, nowhere has 48-inch pipeline been built. It is not about the gas pipeline alone, we have the Gas Treatment Plant (GTP) at Oben, which is part of our scope. This is a GTP that is handling two billion standard cubic feet of gas per day (2bscf/d). This has never existed anywhere in Africa. When we talk about OB3, it is not just about building a pipeline.
Don’t forget that, there are two lots for our own section. We are building LOT B that will take the gas from mid-point all the way to Oben plant plus the Oben plant itself. Now, our pipeline was finished three years ago, but the treatment plant took a longer time because the location was changed from Oben North to the GTP location and it took us two years to go through the re-engineering process including getting the necessary approval.
But the story is clear, the pipeline and the GTP are going through pre-commissioning now for our own section. By September, our own lot would have been completed. That much I can only speak for Oilserv.
Would LOT B operate in isolation?
To some extent, no. But it depends on how the owner of the pipeline wants to use it. One thing you have to understand about the technicality is that we have a pipeline going to GTP Oben but we have another 36-inch line we built from Oben GTP to ELPS, which is Oben North that is a by-directional pipeline. This means you can take gas from the GTP in Oben into ELPS or take from ELPS into GTP. So the answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘No”.
Again, you can take gas from ELPS into Oben and Ajaokuta when we commission it. But the other section cannot be completed except Lot A finishes – to be able to evacuate gas all the way from Obiafor into Oben.
What gives your company an edge among your peers in terms of pipeline technology for the AKK project? Why Oilserv?
Oilserv is not about singing our praises. It is about the fact. Oilserv was set up on a sound basis and principle. That’s the basis of a sound knowledge of engineering and a clear plan to grow technology and grow the company organically. When we started in 1995, it was a very small company. It was only myself and one other employee and we are slowly building it up. Now, we built it up by re-investing whatever money we made and acquiring the latest technology. It’s not just about technology acquisition but also by knowing the principles of these technologies.
By my background, I am a cerebral engineer and I worked in 12 different countries before I came back to Nigeria. I was principally focused on developing engineering capacity.
Along the line, we moved on to look at the best way of achieving the engineering, procurement, and construction, EPC, work we have. We later introduced the welding works. Welding is at the core of pipeline construction and the major threat in welding is the fact that using traditional welding system. which is the manual welding system will involve welders association.
Some of them are not there to work but to create problems and you can’t control the quality of output too. We moved on to develop automatic and semi-automatic welding system where it is more like being in a production line in a factory. We trained our own staff and they became the welders. Because it is not manual welding but automatic, we are not bound by certain rules of the welder association.
With this, we are able to do as much as 25 joints a day. Manual welding can’t do more than six joints a day. That’s how we sped up. The other technology is our Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) technology system. You may realize that in building pipelines, you cross rivers, creeks and all kinds of barriers. If it is water, you will dredge it, drop the pipeline and cover it up. But by doing that, you disturb the water system, damage the environment and you may muddle the water. If you don’t restate it very well, you create an additional problem down the road, which can be the erosion of the water bed.
We developed a system where we can drill from one bank to the other without touching the bed of the river. In crossing roads, in the old day, we have to cut the road and imagine cutting an eight-lane road. Today, we do cross-boring system by going from one end to the other without disturbing vehicular movement on the road.
These gave us an advantage over others. We train students and graduates and we invest in human resources. We won the AKK because it was through a bidding process and we came out best. We are the only company in Nigeria today that can deliver such a project, the rest can’t. We are the first indigenous firm to graduate from being a construction firm to full EPC company.
To be a full EPC company is expensive. It requires investment and dedication. If you look at AKK, you will realize that we got the first section, which is the most important. If you don’t get the first section right, you don’t have a pipeline.
The AKK project is Oilserv/Oando consortium, what’s the role of Oando in the project because it is not an engineering firm?
You have to fully understand that this project is not just an EPC project but it’s a contractor-financed project. You go into a consortium for a particular reason. Oando is a partner to Oilserv, while Oilserv is the principal EPC Company.
I am talking from the view of EPC, Oando does not build pipelines. We are in a consortium because it’s contractor-financed and it gives us more leverage. Oando has always had concessions from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), to develop, for example, the gas pipeline system in Lagos, through their company called Gaslink. We also like to support smaller projects, which would in time grow into bigger, more reputable and more sustainable entities.
