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Seaport Traffic Declines By 20.6% on Forex Illiquidity

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  • Seaport Traffic Declines By 20.6% on Forex Illiquidity

Following the inability of importers and exporters to get the needed foreign exchange (forex) to transact their businesses, coupled with insecurity in Nigeria’s coastal waters, activities at the nation’s seaports have dropped significantly.

According to the ship traffic statistics drawn from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), 4,025 vessels berthed at the various ports across the country last year, showing a decline of 20.6 per cent compared to 5071 vessels recorded in 2015.

The number of vessels recorded last year represented a year-on-year (y/Y) decline of 20.6 per cent or 1,046 vessels.

Analysts posited that the exclusion of 41 items from access to forex from the official window by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also contributed to the decline in import activities.

In the same vein, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is also feeling the heat as the data revealed that Nigeria generated N35.6 billion in customs and excise duties in May 2016, compared with N42.1billion recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Similarly, outward cargoes from Delta port dropped by 51 per cent to an estimated 1.9 million in 2016 from 2013. The Delta port exports crude oil primarily and, given the recurrent pipeline vandalism, export volumes have plummeted.

Meanwhile, at Apapa port, outward cargoes surged by 54 per cent over the same period to 1.3 million tonnes last year.

Analysts at FBN Quest said there is an over-reliance on Lagos ports, stressing that the evacuation of cargoes remains a major challenge, with other transportation links surrounding the port in poor condition.

“In an attempt to improve maritime trade as well as reduce the pressure associated with transshipment cargo at Lagos ports, the construction of the Ibom Deep Sea Port (IDSP) located in Akwa Ibom State is underway. Given its proximity to industrial and commercial centers in southern Nigeria, once operations commence, IDSP has the potential of becoming a dominant hub within the region, “said FBN Quest.

Commenting on the development, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of ENL Consortium Limited, operators of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex and Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Vicky Haastrup described the situation as a very challenging period for the maritime industry.

According to her, “As you know, the volume of activities in the ports has reduced and it has been a very drastic reduction. For example, in my company we have a cargo downturn of a least 57 per cent as at two weeks ago. When you compare today with this period two years ago we have a reduction in cargo output of a minimum of 57 per cent which means we are operating 43 per cent capacity. This month is even worse. Now we do only six or seven ships from, for example, 30. That is a huge challenge. The problem has also affected the container operators in the ports. There’s may not be as bad as ours but they are also experiencing a downturn in their operational activities particularly as it relates to cargo troop out.

“Why is it like that? It is because of the inconsistencies in government policies. What we need now is a consistent policy regime to help the economy to grow. This will create confidence in the mind of business owners and importers of cargo. But a situation where you are not sure whether the policy may change or not you cannot do anything reasonable. Policies keep changing; government must look into that area. For example, the policies on the ban of import 42 items. They should also look at the foreign exchange policy.”

She added that the present floating exchange rate system of the CBN is not helping matters stressing that it is not good for the economy.

“Why? Because it is floating so high that it is becoming unaffordable to the ordinary Nigerian. It is a good thing to allow the naira to find its true value but the way it is been done now is making the dollar to skyrocket. Government need to look at these policies in the way that it should not go above certain level. AS we speak one dollar exchanges for N505. That is way too high; can Nigeria as a country survive on that? It makes commodity prices very expensive. People can barely afford to eat three square meals a day. One very important thing that the government should do now is to collapse the gap between official rate and parallel market rate. The margin between both markets is too high,” she said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Experts to Provide Insights on Tech & Digital Transformation at MSME Dialogue 3.0

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The third edition of MSME Dialogue will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 10am (WAT). Experts at the virtual event will provide insights while discussing the theme: Powering MSMEs with Technology and Digital Transformation.

The event, which is organized by MSME Africa, is expected to have owners and managers of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Entrepreneurs and Business owners from different sector in attendance.

MSME Dialogue which holds every quarter, seeks to address, burning and relevant  issues about entrepreneurship and running a small business as well as proffering solutions to those issues.

