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Maritime journalists celebrate Lagos NUJ Chairman in grand reception

The Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria(MARAN), today hosts the newly elected Chairman of the Lagos Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Leye Ajayi in a grant reception at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos.
Mr Ajayi was a former President of MARAN.
In what appears to be a celebration of electoral success of one of their own, the maritime journalists will converge on the prestigious Hotel to honour Ajayi in the company of maritime industry stakeholders who have been invited to witness the epoch-making event.
In a statement issued in Lagos by the association,  the creme-de-la-creme of the Nigerian maritime sector are billed to attend the event under the Chairmanship of Prince Olayiwola Shittu, former President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA)
The event is billed to hold at the Rockview Hotel in Apapa, Lagos on Thursday March, 25th 2021 by 11am prompt.
The theme of the  event is ”National  Development: The Challenges of and the Prospects for the Proper Implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in Nigerian Maritime Industry “
“MARAN is proud of one of its own, Leye Ajayi who was a bonafide member of the association until his emergence as the Lagos NUJ Chairman”
“Mr Ajayi had served MARAN meritoriously at different times and different capacities as Secretary General and later as President”
“The Association is therefore planning a grand reception to celebrate his electoral success”, an elated  Mr Anya Njoku, the President of MARAN,  observed.
The association said the grand reception and lecture are aimed  to boost the synergy between the Maritime Press and Maritime Publics and Government Parastatals.
The lead paper would be presented by seasoned Journalist and the Editor of the XPRESS Newspaper, Mr Emeka Okoroanyawu, who was one of the founders of MARAN in 1988.
Former General Manager, Lagos Traffic FM, Mr. Layinka Adagun, a pioneer MARAN Member, would also be a panel discussant to enhance the theme’s perspectives.
The special guests of honor expected at the event includes; the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr Hassan Bello, and Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Dr George Moghalu.
Others are; Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Zone ‘A’ Lagos, ACG Kaycee Ekekezie and the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho.
The Chief Guests of Honors are; Chairperson of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) Princess Dr Vicky Haastrup, the President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju and immediate past chairman of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju.
Others are; President of ANLCA,  Hon Tony Iju Nwabunike and the founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr. Boniface Aniebonam.
In addition, all MARAN past Presidents and Executives would be on ground to grace the grand reception and lecture.
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Transportation ministry inaugurates project committee for Ondo, Benin seaports


The Eyewitness reporter
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, has inaugurated
a Project Steering Committee for the proposed Ondo Deep & Benin Seaports.
Dr. Magdalene Ajani, while inaugurating the Committee on behalf of the Nigerian government at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja Wednesday,  stated that the Committee is saddled with providing guidance and direction on the projects.
She also charged the members of the committee to also facilitate necessary permits, clearance & approvals for the projects.
The permanent secretary said it is also the responsibility of the committee to prepare the transaction for the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Muazu Sambo, to obtain the approval of tte Federal Executive Council.
She charged them to hit the ground running immediately.
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NPA, ICRC study requests for more  deep sea ports in Nigeria

 The Eyewitness reporter
Following the successful completion and take off of the Lekki deep seaport, more requests for the establishment of similar projects have started to pour in for the consideration of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
In the official Twitter handle of the NPA, the Managing Director of the agency, Mohammed Bello-Koko, disclosed that the authority and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) have been inundated with applications from prospective investors to build deep seaports in the country.

“Through PPP, additional deep-sea ports will come on board in the next few years. Several requests are being worked on by the Authority and @ICRCng.

“The outlook is positive and promising.

“Having the deepest port in Nigeria will improve traffic flow in the Apapa corridor, lower freight costs & ultimately lower trading costs.

” For us @NigerianPorts, we intend to take advantage of this to recapture transshipment & transit cargoes that would typically call at nearby ports” Bello-Koko declared in the tweet.
Basking in the successful completion and take off of the first mega seaport in the country, the NPA MD said the Lekki deep seaport, which was commissioned by President Mohammed Buhari Monday, January 23rd, 2023, was a major success story for public-private partnership on infrastructural development under the regulatory guidance of the ICRC.
According to him, over $361bn economic impact expected in 45 years from the Lekki deep seaport  is put at $1.5 billion assets and  $800m on construction on all Phases while
 $361 billion (Revenue from duties, royalties, taxes $201bn, Direct/Indirect business impact: $158bn) is being projected from the facility
Over 169,000 Direct/Indirect jobs are expected to be created.
The federal government has five percent equity shares in the mega facility, the Lagos State government has 20 percent shares while
Lekki Port Investment Holding Inc holds 75 percent equity shares.
The port has the deepest draught in Nigeria and one of the deepest in sub-Saharan Africa with a 16.2 metre draft with annual cargo tonnage of four million tons and annual container volume of 2.5 million teu.
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NIMASA reads riot act to banks over disbursement of CVFF