FrieslandCampina WAMCO, others to commence local production of milk
s an official partner of the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League season, Kia Motors Corporation has kicked off a series of inspiring and enthralling marketing activities with the aim of vivifying fan engagement throughout Europe and around the world.
Under the slogan “Empowering Fans,” Kia, in collaboration with the UEFA Foundation for Children, runs the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour Driven by Kia, a continent-wide event offering fans chances to see the iconic trophy up close and meet legends of the game. As part of the tour, fans are encouraged at each stop of the journey across Europe to donate unwanted football boots, which are collected, cleaned and sent to children at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan.
Alongside the trophy tour, Kia runs its exclusive youth program, “Official Match Ball Carrier,” designed to provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to Europe’s budding football aspirants from eight to 12-year-olds to participate in pre-match ceremonies before each of the 205 matches being played during this season. The program gives the young hopefuls the honor of commencing a match by stepping onto the field joining hands of the referee, match officials and players, while holding the Official Match Ball.
“We are thrilled to help usher in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League season, and our global and local marketing initiatives will not only empower football fans to take center stage throughout the season, but also enhance the Kia brand itself to create more intimate connections with football fans all around the world,” said Artur Martins, the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Kia Motors.
The world’s largest professional football club competition, the UEFA Europa League (UEL), kicked off the group stage of the 2019/20 season today with 24 matches being contested throughout Europe. Fifty six clubs from over 25 European countries will play a total of 205 matches over the next nine months, including those between the 32 surviving teams in the knockout stage.
The UEFA Europa League Final will take place in Gdansk, Poland, on May 27 2020, with prominent clubs such as the Manchester United, AS Roma, Sevilla FC and PSV Eindhoven embarking on their journeys toward the final. The winner of the 2019/20 season will follow in the steps of Chelsea FC, the crowned club of the 2018/19 season following its victory over Arsenal FC in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Another marketing initiative exclusively organized and sponsored by Kia is online game UEL Fantasy 5 Driven by Kia (www.uefa.com). Also available as a UEFA Europa League official mobile app, the game allows fans to predict various match statistics, such as the best performing players on each match day, scores and assists, for accumulating points, which are then converted into prizes.
Furthermore, a slew of programs for winning match tickets are conducted both online and at select local Kia dealerships in Europe during the 2019/2020 season.
Prices of tomatoes, yam crash at Mile 12 Market
he price of fresh tomatoes and yam has continued to fall in Mile 12 Market in recent times, traders told Sunday Telegraph on Thursday.
The traders attributed the fall in the price of fresh tomatoes to importation of the produce from Ghana and Cameroon and other neighbouring countries.
A trader in the market, Mr. Suraju Muhamed who is a fresh tomato dealer, said that they import tomato from Ghana, Cameroon, even as they also source the produce from Kano and Oyo state.
He said for the Ghana verity of tomato, “we have the long one which goes for N6,500 or N7,000 for one basket while the bigger size of it goes for N12,000 per basket. Two basket of Ghana tomatoes is one basket of Kano tomatoes and a basket of Kano tomatoes goes for N15, 000, N14, 000 and N13,000 respectively.”
He said these prices are low compared to they were about two months ago when they were selling at N20, 000, N22, 000 and N25, 000 respectively.
According to him, for those who cannot afford to buy the ones of bigger amount, they also have the ones they sell N3, 000 or N3, 500 per basket. He stated that the reason for the reduction in the price was because of increased supply unlike two months ago when it was coming from Kano State only.
The current market price of oil according to Ayubah Muhamed who is a dealer in Vegetable oil and Palm oil in Mile 12 Market, said they sell 30 liters of Vegetable oil at N11, 000. He also said that 10 liters of vegetable oil is sold at N5, 200, 5 liters N2, 000 while two and half liters goes for N1000. He said five liters of Palm oil sells at N1, 800 while the one liter was selling at N350.
Mr. Samuel Ibrahim who is a whole seller on yam in Mile 12 talked about the prices of tow verities of yams he had in stock, the first one was ‘Efu’ yam while the second one was ‘Mumuye’ yam. According to him, Efu yam sold at the rate of N35, 000 N45, 000 and N50, 000 respectively for 100 pieces depending on the size of the yam while Mumuye yam goes for N33, 000, N45, 000 and N50, 000 respectively and the price is determined by the size. One yam sold at the rate of N330, N450, and N500.
