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.
Federal Government Halts Cooking Gas Export to Lower Local Prices
In a bid to stabilize domestic prices and meet rising demand for cooking gas within Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced a temporary halt on the exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas.
This decision follows a significant surge in the cost of cooking gas, which has placed a strain on consumers across the country.
According to reports, the halt in LPG export aims to increase the availability of the commodity within Nigeria’s borders, thereby reducing its local price.
The move is part of broader efforts to address the challenges faced by consumers grappling with the high cost of living.
In recent years, the demand for cooking gas has steadily increased in Nigeria, driven by urbanization, population growth, and a shift towards cleaner energy sources.
However, despite being a major producer of LPG, Nigeria has struggled to meet its domestic demand due to insufficient local production and distribution infrastructure.
Data from the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority reveals that while the total consumption of cooking gas in Nigeria has been on the rise, the country has relied heavily on imports to bridge the supply gap.
The recent decision by the government underscores its commitment to prioritizing the domestic market and ensuring that Nigerians have access to affordable cooking gas.
Consumers have been grappling with escalating prices, with reports indicating a significant increase in the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in major cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Kano.
The decision to halt LPG exports signals a proactive measure by the government to mitigate the adverse effects of rising prices and alleviate the financial burden on households across the nation.
Manufacturing Sector Records 7.70% Quarter-on-Quarter Growth in Q4 2023
In the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector grew by 7.70% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The surge in growth reflects a significant uptick from the preceding quarter and underscores the resilience of the manufacturing industry amid economic challenges.
This growth trajectory indicates positive momentum and signals potential opportunities for economic recovery and development.
The manufacturing sector, comprising thirteen key activities ranging from oil refining to motor vehicles and assembly, demonstrated notable dynamism across various subsectors.
This growth surge is attributed to increased production, enhanced operational efficiencies, and strategic investments across the manufacturing value chain.
Despite facing headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and regulatory uncertainties, the sector’s robust performance underscores its pivotal role in driving economic diversification, job creation, and industrialization efforts in Nigeria.
Moving forward, sustaining this growth momentum will require continued policy support, investment in infrastructure, and efforts to address key bottlenecks hindering the sector’s expansion.
By fostering an enabling business environment and promoting innovation and technology adoption, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can further catalyze inclusive economic growth and contribute significantly to the nation’s development agenda.
Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.46% in Q4 2023, Driven by Services
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The GDP expansion though slightly lower than the 3.52% recorded in the same period of 2022, reflects a positive trajectory for the Nigerian economy amid ongoing challenges.
The growth rate surpassed the 2.54% recorded in the preceding quarter, indicating a rebound in economic activity.
The services sector emerged as the key driver of growth expanding by 3.98% and contributing 56.55% to the overall GDP.
This sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, encompassing diverse industries such as telecommunications, finance, and real estate.
Also, the agriculture sector experienced growth, expanding by 2.10% compared to the same period in 2022.
Meanwhile, the industry sector recorded a notable improvement, growing by 3.86%, a stark contrast to the -0.94% contraction observed in the fourth quarter of 2022.
On an annual basis, Nigeria’s GDP expanded by 2.74% in 2023 compared to 3.10% in the previous year, reflecting sustained but moderated growth.
The positive trajectory in GDP growth reflects resilience in the face of various economic challenges.
However, sustaining and accelerating growth will require continued efforts to address structural bottlenecks, foster investment, and promote inclusive economic policies across sectors.
Nigeria’s Oil Sector Growth
During the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s oil sector posted a real growth rate of 12.11% year-on-year, signifying a significant improvement from previous periods.
This was driven by the surge in average daily oil production to 1.55 million barrels per day (mbpd), a positive shift in the sector’s performance.
Despite challenges such as global market fluctuations and production constraints, the oil sector contributed 4.70% to the nation’s total real GDP in Q4 2023.
Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector
Nigeria’s non-oil sector sustained growth momentum, posting a 3.07% real growth rate in Q4 2023.
This growth was primarily attributed to key industries including finance, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.
Accounting for 95.30% of the nation’s GDP in the same quarter, the non-oil sector continues to drive economic diversification efforts and reduce dependence on oil revenues.
Despite facing challenges, such as infrastructure deficits and regulatory bottlenecks, the sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in fostering sustainable economic development and inclusive growth agendas.
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