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Poor utilisation of Africa’s waterways stunts trade growth in the continent- Expert

Eyewitness reporter
Mrs Dabney Shall-Holma, the Chairperson of Sealink Implementation Committee, has identified underutilisation of Africa’s vast inland waterways for its inability to deepen trading activities in the continent.

Shall-Holma, a former Director in the Nigerian Shippers’Council,  observed that deepening trade entails making use of every mode, linkage and transportation mode available to ensure goods were moved from one place to the other.

According to her, there are endless opportunities in the area of water transportation for goods that can be opened up to enhance trade in Africa.

She said that Sealink was looking at exploiting the rivers that could be used for shipping cargoes across Africa.

She said that the Nile river, which was about 6,650 nautical miles in length, flowed down to Ethiopia and sometimes beyond the Blue and White Nile.

“So, these are tributaries that are actually flowing into the Nile. If we open up that as we have already started talking to the Zambezi and talking to Tanzania.

“If we open up that and Egypt re-echoes the development, you know what will happen to the entire eastern flank of Africa.

“In West Africa, we have the Congo River that is just below us and the Niger River. Niger River is a very long river, it’s actually only shorter than the Nile River.

“So we are proud we are sitting on the Niger River and we must utilise that opportunity because it is an opportunity that has been with us.

“The British came and used it for well over 100 years. But we have just come and we are looking at the fishes, the tilapia and the croakers that are in the river.

“And we do not know that can open up a new window, a very fresh window for growth and development. Nothing grows a nation like connectivity and accessibility.”

She also said that a feasibility study was carried out on the coast of Namibia all the way to Senegal in the West and Central African sub-region.

Also, there was the possibility of linking some of the islands that were on the Atlantic Ocean to enhance trade along that region.

She added that it would be more profitable for any shipping link to take in all the cargo that it could take on the Atlantic Ocean.

She said this prompted the organisation to show interest in Cape Verde in the Northern Atlantic, Sao Tome and Principe and then Equatorial Guinea, in the Gulf of Guinea.

She said this was done to confirm the veracity of the claims of importers and exporters, that cargoes leaving West Africa were going somewhere else for trans-shipment.

According to the chairperson, this will amount to double or triple costing.

She, however, said that most of the countries along the West and Central African subregion were now very proud to claim that they have better ports and infrastructure.

Shall-Holma added that they had also improved their logistics and their value chains were at nearly 50 percent to 60 percent.

Sealink Project is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement established to promote the development of a regional maritime company that would remove the bottlenecks and non-tariff measures along the ECOWAS trade corridor.

It was conceived based on the need of importers, exporters and shippers to create a value chain that would sustain the economy of Nigeria and develop additional networks to trade with other African countries.

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Headlines

IGP grieves over assault on policewoman

Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola

 

— orders prosecution of culprits
 Owolola Adebola

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba,  has strongly condemned the grievous assault of a female Police Officer, Inspector Teju Moses, by her principal who is a Legal practitioner and human rights activist, Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola and her domestic staff comprising the housemaid, one Rebecca Enechido and a male suspect currently at large.

Zainab Duke, a Mbaise-born activist, grievously assaulted her orderly in the company of some accomplices on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at her residence in Garki, Abuja, due to the refusal of the orderly to breach professional ethics by carrying out menial and domestic chores at her house.

The IGP also directed the express prosecution of the arrested suspects who are currently in Police custody, as the preliminary investigation shows overwhelming evidence of culpability on the part of the Professor and her domestic staff.

The IGP has equally tasked the investigative team to ensure that the fleeing suspect is arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.

It is pertinent to clarify that the suspect, Prof. Zainab, who name-drops the IGP, his family members, and other officers in the top hierarchy of the Force has no acquaintance with the Police in any form as erroneously peddled on social media.

The Inspector-General of Police who similarly ordered the withdrawal of all Police personnel attached to the Professor expressed consternation at the fact that an individual who claims to be an advocate for Human Rights could stoop so low as to violate the rights of another individual, a police officer tasked with ensuring her protection.

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Customs

Customs collects N1.7trn  revenue in 8 months

CGC, Ali

 

–embarks on aggressive revenue hunts to meet target

The Eyewitness reporter

The Nigeria Customs Service has collected a whooping sum of  N1,755,386,486,390.02  as revenue in the first eight months of the year spanning January and August.

The service made the highest monthly earnings of N241,903,781,854.46 in August as the service intensifies its aggressive revenue drive to meet the expectations of the Federal Government which has come to rely on the revenue from the service to fund its critical project.

This follows the diversification of government to non-oil sectors and expands its tax base due to the dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
The revenue in the first eight months of 2022 is N363,436,321,614.95 higher than N1,391,950,164,775.97 the customs collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

Abuja has increased its focus on non-oil revenue sources, prompting higher expectations from revenue collection agencies such as the NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.

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Headlines

Jamoh wears OFR diadem as Buhari confers national honour on NIMASA DG

 

The Eyewitness reporter 
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has expressed deep appreciation to President Mohammed Buhari for being conferred with one of the highest national honours in Nigeria, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

The Office of the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has conveyed this good news to Dr Jamoh in a letter of Award which has slated the investiture ceremony for the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Monday, 10th October 2022.

Recall that Dr. Jamoh had served the Nigerian maritime sector as an administrator for over 30 years when he was appointed by President Buhari as the NIMASA DG in March 2020.

Since that time, he has overseen the successful deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project which has played a major role in achieving a reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to its barest minimum since 1994 and culminating in Nigeria being removed from the infamous piracy red list by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.

A hallmark of his tenure at the helm of NIMASA has been his institutionalization of collaboration among stakeholders, within and outside the country, to achieve significant milestones in the sector.

One notable example of this is his initiation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/ Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), which has demonstrated the positive outcomes of information sharing among regional and non-regional military forces in achieving a secure maritime space.

Reacting to the news on his social media handle, Dr Jamoh expressed gratitude for being considered for the honour stating:

“Words cannot express how humbled I feel to be so considered for the National Honour as an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).

“When I began my maritime journey 30 years ago, little did I know that Almighty Allah would so favour me to rise to the position of NIMASA DG, let alone to be considered for one of the highest honours in the land”.

Dr Jamoh especially thanked His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Standing Committee on National Honours Award for deeming him worthy of the honour while also appreciating everyone who had supported him throughout his tenure as NIMASA Director General, especially the maritime stakeholders.

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