Meanwhile, the price of Onions in the market, according to Muhammed Ishmila, sold at N17, 000 per 100kg, for old onions while the new onions were selling at the rate of N11, 000.
Speaking with Mr. Emeka Nwigbo who is a beans dealer in the market said that the price of beans increased a little this week as 50kg of beans is now sold at N21, 000 instead of 20,000. He said that the price increase because of the recent scarcity of beans in the market.
Kebbi most expensive state to buy food in Nigeria –Report
ata released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently indicated that Kebbi State was the costliest state in Nigeria to have a meal in August 2019.
The bureau noted that figures for the month under review did not account for the effect of the border closure, as it happened 11 days to the end of the period.
“In August 2019, food inflation on a year on year basis was highest in Kebbi (17.20 per cent), Kano (16.08 per cent) and Adamawa (15.95 per cent), while Bayelsa (10.22 per cent), Katsina (9.64 per cent) and Kogi (8.97 per cent) recorded the slowest rise,” the report stated. Overall, Kebbi state was also the most expensive part of the country, as the cost of goods and services increased by 14.97 percent.
“In August 2019, all items inflation on year on year basis was highest in Kebbi (14.97 per cent), Kano (13.24 per cent) and Bauchi (13.00 per cent), while Cross River (8.97 per cent), Delta (8.63 per cent) and Kwara (8.32 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in headline Year on Year inflation,” the report observed. All across the country, the rate at which the price of goods and services rose, reduced by six base points from 11.08 per cent in July to 11.02 per cent in August,” it said.
The NBS report added, “This was influenced by the reduction in the percentage increase of edibles, which soared by 13.17 percent in August as against 13.39 per cent in July. In August, it was only the rate of increase in the price of goods and services in urban areas that increased, when compared with July.
“The urban inflation rate increased by 11.48 per cent (year-on-year) in August 2019 from 11.43 per cent recorded in July 2019, while the rural inflation rate increased by 10.61 per cent in August 2019 from 10.64 per cent in July 2019.”
CBN: Deposit charge only on excess limit
he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the charges on deposit and withdrawal on the savings account will be carried out on the excess of the limit it has set.
Nigerians have been enraged over the 2 per cent charges on savings account or withdrawal or deposit above N500, 000.
The Lekki Forum of the Nigerian Bar Association condemned the new policy, describing it as evil and obnoxious.
Reacting to the criticism that has trailed the new policy, CBN said the charges will only apply on the excess of N500, 000.
“The Cash-less Policy deposit/withdrawal charge is only on the amount in excess of the limit. For instance, if you deposit cash of N501, 000.00, N1, 000.00 is in excess of the limit. The bank will charge you 2 per cent of N1, 000.00 which is N20.00,” the apex bank said.
CBN also directed the strict implementation of merchant service charge, which would impose more charges on all point of sale (PoS) transactions.
WISTA takes campaign for women in maritime to Anambra
omen’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) has donated a speedboat and some fishing accessories to the women of Omabala Na Esu Fishers Association of Aguleri, in Anambra State. President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Mary Madu Hamman, said the donations were part of the organisation’s drive to inspire more women participation in the maritime industry.
Hamman said she was in Aguleri with her team of WISTA officials to lend a hand in growing the trade of the fisher folks and encourage them to tap into the vast opportunities in the maritime industry.
She said: “Nigeria is concerned about the women in Aguleri community who are known for fishing and marketing. WISTA is proud to associate with them and also help them grow their business activities.
“The maritime sector has a lot of opportunities yet to be tapped into by women.”
She stressed the need for women in Aguleri community to send their daughters to school and also encouraged them to study courses relevant to the maritime industry so that they could tap into the resources in the maritime industry.
The WISTA Nigeria president, who is also Assistant Director, Shipping Promotion, at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), commended the Agency’s efforts, under the Dr. Dakuku Peterside-led management, to support women in the maritime industry.
“NIMASA has been a huge support and dependable ally for WISTA and women in the maritime industry generally,” he said.
She announced that WISTA Nigeria would soon be in Enugu State for a similar exercise.
