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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

COMTUA Boss Canvases Sustainable Port Reform, Digitalisation

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By Simeon Mpamugoh*

The National President, Council Of Maritime Transport Union And Association ( COMTUA) Mr. Adeyinka Aroyewun has said that the solution to the legions of problems besetting the Maritime sector was being deliberately ignored adding that sustainable reform of the port and digitization was the way out.
In a telephone chat in Lagos, Aroyewun said that what was happening at Nigeria’s most busy port was like using malaria drugs to cure cancer patients. He supported his view with the example of the terminal operators whose spaces had been a concession by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) but have no facilities for their business.
He said, “If the terminal operators have for instance spaces for 200 containers and they bring 200 every day, they will not remove the same number of empty containers when they are leaving. We need outright reform of the port and digitalization of the process to the extent that we can know how many containers are being expected, when and how they are being expected,” he said.
He denounced the activities of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), describing the body as one who wants to eat its cake and have It. He said, “The authority has concession spaces yet wants to make more money from those who park in the places they have collected money.
“The authority has given Tin Can Terminal (TICT) to APMolla, yet wants to regulate what they do, the vehicles that come into the park. And the things it has not been able to do successfully, it pushes the budget to the truck owners.”
He noted that “the problem operators are facing on the port corridors were not congestion but the resulting effects of it. “The congestion is inside the terminal. Until there’s a complete reform such that the activity of everybody is transparent, we will not make headways. There’s no speed applied, even if it is In running in the opposite direction, that will take us to the destination.”
He took the public to a scenario; “you’re returning an empty container to a particular terminal. Eto calls up will book you to go to that terminal but don’t be surprised that you can get to the entrance of the terminal and they tell you that they are not receiving the container you are carrying. You have to stay on the road because the driver cannot go back from where he was coming from. If he does, it will be assumed that he has used the Eto call-up ticket. So he will be required to book again. And this translates to more gas expended to and from.
“NPA claims to have provided parks but we know this is a lie because if you offload cargo in Tin-Can, and you are waiting for a job that will be ready in three hours’ time, you cannot be admitted into the MOB truck park which they claim to have been provided for our members. What we have is just a transit park for you to enter the Port. In addition, the authority claims that they have satellite parks everywhere and vehicles are no longer on the road but in their park, this is a lie.
“There is no vehicle that will not have a business in the port and/or go and park inside any of their accredited Eto call-up parks. But it doesn’t happen because they don’t have such facilities. And if you say you are expecting a container and have booked through Eto call up who is working on behalf of the NPA to access the terminal, there should be nothing stopping the container from entering but you will not enter if the terminal operator says they are not receiving 40 feet of excise duty container you are carrying. So there is no correlation with the things that go on within the authority and the terminals,” Aroyewun intoned.
On the new Presidential Standard Task Team (PSTT) headed by Comrade Moses Fadipe, Aroyewun explained that the team was established mainly to deal with corruption within the industry. He said, “It is not a traffic agency. To a reasonable extent, the team has succeeded in warding off corruption. Before now, you’ll find Federal. Operations Unit (FOU) of customs in Ijora, Apapa and other places stopped drivers and extorted money for cargoes that had been cleared from the port. The Fadipe- led team has been able to ward off some of those ones and others within the seaside which they have manned for more than 2 years. For the ship to berth on the Nigerian shore, it takes weeks and is very expensive but the team has been working to improve on this direction. So, they are not set up for traffic, and they are not working against truck owners.
“Although at a certain stage, they wanted to abuse the purpose for which they were set up. The fear then was that since they are clearing the road of irregularities and corruption, they might as well impound vehicles that commit the same offense, which is what we are kicking against. We were members of the team from inception but we pulled out when they wanted to use it as an instrument of exhorting money from our members. But on the whole, their business is basically to ward off corruption and minimize extortion along the port corridors. They’re currently dealing outwards and keeping to their rules of engagement to a reasonable extent, especially in the area of warding off corruption. This is in addition to what they have been doing inside the terminals and government agencies outside the port,” he stated.
COMTUA helmsman also spoke on the alleged use of thugs by some officials of government agencies to extort money from trucks delivering goods to clients. He said that his association condemned their activities which his members experienced regularly, and assured them that the association was addressing it.

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OIL & GAS

Nigerian Government Plans to Restore Crude Production to 1.7 Million Barrels Per Day

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The Nigerian Government has stated that efforts are underway to restore Nigeria’s oil production, including condensate, to 1.7 million barrels per day.

Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), assured in response to recent concerns about a shortfall in Nigerian oil production in the first quarter of 2024.

According to a statement from Nneamaka Okafor, Special Assistant, Media and Communications, to the Minister, Sen. Lokpobiri, measures are being taken to address the situation and not only restore but also increase production.

The minister clarifies that the reported production shortfall was primarily caused by issues encountered on the Trans Niger Pipeline, as well as maintenance activities carried out by some Nigerian oil companies.

The Minister is also pleased to announce that the issues have been adequately addressed, and that production is expected to resume at previous levels in the coming days.

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He expects Nigeria’s oil production, including condensate, to be restored soon, having been around 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) before these developments.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources is actively involved in policy development aimed at maximising the utilisation of all available wells in Nigeria.

This strategic approach will allow the country to increase production, generating vital revenue to maintain the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Increased revenue will also allow the government to meet its commitments to provide essential infrastructure, as outlined in the 2024 budget.

