Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has disclosed that the Lagos State Government will work closely with the Federal Government to ensure uniformity in the operational licence being issued to barge owners, and approval given to them by FG to operate on Lagos Waters.
This statement was made by him during a fact-finding visit to Apapa, on Monday. An exercise targeted to unravel the mysteries behind the causes of incessant gridlock on roads leading to the seaports.
According to him, he revealed that part of the issues that will be resolved with the Federal Government over the devastating state of the Apapa congestion, which has impacted negatively on businesses and lives in the environ, was the uniformity in the operational licence being issued to barge owners.
This he said will help to combat the operations of owners of illegally operated container terminals set up in the state with unapproved docks.
What they are saying
The Governor said,
- “We have arrested people we felt were operating illegal barge terminals before, but we were surprised some of these people had licences issued by the Federal Government. This is part of the issues we want to resolve.”
While speaking further on why FG needs to carry Lagos State Government along in this regard, he emphasized that,
- “We are working collaboratively with the Federal Government on this. If someone gets approval for barge operation, let Lagos Government be aware, so that roads are probably planned to those terminals.”
Why this matters
According to the statement of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the collaborative efforts between the Lagos State government and FG will help to stop the creation of illegal terminals for barge operators and make adequate plan for licensees operating in traffic-prone areas.
This move will help to block the operations and the existence of container terminals and docks, this regulation will forestall the abuse of the physical environment and ensure environmental sustainability.
It is important to note that these terminals, some of which also operate unapproved docks, are located indiscriminately in apparent contravention of the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning Law 2019, which stipulates that prospective developers must obtain Planning Information and Planning Permit as necessary conditions for locating such facilities.
What you should know
- A barge is a long flat-bottomed boat for carrying freight on canals and rivers, either under its own power or towed by another.
- The NPA in a press release issued on February 23rd 2018, revealed plans of the port authority to consider the use of barges and cargoes to encourage the movement and evacuation of cargoes from the nation’s Seaports to the hinterland across the country. According to the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, this would help to reduce the pressure on the Port Access Road and to serve as a solution to the perennial gridlock being experienced within the Ports Axis.
- The activities of some barge operators have led to concerns by the State Government in recent times, which prompted the government to issue a note of warning to all illegally operated container terminals in the State, after it disclosed that it has sealed three illegal locations along Festac Link-Bridge, Amuwo-Odofin, including the one used for batching sand underneath the bridge, amongst others, on September 19, 2020.
- However, this warning and sanctions on the illegal operators were not issued to dampen the operation of legal barge operators, given how crucial they have become in recent times to decongest the port.
- A recent tweet by the Special Assistant to President Buhari on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, on the 26th of December 2020, cements the importance of barges in the move towards decongesting the Ports. After seeing a barge coursing through the Lagos waters at the Lagoon, Tolu stressed that the barge moved 6 containers in a single trip, which was an equivalent of 6 trucks (or 3, if 40ft) taken off the roads.
Non-oil sector is critical to Nigeria’s economic recovery in 2021 – Cordros Capital
The Non-oil sector is expected to drive Nigeria’s economic recovery in 2021.
Nigeria’s GDP growth and eventual recovery in 2021 is expected to be heralded and driven by the Non-oil sector of the economy.
This disclosure was made in the presentations at the e-press conference titled “Positioning in the new normal” by Cordros Capital.
According to the report…
- In 2020, the Non-oil GDP dipped by 2.5% year-on-year which was attributed to the lingering impact of the pandemic on business activities, with partial easing of lockdown restrictions.
- The Oil GDP also dipped by 13.9% year-on-year as a result of 18.1% year-on-year decline in crude oil production, as Nigeria fully complied with the OPEC+ agreements.
- In 2021, the Non-oil sectors are expected to spearhead the economic recovery with the Services sectors growing by 2.69%. The Agriculture sector is expected to remain as resilient as it was in 2020 and grow by 1.89%, but the Manufacturing sector will dip by 0.89% as a result of weakening demand as well as limited FX supply constraints.
Why this matters
Nigeria’s economy has been quite monolithic since the 1980s and this has been persistently threatened by the instability in crude oil prices in the international market.
The need for the diversification of the Nigerian economy from over-dependence on oil cannot be overemphasized, especially going by the unstable and fluctuating global oil prices. This is aimed at minimizing the country’s vulnerability to macro-economic risks, such as production fall, fall in demand and price, and also a run out of reserves.
In the early ’60s, agriculture was a booming sector – Groundnut, Cotton, Cocoa, Palm-kernel, etc, coupled with other mining activities were the major sources of the booming tradable goods before the advent of oil and its predominance in the Nigerian economy.
No doubt, the non-oil sector has what it takes to unlock the economy of Nigeria and position it on the path of resilient and sustained growth, if optimally harnessed.
SON tasks workers to engage importers, others to foster a sanitized local industrial sector
The SON has called on its staff in the states to collaborate with importers and other relevant associations in their operations.