The First Lady of Anambra State, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, who received the items on behalf of the women, expressed gratitude to WISTA for the philanthropic gesture.
Nigeria leading Africa’s sustainable ocean governance initiative
In this report, PAUL OGBUOKIRI enumerates how the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is leading the new African effort for a sustainable ocean governance to grow the economy of the continent
Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy
Over 80 per cent of today’s international goods are transported in vessels and over 90 per cent of Africa’s imports and exports are conducted by sea. Over the past four decades, the volume of global sea-borne trade has more than quadrupled. Ninety per cent of world trade and two-thirds of energy supplies are carried by sea. The world’s oceans and seas are interlinked, and action in one sea or one policy area with a direct or indirect impact on the sea may have positive or negative effects on other seas and policy areas. Whilst over 46 per cent of Africans live in absolute poverty- a figure that is still rising- fish makes a vital contribution to the food and nutritional security of over 200 million Africans and provides income for over 10 million.
The coastal and marine ecosystems play a significant role in mitigating the impacts of climate change as they could serve as carbon sinks. The paradox is that the marine and coastal areas in Africa are among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change in the world, mainly attributed to the low adaptive capacity in the continent. These negative effects have also been compounded by human carelessness and pollution as shown by the un-understandable pollution of African waters by human wastefulness as shown by the dumping of plastic in African water ways these have devastating consequences on marine life.
Maritime security is also one of the most significant dimensions of global and human security in general. It poses multidimensional threats to global security, and in turn has major effects on such essential issues as food, energy and economic security. For the last decade, Africa has been the epicentre of international maritime insecurity. Piracy and armed robbery at sea has re-emerged in the modern era off the east and west coasts of Africa alike, this has caused enormous human and financial damage. But we have also seen other breaches of maritime security on the rise in Africa’s seas: illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, toxic waste dumping, and human, weapons and narcotics trafficking.
Thus for Africa, the sustainable management of coastal and marine environments and resources is of utmost priority. The promotion of sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in Africa will significantly enhance food security, ensure constant economic growth and improve the quality of lives of the people in the coastal communities.
After years of struggling with these geostrategic challenges and opportunities, in 2012 at ministerial level, the African Union (AU) adopted the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy. The overarching vision of the 2050 AIM-Strategy is to “foster increased wealth creation from Africa’s oceans and seas by developing the blue economy in a secure and environmentally sustainable manner.
The strategy includes a framework for action on, inter alia: fisheries and aquaculture; environmental and biodiversity monitoring; marine tourism; disaster risk management (DRM); handling and shipment of hazardous materials and dangerous goods; maritime governance; flag state and port state control; and illegal activities, including money laundering, piracy, maritime terrorism and human trafficking and smuggling by sea.
Africa a ‘sea blind’ continent
To ensure that Nigeria takes the leading role in the growing effort to make effective use of the oceans and seas resources, NIMASA has since 2017 put plans in place to work with stakeholders in the maritime sector to make the blue economy Nigeria’s economic mainstay.
Addressing the theme for that year, ‘Harnessing African Maritime potentials for sustainable development’, Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said: “It is a well-known fact that Africa’s seas and oceans are usually overlooked when it comes to issues of sustainable development in Africa, to the extent that Africa is considered to be sea blind because there is low level awareness of the potentials for wealth creation which abounds in the seas and oceans. This event therefore, tends to show that our eyes are gradually being opened to the reality that our seas and oceans possess huge source of economic resources that can take the continent to the next level.”
He said decade of Africa’s Seas and Oceans declared by the African Union (AU) from 2015-2025 should be perceived as a shift in perspective that recognizes the fact that our oceans and seas are economic infrastructure, necessitating the need for stakeholders in the sector to work together to realize the opportunities embedded in the sector.
Dakuku said that NIMASA has considered it necessary to continue championing the awareness on Africa Integrated Maritime-Strategy and the Blue Economy through the Day of the seas and oceans and other sensitization programmes the Agency will still embark upon.
He said: “The desire of the government is to ensure cleaner oceans and to eliminate sea piracy, armed robbery and all forms of illegalities within Nigeria’s maritime space which is in line with the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS).”