The Minister also expresses renewed optimism as Nigeria navigates these challenges, urging everyone to remain committed to ensuring the long-term viability and growth of Nigeria’s oil sector, which is critical to the country’s economy.

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Our Policies Geared Towards Growing Businesses, Attracting New Ones—Gov. Ott

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Dr. Alex Otti, Governor of Abia State, says his administration has worked to grow businesses and attract new ones to the state over the last ten months.
Governor Otti described Abia as an investment-friendly state, expressing his desire to see businesses operating in the state grow.
The Governor made this statement while meeting with the Managing Director and management team of Inner Galaxy Steel Company Limited, a Chinese conglomerate operating in Abia State’s Ukwa-West axis, who paid him a visit on Thursday.
“Our policy is to support the industry. Some of our initiatives are aimed at supporting existing industries while also attracting new ones.
“I encourage you to continue doing business in Abia State because we welcome investors. We have just set up the Abia Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP) in Owaza. If there are some collaborations, since you are already in Ukwa West, we will tell the Managing Director of the AIIP to engage with you,” Governor Otti told the visiting Chinese team, adding that, it is only when investments grow that businesses can employ the teeming unemployed Abia youths.
He charged the company with fair labour practices as a way of attracting the government’s continued support, while allaying their fears of clamping down on them following allegations of not providing a conducive working environment for their workers.
The Governor encouraged the company to collaborate with the management of the Abia Industrial Innovation Park to take advantage of the opportunities provided in the area.
Earlier, the company’s Managing Director, Mr Lin Shanbiao, explained that Inner Galaxy is a conglomerate of four companies that produce steel, assemble caravan parts, manufacture automobile batteries and recycle used bottles.
He stated that their visit was to inform the Governor of their activities and to explore potential collaboration with the state government.

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Quest For Green Energy Boosted By Appointment Of New CEO At Global Energy Alliance For People, Planet

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Woochong Um

The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) announced today the appointment of Mr. Woochong Um as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Woochong Um will lead GEAPP following his tenure with the Asian Development Bank. GEAPP is a multi-sector alliance created in 2021 to address one of the defining challenges of our time—ending energy poverty and tackling the climate crisis through a just transition to renewable energy.

The appointment is a reaffirmation of GEAPP’s commitment to realizing greater change and opportunities to unlock green energy in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to power progress and secure an inclusive, resilient future for all.

The appointment of Woochong Um culminates in a rigorous selection process and represents the beginning of a new phase for GEAPP as it builds on a successful track record that started with its launch at COP26 in 2021.

To date, GEAPP has invested $464m of active capital in nearly 100 projects in almost 20 countries, and built an alliance of over 50 partners driving a shared mission that is showing early evidence of transformational impact with 147,000 tons of CO2 emissions averted, 1.3 million people and businesses connected to new or improved energy systems, and over 600,000 jobs and livelihoods supported (directly and indirectly) as cited in its second impact report Powering People & Planet.

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Jessica Anderen, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, a founding partner of GEAPP alongside The Rockefeller Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund, said, “Woochong has deep experience in building diverse, trust-based coalitions that come together to deliver social and environmental impact at scale.

Woochong’s approach to leadership is rooted in his values and a long-standing commitment to making a positive impact on people and the planet. The IKEA Foundation is delighted to welcome him to his new role.”

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, said, “At a moment when the world has finally realised the need to transition away from fossil fuels, Woochong is the innovative and proven executive GEAPP needs to ensure that everyone – not just the wealthiest countries and communities—can power their lives and futures with renewable energy.”

GEAPP is grateful to have had the dedicated and strong leadership of interim CEO Joseph Ng’ang’a, who guided the alliance and advanced its work to scale distributed renewable energy and battery energy storage systems across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Effective 1 August 2024, Joseph will hand over the role to Woochong Um, who will continue the alliance’s pioneering work to scale new solutions, strengthen partnerships, and facilitate access to an inclusive and resilient future for all.

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“The appointment of Woochong Um as CEO of GEAPP is an inspired choice,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President  & CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “The mission of GEAPP could not be more important, and

Woochong brings to the task a highly distinguished track record as a leader, mentor, and change agent. This appointment will add momentum to the pace of the energy transition in emerging and developing countries, where families and businesses will have better and safer access to power. We’re proud to be a partner with GEAPP’s collective movement to drive a just energy transition for all.”

“As we embark on this journey toward a greener future, we stand firm in our resolve to champion innovation and accessibility in the energy transition especially in emerging markets.

Over the past two years, we have laid the foundation for GEAPP’s continued growth and catalytic impact and I look forward to continuing our work with Woochong Um to deliver an even greater impact for people and the planet together with our alliance partners,” said Joseph Nganga, Interim CEO of GEAPP.

Woochong Um brings a wealth of experience from his prestigious 31-year career at the Asian Development Bank. As ADB’s Managing Director General, he spearheaded global partnerships and funding mechanisms to transform economies and communities.

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Woochong’s time at the ADB saw him driving the bank’s sustainability agenda, putting environmental and renewable energy action plans at the heart of major development sectors, including health, education, agriculture, community resilience, and humanitarian settings.

Before the ADB, he worked as a corporate computer systems specialist at Pitney Bowes and Pfizer in the USA.

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