The event aims to provide the right knowledge and know-how for MSMEs, Entrepreneurs, and Startups to enable them to grow and thrive and features subject matter experts, seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, and players within the MSME Ecosystem.

The speakers expected at the event are: Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Interswitch Group, Rex Mafiana: CEO, FPG Technologies, Fatma Nasujo, Global Head of Operational Excellence at Sokowatch, Kenya, David Lanre Messan, CEO, FirstFounders, Bisoye Coker, CEO/Co-founder, Kiakia FX. The session will be moderated by Solape Akinpelu: CEO/Founder, HerVest.

According to the convener of the event who is also the founder of MSME Africa, Seye Olurotimi “Every business owner who is serious with their business would agree with me that technology and digital transformation are important factors for business growth and success. We all can’t all run or won Tech startups but we can always drive our businesses and operations with Technology and Digital Tools”

“Tech-driven Businesses are making waves and turning in almost unbelievable results against all odds. Businesses who have embraced technology, automation and digital transformation are enjoying unquantifiable advantages. It is because of this that I am calling on business owners and managers to join us at the 3rd Edition of MSME Dialogue, on Saturday April 24, 2021 at 10am ( WAT), as we bring in experts to provide insights on this theme” Olurotimi added.

MSME Africa is a multi-faceted resource platform for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Africa providing capacity development, news, opportunities, business articles and other resources for MSMEs, entrepreneurs, and startups.

Olurotimi said the platform was poised to build the biggest network and community of MSMEs in Africa in the nearest future.

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Ericsson Launches Automation Hub in Nigeria

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Ericsson announces plans to create an Automation Hub in Nigeria to support operators for improved consumer experience.

Ericsson Automation Hub is an open innovation platform, inspired by lean startup methodology in which the Ericsson team works in close dialog with customers, users and partners to showcase and reach the high potential that network automation allows in configuration, provisioning, assurance and orchestration of network services.

This will enable service providers to gain the ability in their environments to govern, manage and orchestrate hybrid networks holistically and in real time and as a result, offer an enhanced consumer experience.

Fields to be covered include but not limited to 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, Network Slicing and Orchestration, Hologram Calls, Complex Standalone, Business Support System (BSS) and Operations Support System (OSS), Cloud and Core product cases, Automated Acceptance Tests demonstration and enhancements as well as complex charging scenarios for 5G and 4G networks.

Lucky La Riccia, Vice President and Head of Digital Services at Ericsson Middle East and Africa at Ericsson says: “As Industry 4.0 accelerates in Africa, automation in operations is proven to boost customer experiences. Ericsson continues to support the telecom industry players in setting #AfricaInMotion, and with the Ericsson Automation Hub in Nigeria, we will focus on driving business outcomes for our partners in Africa as they aim to leverage digital transformation to turn complexities into opportunities while offering a greater experience and value to consumers.”

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Chevron To Invest In The Offshore Wind Sector

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Chevron’s venture capital arm and Moreld Ocean Wind have agreed to invest in Ocergy Inc.’s development and commercialization of floating offshore wind turbines.

The investment by Chevron Technology Ventures is it’s first in offshore wind. The size of the investments wasn’t disclosed. Floating turbines would be useful in ocean areas that are too deep for fixed turbines.

A senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd, Anthony Logan said: “To my knowledge, this is the first investment by a U.S. oil major in offshore wind”

Logan said, floating wind turbines will become important as the U.S. electrical grid increasingly depends on offshore wind power.

“If you can get into those deeper waters, chances are you can build a system of offshore wind production that isn’t vulnerable to low wind or no-wind events.”

The investment will also fund the development of an environmental monitoring buoy that will gather data and support biodiversity, Ocergy said in a news release Tuesday. The company has previously invested in onshore wind. Moreld is owned by HitecVision, a private equity investor that specializes in European renewable energy.

Chevron’s deal with Ocergy doesn’t mark a strategic pivot to renewable energy, but part of a $300 million-a-year plan to invest in early-stage technologies that may play a future role in the energy transition. The company is unwilling to erode returns by investing aggressively in an unfamiliar business where it doesn’t have a competitive advantage and sees oil and gas as its core products for years to come.

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