He said: The implementation of the strategy will also assist with, establishing a Combined Exclusive Maritime Zone for Africa (CEMZA); enhancing wealth creation through building our countries’ maritime-centric capacity and capability; ensuring security and safety in the African Maritime Domain; minimising environmental damage, and preventing hostile and criminal acts at sea, and prosecute offenders if necessary; Protecting the populations, Africa’s Maritime Domain (AMD) heritage and infrastructure in the African Maritime Domain; promoting and protecting the interests of African shippers; enhancing Africa’s competitiveness in international trade; improving and facilitating intra-African trade as well as transit transport in landly connected countries. You would recall that as affirmed in the 2050 AIM-Strategy, there is no more ‘landlocked country’ in Africa, but all AU member states are ‘landly connected’ to the seas and oceans.”
Recall that Dakuku, while addressing participants at the 2017 edition said: “The desire of the government is to ensure cleaner oceans and to eliminate sea piracy, armed robbery and all forms of illegalities within Nigeria’s maritime space which is in line with the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS)”.
He further observed: “Our seas and oceans are our heritage and we must do all we can to protect it; pointing out that NIMASA will continue to work together with all relevant government agencies to ensure that our maritime sector is safe, clean and secured in order to continue to attract both local and foreign investors.”
Also speaking at the event was Professor Charles Ukeje, who delivered a paper titled; “Securing the African Marine Environment for Sustainable Development,” and noted that harnessing and sustainable use of our oceans and seas are the key to unlocking prosperity for the economy, but that this cannot be done by NIMASA alone, but by effective planning which must cut across public and private sectors of the economy on a long term basis, including a well trained personnel.
Dr. Magnus Chidi Onuoha who also spoke on the theme: “Harnessing Resources from Seas and Oceans for the African Youth Empowerment” identified people, prosperity and the planet as the key to sustainable development of the maritime sector in Africa and said that the marine environment is key to our survival.
Other speakers at the event, led by the Chairman of the session, Mr. Norrsion Quakers, (SAN), unanimously called for collaborative and concerted efforts among stakeholder in actualizing a virile maritime sector.
The anti-piracy Act
After a long delay, President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed into law the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, 2019, in an unprecedented move billed to bring a dramatic improvement in security on the country’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.
The Presidential assent dated June 24, 2019 followed the passage of the bill by the Senate and House of Representatives on April 9, 2019 and April 30, 2019, respectively.
The bill passed by the Eighth National Assembly gives effect to the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982, and the International Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Navigation (SUA), 1988, and its Protocols.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had facilitated the drafting of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill in 2012, in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). It was in a bid to give further credence to the relevant international treaties of the United Nations (UN) and IMO ratified by Nigeria on maritime safety and security and provide a much-needed legal and institutional framework for the country – through its maritime security enforcement agencies: the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA – to ensure safe and secure shipping on Nigerian waters, and prosecute infractions.
Besides addressing maritime insecurity, the new law, very importantly, fulfills the international requirement for standalone legislation on piracy, as against the approach of using the Maritime Operations Coordinating Board Amendment Bill to criminalise piracy.
With the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act, Nigeria has officially become the first country in the West and Central African Sub-region to promulgate a separate law against piracy, an important international requirement set by the IMO as part of measures to guarantee secure global shipping.
Speaking after the Presidential assent, the Director-General of NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, described the move as a step in the right direction, saying, “It marks the dawn of a great moment for world maritime.”
Dakuku said: “This is not just a victory for NIMASA, but also for all the stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime community. We are determined to continue to deliver on our promise to investors and the international community to ensure an increasingly safer and more secure environment for profitable maritime business.
“And the new law at this very critical stage of our Blue Economy drive is certainly an elixir that will boost our capacity to harness the rich potential of our seas and oceans.”
Dakuku thanked the President for “his commitment and passion for measures that will guarantee safety and security on Nigerian waters.” He also appreciated the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their support. He assured that the agency will continue to work with relevant partners and organisations to achieve its aim of ridding the country’s waterways and exclusive economic zone of criminal activities.
Commitment to ocean governance The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, expressed Nigeria’s commitment to participate effectively in the shaping of International Ocean Governance in the United Nations.
Amaechi stated this in a message to the African Day of Seas and Oceans with the theme: “Maritime Governance for Sustainable Development’’.