The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) has called on its staff across the states of the federation, to collaborate with importers and other relevant associations, in a bid to achieve a sanitized market and healthy local industrial sector.
This call was made by Mr Farouk Salim, the organisation’s Director-General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), during an official visit to the SON’s office in Awka on Thursday.
According to a report by NAN, Mr. Salim said in a bid to scale up the operations of the organization, and engender effective service delivery, there is a need for synergy that would not only reduce friction between SON and the business community, but also help achieve the target of a sanitized market and healthy local industrial sector.
He added that the states’ workers under the organization should reach out to various associations in their areas of interest and carry out sensitization on activities of the SON. He tasked all state coordinators to engage the business communities at all times, rather than relying on the routine engagement of security personnel in the course of employment.
According to him, the organization under his leadership was increasing the logistics and manpower support to state offices, by way of decentralising its operations to enable them function more independently and speedily.
Salim stated that each state office will have Information Communication Technology (ICT), Human Resource and Legal departments, as well as the ability to hire low-level staff, to reduce their need to go to or wait for Abuja, over every operational issue.
In a bid to ensure people are accorded their rightful placements, the DG revealed that all staff promotion and conversion issues would be investigated and determined by a special committee for approval.
What they are saying
Mr. Salim, during the working visit and inspection, said:
- “SON was established essentially to protect the local industry from the unhealthy attack of foreign counterparts, through the importation of substandard and uncertified products. However, you can’t achieve this without engaging the associations in this space.
- “You have guns and hammer but you do not need to use it all the times, you do not have to confront those you are working for, reach out to the associations and make them part of what you are doing. With this approach, they will be willing to hand over who you are looking for.”
Mr Olalekan Omoniyi, Coordinator of SON in Anambra attributed the success in Anambra to adherence to the vision of the DG, highlighting that some of the challenges in the state include the inability to enforce eProduct registration to marketers’ hostility towards staff members.
He called for more operational vehicles, the establishment of SON office in the industrial town of Nnewi, training of staff and provision of online office equipment to boost efficiency in the state.
Gulf of Guinea piracy hits record level in 2020 – IMB
Gulf of Guinea recorded an increase in piracy attacks in 2020, according to the Annual Piracy report of the IMB.
West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea recorded an unprecedented increase in piracy attacks in 2020, according to the International Maritime Bureau in its 2020 Annual Piracy report published on Wednesday.
The IMB said its Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) received 195 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, in comparison to 162 in 2019. The incidents included three hijacked vessels, 11 vessels fired upon, 20 attempted attacks, and 161 vessels boarded.
The IMB reported that 135 crew members were kidnapped from their vessels in 2020, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for over 95% kidnapped. A record of 130 crew members were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents.
- “The rise is attributed to an increase of piracy and armed robbery reported within the Gulf of Guinea, as well as increased armed robbery activity in the Singapore Straits.”
According to the report…
- Since 2019, the Gulf of Guinea has experienced an unprecedented rise in the number of multiple crew kidnappings. In the last quarter of 2019 alone, the Gulf of Guinea recorded 39 crew kidnapped in two separate incidents.
- Incidents in the Gulf of Guinea are particularly dangerous as over 80% of attackers were armed with guns, according to the latest IMB figures. All three vessel hijackings and nine of the 11 vessels fired upon in 2020 related to this region. Crew kidnappings were reported in 25% of vessel attacks in the Gulf of Guinea – more than any other region in the world.
- The furthest crew kidnapping in 2020 occurred almost 200 nautical miles (NM) from land with the average kidnapping incident taking place over 60NM from land.
The IMB said the piracy attacks demonstrates the increasing capabilities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea and urged that vessels in the region to remain at least 250NM from the coast at all times, or until the vessel can transit to commence cargo operations at a berth or safe anchorage.
The IMB also urged increased information exchange and coordination between vessels, reporting and response agencies in the Gulf of Guinea Region.
- “Despite prompt action by navies in the region, there remains an urgent need to address this crime, which continues to have a direct impact on the safety and security of innocent seafarers,” said Michael Howlett, Director of the ICC International Maritime Bureau.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in 2019 that Nigeria outstripped Indonesia to become the worst country in the world for piracy. The rampant kidnapping activities in the Gulf of Guinea have increased tremendously in recent years, with Nigeria accounting for 48 out of the 70 recorded in 2019 – implying that Nigeria is responsible for almost one out of every four cases recorded globally.
- In October 2020, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020, with a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea. Pirates armed with guns and knives are abducting bigger groups of seafarers at further distances off the West African coast.
- The United States of America handed over maritime equipment to the Nigerian Navy to secure maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea and also promote bilateral relations between both nations.
- Confidence MacHarry, Analyst at SBM Intelligence told Nairametrics that for Nigeria to tackle its Fish production, Nigeria needs to work on a joint coalition to deal with the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea. He said: “To tackle the menace of piracy, the Deep Blue Project must be effectively launched. Not just rhetoric, launch it and let it be operational. Also, like the MNJTF, there should be an international coalition of the Gulf countries to tackle piracy collectively.”