- NPA Bans Empty Containers From Ports
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Managing Director (MD) Hadiza Bala Usman has warned truck drivers and owners against bringing empty containers to the ports.
Henceforth, such containers must be taken to the shipping firms’ holding bays.
Ms Usman is said to have directed operators to stop using their terminals for storing empty container and no truck driver or owner must be allowed by any official of the NPA and terminal operators to bring empty containers into the ports after delivering goods to importers.
Ms Usman took the step to manage traffic in and around the ports.
Over 40 per cent of the space at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) and the Tin-Can Island Port is occupied by empty containers.
Ms Usman also ordered terminal operators to declare the number of empty containers in their terminals.
Most of the firms at the ports have no holding bays, despite the huge money they have generated since the ports were concessioned in 2006.
The NPA, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Nigeria Customs Service, it was alleged, do not have a record of the empty containers in most terminals.
Speaking with The Nation in Lagos, a senior official of the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMoT), who pleaded not to be named, urged the government to support NPA in stopping operators from using terminals for storing.
“The Federal Government must support Ms Usman in her efforts to bring sanity to our ports. The shipping companies who are the owners of the empty containers must acquire holding bays that will receive them. The empty containers are to be evacuated to port terminals for export based on call-up system to be managed by the shipping firms and terminal operators,’’ the official said.
Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi and the NPA, the official said, should direct operators to publish weekly the number of cargoes with empty containers, at the ports. Most of the operators, the official alleged, connived with some NPA officials and shipping firms to keep containers at their terminals to create the impression that the ports are busy.
Lagos State Shippers’Association Chairman Mr. Jonathan Nicol said shipping firms were required to have bays. He added that most of the containers were in bad shape and could no longer be returned to Europe.
Nicol said the containers were bought at cheaper prices to ship goods to Nigeria where they were dumped. “Nigeria is not a dumping ground for containers. Now that there is no space in the ports for these containers, the shipping firms need to get holding bays and if they don’t have, they should hire,” he said.
He also said the country was losing N1 trillion yearly through cargo diversion to neighbouring countries due to the gridlock on the ports’ access roads.
Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) immediate past president Prince Olayiwola Shittu advised shipping firms to get holding bays or rent them, adding: “There are so many companies with holding bays that are looking for people to rent them.”
Shittu said the step being taken by the NPA would save importers demurrage on containers trapped in Apapa gridlock for days and reduce cost of goods in the market.
Some truck drivers said the challenge was that there was no truck park in Apapa, resulting in a situation where trucks were parked by the roadside and on bridges waiting to be called up to bring their empty containers into the terminals.
An importer, Chief Onasanya Ladejobi, expressed concern over the Apapa gridlock, which hinders access to the ports.
Ladejobi said the bad roads were hampering trade and affecting delivery of cargoes. He said the empty containers must be moved to their ports of origin and ports infrastructure be revamped to revive the economy.
The business community, according to him, is unhappy that measures adopted have not yielded results to free the roads leading to LPC and the Tin-Can Island Port.
The business community and port users, he said, were waiting for what he called “positive action” from Amaechi soon, adding that the quick rehabilitation of the road must be one of the minister’s major priorities in salvaging the economy.
The Federal Government, states and stakeholders, he said, should work together to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Ladejobi called for the promotion of agro-allied products export to free the ports and boost the economy, noting that he was not happy that about 90 per cent of containers traffic left the ports empty.
The importer urged the public and private sectors to support government’s efforts at diversifying the economy.
X-raying the ports’ last quarter operations, he said there was the need to complement the NPA’s efforts at massive investments in infrastructural renewal and automation of port operations by generating enough export cargo to move empty containers out of the ports.
The NPA, he said, must collaborate with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and Abuja Commodities & Exchange Commission in the promotion of solid minerals and agro-allied products to boost the economy. The Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and Nigerian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACIMA), he said, must also work with the NPA in tandem with the Federal Government policy on export promotion.
Standard Bank Appoints Sanni Chief Executive for Africa
The Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets has appointed Yinka Sanni as its new Chief Executive for Africa Regions and a member of the Group Leadership Council.
Sanni, the group’s Regional Chief Executive for West Africa, takes over from Sola David-Borha, who is retiring after 31 years of service to the banking group.
This was disclosed in a statement.
Sanni holds a B. Agric. (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA from Obafemi Awolowo University. He attended the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 2009, and the Global CEO Programme at the Wharton School in 2017. He has over 30 years of experience in the financial sector across wholesale, retail and asset management, and joined Standard Bank Group’s Nigerian subsidiary, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, in December 1990.
In a note to employees, Standard Bank Group CEO, Sim Tshabalala, congratulated Sanni on his appointment and thanked David-Borha for her extraordinary contributions to the group.
“Sola was appointed as the Chief Executive of Africa Regions in January 2017 and is one of the group’s most deeply expert and experienced bankers,” Tshabalala said.
“Under her leadership, the Africa Regions portfolio has grown remarkably in capacity, market share and contribution to the group’s headline earnings.”
David-Borha has been a passionate advocate of culture change and executive leadership development, having sponsored the ‘Last Mile’ programme, which has resulted in the successful promotion of talented people into both Regional Chief Executive and Country Chief Executive positions, including the appointment of two female Chief Executives in the Africa Regions business.
“It has been a great honour and privilege to serve and contribute to the growth of the Standard Bank Group,” David-Borha said.
“I am delighted to be handing over to Yinka Sanni, an exceptional, authentic and experienced leader who will take the baton forward in driving Africa’s growth.”
David-Borha will remain with the group until the end of June to ensure a successful leadership transition and handover process. Sanni’s appointment is effective from today, 15 April.
Experts to Provide Insights on Tech & Digital Transformation at MSME Dialogue 3.0
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.
Ericsson Launches Automation Hub in Nigeria
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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