This came as the Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administrations and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that Nigeria can achieve accelerated economic growth and development with regulated exploitation of her marine biodiversity.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the African Day of Seas and Ocean, Gbajabiamila said that efficient management of the nation’s marine resources will no doubt provide a veritable tool for the government’s Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP).
The Minister was represented by the Director of Maritime Safety and Security, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Danjuma Dauda.
Amaechi said the ministry was embarking on bilateral and other multilateral engagements with the coastal neighbouring countries to achieve an improved and sustainable enforced framework.
He said: “We are aligning ourselves fully with the African Union strategy on Blue Economy and Maritime Governance, as a tool for sustainable development.”
Also speaking President of Association of African Maritime Authorities (AAMA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, urged maritime stakeholders to key into 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
He said that oceans represented major assets to accelerate the development of Africa’s economics, adding that 90 per cent of imports and exports activities were conducted by sea.
“It has therefore become necessary for the African Continent to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Blue Economy.
“Oceans and seas are central to the concept of `Blue Economy in Africa’ and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has identified the Blue Economy as suitable in meeting sustainable development goals.
Mercedes-Benz records 14% sales growth
ith sales of 177,819 cars in August, Mercedes-Benz posted double-digit sales growth for the second time in succession (14 per cent). It also recorded double-digit sales growth in all three regions – Europe, Asia-Pacific and NAFTA – and in those regions’ core markets was achieved last month.
The continuing popularity of the compact cars had a positive impact on the development of unit sales. Deliveries of SUVs increased in August for the first time this year due to sales stimulus from the new models. Furthermore, worldwide deliveries increased once again last month of saloon cars of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class. Sales of 1,501,405 units in the first eight months of the year by the Stuttgart-based company with the three-pointed star are approaching the high prior-year level.
From January until August, Mercedes-Benz maintained its market leadership in the premium segment in markets including Germany, UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada and Republic of South Africa.
Mercedes-Benz unit sales by model
The model change for the compact cars also had a clear impact on sales in August: approximately 48,900 units of the A- and B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA were delivered last month. The main drivers of this growth besides the A-Class are above all the B-Class and the new CLA Coupé, deliveries of which more than doubled in Europe last month. In the first eight months of the year, approximately 417,000 compact cars were sold worldwide. The compact cars thus set records for both August and the period of January to August.
Deliveries of the E-Class Saloon and Estate reached a new record for an August: 28,200 units sold represent an increase of 11.2 per cent over the prior-year month. The E-Class Saloon reported sales growth worldwide of 14.7 per cent. In China, the long-wheelbase version of the EClass Saloon was very popular.
Sales in the SUV segment increased for the first time this year due to the positive impact of the model changes: approximately 61,800 units sold in August of the GLA, GLC, GLC Coupé, GLE, GLE Coupé, GLS and G-Class represent a growth of 8.7 per cent. The main effects of the recent model changes came from the upgraded generation of the GLC and the new GLE – both also reached a new high in August. Deliveries of the new G-Class increased by a strong double-digit rate last month and in the first eight months of this year have already surpassed the record level of full-year 2017.
3,000 visitors expected at W/Africa automotive parts exhibition
o fewer than 3,000 visitors are expected at the forthcoming West Africa Automotive Show (WAAS), slated to commence on November 19th, 2019.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that the new international trade exhibition will attract an estimated 100 exhibitors from Nigeria and other countries.
According to the organisers, BtoB Events, suppliers, dealers and manufacturers will also be able to discuss best practice for the industry and find out more about the developing local motor manufacturing industry. He added that Nigerian businesses which account for about 30 per cent of exhibitors.
The BtoB Events in a statement by the Managing Director, Jamie Hill, said that there will be national pavilions for Morocco and China, smaller groupings from Thailand, Egypt, Tunisia and India, and a dozen more countries will also be represented.
Speaking on why the company is organising the show, he said; “With over 60 per cent of vehicles on the road being over 12 years old, there is a huge aftermarket industry. The need for high quality and affordable spare parts is becoming increasingly important.
“There is also a real hunger to boost the local assembly of vehicles across the country with the 2013 National Automotive Industry Development plan (NAIDP). With more assembly plants being set up, this again significantly increases the demand for spare parts. We are committed to supporting Nigeria reach its forecast of having 70 per cent of new cars sold being assembled or manufactured domestically by 2050,” Mr. Hill said.
