The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, is facing hard times over the N7.2billion debt incurred during the tenure of its late Rector, Dr. Joshua Okpo.
A source in the institution said that the debt ranges from staff claims to payments for various contracts of which some have been completed and others ongoing.
”Our debt profile has risen, even if we get all the monies we are expecting from Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), it won’t be enough to solve our issues,” a lecturer in the institution said.
Investigations revealed that the campus of the academy in Oron, Akwa Ibom State is littered with unfinished jobs while basic teaching and learning infrastructures are lacking.
Some members of staff of the academy, investigation showed, have interests in many of the contracts as most of them are directly involved in contract racketeering which accounts for the many sub-standard implementation.
Sources at the academy’s account department said on condition of anonymity that the school has been failing in meeting the accommodation needs of its cadets.
The late rector and an acting Rector, Anthony Ishiodu, who also died recently in Abuja, came under pressures from many contractors seeking to be paid as they claimed to have executed the jobs with loan facilities obtained from commercial banks, which they claim has accrued outrageous interests.
Findings further revealed that essential facilities like the nautical science building, survival pool, main auditorium, male cadets hostel, engineering workshop, boatyard and many others are yet to be completed
Some students of the academy are forced to either sleep outside or in the classrooms since hostel accommodation meant for only eight students per room are being overstretched with more than 17 students in each hostel room.
This, our source said, is affecting the student’s ability to learn better as they are open to mosquito bites, cold, poor hygiene and other health related hazards on the campus.
Aside its budgetary allocation and its internally generated revenue from short courses, the academy is also entitled to five per cent of total revenue collected by NIMASA as provided in sub section 2B, under section 16 of the NIMASA Act 2007.
Sources said the last time NIMASA made quarterly remittance to the academy was in November 2015, adding that should the arrears be paid now, it won’t be enough to offset the debts.
Checks revealed that wrangling for the position of Rector has also affected development as the Registrar, who is a non-academic staff, is holding forte as head of the academy while his wife, a director in the academy is seeking to be rector.
“Most academic staff members are also unhappy on the grounds that the registrar prefers sending non-academic staff on refresher courses while the core academic staff members that need updated knowledge to impact on the academy are left behind. There has been series of petitions against the late rector and acting rector leading to several invitations and visits to the police and anti-graft agencies. Most of the petitions have not led to arrests or prosecution,” the source said.
The academy’s Public Relations Officer, Siddi Mkpandiok, who confirmed that the academy is owing the debts, said they were accumulated by several leadership of the institution over the years.
He however, stated that most of the challenges the academy is facing, is a as a result of paucity of funds and not just the debt.
He said some of the abandoned projects are projects that the federal government, have failed to complete or are yet to be completed.
No Plan to Increase Fuel Price; Says FG
The Federal Government has stated that it has no plan to increase fuel price during the yuletide period.
This assurance is coming amid the nationwide fuel scarcity which has pushed the price of petrol above N250 in many retail stations.
Investors King learnt that fuel is being held for N250 per litre in Abuja and several other cities across the country while black marketers are charging between N400 and N450 per litre.
The scarcity and the high price of fuel are however becoming unbearable for many Nigerians, especially those who have reasons to embark on business travel for the December festivals.
According to the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chief Ukadike Chinedu, most of the association members, who owned the bulk of the filling stations across the country, were now subjected to purchasing PMS at about N220/litre, which was why many outlets currently dispensed at about N250/litre and above.
He noted that the cost of the commodity has been on the rise due to its unavailability and other concerns in the sector.
He added that the price of fuel could be sold from N350/litre to N400/litre before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, a number of senior officials at the NNPC had stated that the subsidy was becoming too burdensome on the national oil company, as this was another reason for the scarcity of PMS.
According to a source who is familiar with the development as reported by Punch News, “How can we continue to import 60 million litres of petrol daily and keep subsidising it, while millions of litres are either diverted or cannot be accounted for? The burden is too much, as you rightly captured in that story”.
Investors King understands that NNPC is the sole importer of petroleum into the country and it pays billions of naira every month to subsidise the product to N147 per litre.
Reuters News reported that in August 2022, NNPC paid more than $1 billion as fuel subsidy while the federal government earmarked N3.6 trillion as fuel subsidy in the 2023 budget proposal.
Fuel Scarcity: NNPC Declares 2billion Liters in Stock, Blames Scarcity on Road Construction
NNPC Claimed it as 2 billion litres of fuel despite scarcity
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has blamed the recent fuel scarcity on road construction around Apapa, noting that the corporation has about 2 billion litres of fuel in stock.
According to a statement issued by NNPC Executive Vice President, Downstream, Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company has about 2 billion litres of fuel which can last the country conveniently for more than 30 days.
The Executive Vice President further blamed the queues on the road construction around Apapa axis which has slowed down the movement of oil trucks to several parts of the country.
“The recent queues in Lagos are largely due to ongoing road infrastructure projects around Apapa and access road challenges in Lagos” he said.
He however noted that more filling stations should have Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol with the ease in gridlock along the apapa axis.
“The gridlock is easing out and NNPC Ltd has programmed vessels and trucks to unconstrained depots and massive load outs from depots to states are closely monitored,” he said.
Investors King gathered that several states including Abuja have been impacted by the supply chain difficulty caused by the construction around Apapa.
The scarcity of fuel has therefore led to the hike in price. In most places across the country, fuel is sold as high as N250 per litre. Several fuel stations are already taking advantage of the situation coupled with the increase in the movement of people and goods owing to the December festivals.
Speaking further, Adeyemi noted that the situation will soon be back to normalcy as NNPC is taking measures to address the situation.
“We want to reassure Nigerians that NNPC has sufficient products and we significantly increased product loading in selected depots and extended hours at strategic stations to ensure sufficiency nationwide.
“We are also working with industry stakeholders to ensure normalcy is returned as soon as possible,” he concluded.
Global Growth to Drop Below 2% in 2023, Says Citi
Citigroup on Wednesday forecast global growth to slow to below 2% next year, echoing similar projections by major financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and J.P. Morgan.
Strategists at the brokerage cited continued challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war — which skyrocketed inflation to decades-high levels and triggered aggressive policy tightening — as reasons behind the outlook.
“We see global performance as likely (being) plagued by ‘rolling’ country-level recessions through the year ahead,” said Citi strategists, led by Nathan Sheets.
While the Wall-Street investment bank expects the U.S. economy to grow 1.9% this year, it is seen more than halving to 0.7% in 2023.
It expects year-on-year U.S. inflation at 4.8% next year, with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s terminal rate seen between 5.25% and 5.5%.
Among other geographies, Citi sees the UK and euro area falling into recession by the end of this year, as both economies face the heat of energy constraints on supply and demand front, along with tighter monetary and fiscal policies.
For 2023, Citi projects UK and euro area to contract 1.5% and 0.4%, respectively.
In China, the brokerage expects the government to soften its zero-COVID policy, which is seen driving a 5.6% growth in gross domestic product next year.
Emerging markets, meanwhile, are seen growing 3.7%, with India’s 5.7% growth — slower than this year’s 6.7% prediction — seen leading among major economies.
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