—- asks them not to scare away ship owners with unnecessary collaterals
—- gives them 72 -hr ultimatum to come up with harmonised procedures for disbursement 
 The Eyewitness reporter
The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) have met with the five Primary lending institutions (PLIs) selected by the federal government to drive the disbursement process of Cabotage Vessels Financing Funds ( CVFF).
The PLIs approved for the fund’s disbursement are Zenith bank, Polaris bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA) Jaiz bank, and Union bank.
Addressing the Heads of the financial institutions at the Corporate Headquarters of the agency Tuesday, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, spelt out the expectations of the government to the PLIs over the long-awaited disbursement of the Cabotage funds.
According to him, the desire of the government was to disburse the funds as quickly as possible but also to avoid the mistakes of the previous intervention funds.
He said the funds are ready and the agency was ready to collaborate with the lending institutions to ensure the success of the project.
Reacting to the request of one of the banks for a 50 percent guarantee by the benefiting ship owners, Dr. Jamoh reminded them that the 50 percent counterpart funding from NIMASA is in dollars which he said would be sent to the banks.
He warned that government would frown at any unnecessary demand for collaterals which may scare the ship owners from accessing the loans.
”We don’t want a situation whereby the banks will be asking for the father and mother of the ship owners and other collaterals that may make the prospective beneficiaries of the funds get scared”
He advised them that in as much as the issue is within the purvey of the banks, he noted that the banks, as a way of securing their investments, could tie the funds to particular shipyards from where the vessels purchased by the money are coming from.
He also asked the banks to look at the area of cabotage contracts secured by the beneficiaries which the bank can use as part of the guarantee.
Jamoh warned that asking for any other guarantee may slow the process of disbursement which government frowns at.
Earlier,  the head of enterprises, Polaris bank, Femi Aribaloye, raised concerns on the risks involved on the part of the banks and the volatility of the shipping industry
“Whatever it is that we needed to do in terms of structure and interest will be carried out, but I think the ultimate or the most important thing here is to ensure that this thing is successful and that’s why we are here and that’s why this particular fund is now being disbursed in collaboration with the bankers.”We are also very much aware of the environment in which we operate, we know things can be a little bit turbulent, and policies and the economic situation might change so, I just want to find out since its also within the purview of the Ministry of Transportation, if there is anything that can be done to further minimize the risk that the PLIs are going to be carrying.

” We look at the chance of the possibility of a partial guarantee because as financial institutions, we would like to ensure that everything is done rightly,” he said.

However, NIMASA DG disclosed that the agency had given the disbursing institutions 72 hours to come up with harmonised position on the modalities for disbursement of the dollar component of the funds which is put at $350 million.

According to him, the banks are expected to come up with issues such as the interest rate, tenor, collateral, and other requirements needed to access the fund.

According to him, the interest rate must be of international best practices because the money to be released to the banks is in foreign currencies and not local currency.He, however, stated further that the disbursement of  CVFF can’t start without stakeholders’ engagement, saying that was why the agency met with PLIs.

“We can’t start disbursement without stakeholders’ engagement, therefore, stakeholders’ engagement starts today(Tuesday)

” We are on track, we have started with the PLIs and all five of them are here today. We have listened to them and they listened to us and from all indications, they are ready for us as well.”

“What we want them to do now is to allow them to come up with a collective decision and that cannot take more than 72 hours.

“As we are leaving this boardroom, they will sit down and decide on a date because we don’t want them to come individually to us with their own interest rate, we want them to have a consensus and a standard template on the disbursement of funds as well as the interest rate.

” This is what we advised them to do and as soon as they finish that, we will then invite the shipowners,” he said.

When asked what the interest rate and the collaterals needed by shipowners to access the loans are, he said the guidelines will disclose that.

“The guidelines will tell us the interest rate and how the interest rate is supposed to be, the tenor, and the collateral because we won’t allow them to come and make the shipowners feel very insecure.”

“I mentioned to them on the issue of collateral, you all have NIMASA money with you, so all these things will be deliberated among themselves, let’s allow them to go through our guidelines seriously and see how they can adjust within themselves because we are giving them international currency, not Nigerian currency, they cannot start looking at Nigeria lending rate but the uniform international best practices so we are still on track because the guidelines stipulated everything, “he said.

Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of Jaiz bank, Dr. Sirajo Salisu, assured indigenous shipowners that the fund would be disbursed to them at the appropriate time.He, however, warned the shipowners that CVFF is not a grant or money that can be received without paying back to the banks.

“We will try our best to partner with the beneficiaries or the proposed beneficiaries of these funds and I believe they are much aware that this is not a grant, this is not  money that they will just take away, this is money that is meant for a purpose and we will ensure that that purpose is achieved to the benefits of the country.”

NIMASA will contribute 50 percent of counterpart funds, the banks (PLIs) will provide 35 percent while the remaining 15 percent will be provided by the benefiting ship owners.
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