He further said that WAAS has the official endorsement of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), adding that the show’s founding partner is ASPMDA (Auto Spare Part and Machinery Distributors Association).
“ASPMDA represents the largest spare part market across Africa and acts as the re-export hub for sub-Saharan Africa. No other country on the continent can boast a trade hub such as ASPMDA with over 20,000 member businesses, so Nigeria immediately positions itself as the most important for foreign exporters.”
Speaking, Leonard Okoye, Secretary, Foreign Trade and Investment Committee at ASPMDA; explained that the association “is supporting WAAS as an inroad to meet other manufacturers in the competitive market of automobile industry.”
He added that the advice for stakeholders in the auto industry is that they should continue to attend all exhibitions because learning is a continuous process.
To support Nigerian companies at the exhibition, the WAAS is drawing up a small conference seminar to throw the spotlight on local businesses.
“It is great to give the local companies a platform to grow their market share, increase exports and highlight that the Nigerian original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are not out of place amongst the global companies,” Mr. Hill said.
Bello attracts multinational firm to establish Chili firm in Niger
iger State government’s efforts to attract investments to the state yielded some fruits over the weekend as the operators of the Lagos Free Trade Zone in Lekki, led by its Chairman Mr. Mohan Vaswani, resolved to establish a multi-million naira Chili company in the state.
Accordingly, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, multi-million Chili Company which will soon take off is designed to boost the state’s economy and increase employment opportunities.
Governor Bello who had an investment session with one of the most prominent and influential private investment multinational companies met with Tolaram Group Chairman, Mr. Mohan Vaswani to see how best to harness the potentialities of the state for mutual benefits especially in making the state a business hub.
Governor Bello, while acknowledging that the group is already in Wushishi, headquarters of Wushishi Local Government Area of the state where it acquired five thousand hectares of land for the scheme with intention to acquire additional ten thousand hectares to make Niger State the hub for the company’s grow materials for its manufacturing plant. He assured the group of an enabling environment for their investments.
He said that the move was part of concerted efforts to bring investment to Niger State, to encourage investors to tap from the state’s resources especially in the area of agriculture, adding that with political will towards her investment the narrative about foreign direct investment in Nigeria will change.
The governor who was in Lagos on the invitation of the Tolaram Group of Companies also has an inspection tour of the Lagos Free Trade Zone where he expressed satisfaction over their performance.
Presenting the group’s various brands of products through a power point, Assistant Manager Business Development, Chinju Udora highlighted the achievements of the group established over four decades ago but became more operational in 1998, working with strong partners around the world, Nigeria inclusive with a sustainable amount of money committed in the business.
The governor’s meeting with other critical stakeholders at the group’s headquarters, at the Lagos Free Trade Zone about 57 Kilometers away from Lekki enabled the two teams to work out modalities for better partnership as part of efforts to diversify and open up opportunities for the state.
The Group Chairman, Mr. Mohan, who led his team, assured the state government of his company’s desire to work closely with the state for its rapid growth and development in particular and the country at large.
How govt can curb oil theft, by Obaseki
he ad-hoc committee set by the Federal Government to investigate how Nigeria is lost a whopping sun of $1.35 billion to oil theft in the first six months of this year, has stressed the need for a legal task force with special courts to tackle menace.
The 13-member committee led by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, said in addition to a legal task force, with dedicated courts, prosecution teams and specially trained judges, oil pipeline maintenance and ownership needed to be restructured.
The committee, set up to investigate theft from the miles of pipelines that snake through the country’s swampy, oil-rich Delta region, said the theft will only grow if the government does not take special action to combat it.
“The governance structure of the pipeline(s) is such today that no one is held accountable when these losses occur,” Governor Godwin Obaseki, said in its report made available to newsmen recently.
Obaseki said at least 22.6 million barrels of oil were “stolen” between January and July, and there is the risk of $2.7 billion worth of oil being stolen in two years.
He said figures showing the “huge losses” were provided to his 13-member committee by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Obaseki spoke to journalists after the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja. He said his committee had identified the reasons for the losses and had made recommendations to the government.
The committee also cited a lack of fuel stations in most of the oil-producing communities around the Niger Delta, which it said made them resort to oil theft and illegal refining.
The recommendations will go to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
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