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Nigerian Ports Handled 96.6 Million MT Cargo in H1

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  • Nigerian Ports Handled 96.6 Million MT Cargo in H1

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has declared that between January and June, total cargo throughput was 96,626,737.96 metric tonnes, representing an increase of 31.24 per cent from 73,628,546.62MT recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

The Director General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, made this declaration in Lagos on Wednesday during an interactive session with the media.

Peterside attributed the increase to freight rates benchmark which was reviewed for three per cent levy billing to reflect prevailing realities in shipping, based on the request of operators.

He added that the new benchmark had succeeded in fostering harmonious regulator-operator relationship and brought about positive trends in the industry leading to more patronage.

The NIMASA DG who was giving account of the activities of the agency in the past six months said that it had started actualising its mandate by putting together a Strategic Implementation Plan in alignment with the programme of the Federal Government, aimed at putting the agency on a path of sustainable growth to impact the maritime industry as well as promote and ensure overall development of the sector.

Peterside explained that during the period under review, there was an increase in indigenous participation in Cabotage vessels manning, ownership building and registration as a result of zero tolerance on granting waivers.

He added, “We have also witnessed an increase in total number of wholly Nigerian-owned vessels on the Nigerian Cabotagae register. Half year result shows 125 vessels were registered representing a 33 per cent increase when compared with the 94 registered in the corresponding period of 2017.

He said the number of Nigerian seafarers placed on board vessels from January to June was 2337 representing a 58.9 per cent increase in the number of employed seafarers.

A total of 2,840 Nigerian officers and ratings were recommended to be placed on board Cabotage vessels in 2018 as against 1,789 in the same period in 2017, representing an increase of 58 per cent, Peterside noted.

Also, 150 cadets have commenced their on-board sea time training in the first phase of the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme, in addition to 89 cadets who are currently on board training vessels facilitated by the South Tyneside College, United Kingdom, making a total of 239 cadets in the first phase of the programme.

Under the agency’s Survey, Inspection and Certification Transformation programme, Certificate of Competency examinations were conducted at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, leading to the issuance of different categories of CoCs to successful candidates, he said.

“In 2017 alone, NIMASA issued 3,752 certificates to successful seafarers representing a 149 per increase from the CoCs issued in 2016,” he stated.

He listed other improvements recorded in the sector to include reduction of transaction time from 72 hours to 12 hours for dry cargo/RORO and manifest to six hours for wet/gas and bulk homogenous dry cargo.

Others are the development of a software that issues Ship Identification Number at the manifest desk to prevent double entry and double billing; and improved communication with stakeholders through dedicated electronic channel.

On the surveillance and patrol of the maritime domain, Peterside said that the fast intervention security vessels the agency leased under the maritime security strategy project were making impact.

He said, Port State inspections rose by 10.53 per cent in 2017 up from 475 in 2016 to 525 in 2017.

“Flag State inspections are also experiencing upswing from 77 in 2016 to 98 in 2017, a 27 per cent increase,” he added.

He said that the agency had been able to establish a satellite surveillance control and command centre that has a coverage of up to 312 nautical miles from coast, adding that the system can detect vessels with AIS transponders switched off as a synthetic aperture raider.

The agency secured the reactivation of the maritime domain awareness capability and this has enabled effective enforcement of regulations, he said, adding, “Our surveillance system enables us to ensure the preservation of Cabotage trade for indigenous operators by identifying and differentiating ship-to-ship operations that take place at the secured anchorage and the offshore locations to avoid foreign domination in the Cabotage trade under the guise of STS.”

NIMASA according to him has continued the clamour for a change of terms of trade from Free on Board to Cost Insurance and Freight for the affreightment of Nigerian crude oil cargo.

Meanwhile, NIMASA has disclosed that it was planning to outsource the management of its modular floating dockyard to private individuals.

A floating dockyard is an equipment or platform that can be towed to a particular location, to allow a vessel to be floated in and drained to rest on a dry platform.

Peterside said that the dockyard would be located at a Naval facility in Lagos owing to the initial challenge of trying to locate it in the Niger Delta region.

The agency took delivery of the multi-million dollar floating dockyard from Europe in June.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Computer Village Traders Demand Refunds as Lagos State Cancels Katangowa Project

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Traders at the renowned Computer Village in Lagos find themselves in a state of uncertainty following the abrupt termination of the multibillion-naira Katangowa project by the Lagos State Government.

The project, which was aimed at relocating the bustling tech market from its current site in Ikeja to the Agbado/Oke-Odo area of the state, has left traders in a state of limbo.

Despite the cancellation of the project reportedly occurring two years ago, traders claim they were not informed by either the government or the developers, Bridgeways Limited.

This lack of communication has left them in a precarious position, particularly concerning the substantial upfront payments made by some traders to the developers.

Chairman of the Computer Village Market Board, Chief Adebowale Soyebo, expressed dismay at the lack of communication from the authorities regarding the project’s termination.

He explained that neither the government nor the contractors had officially informed them of the decision, leaving traders in the dark about the fate of their investments.

Traders who had made payments to Bridgeways Limited now seek clarity on the refund process. The absence of official communication has compounded their concerns, with many uncertain about the fate of their investments.

While acknowledging the payments made by traders, Lagos State Governor’s Adviser on e-GIS and Urban Development, Dr. Olajide Babatunde, assured that the government would facilitate refunds.

He, however, said there is a need for proper identification and verification to ensure that affected traders receive their refunds accordingly.

The termination of the Katangowa project has reignited debates about the relocation of Computer Village.

Traders assert that the issue of relocation should not be raised until the new site is at least 70% completed, as per their agreement with the government.

The cancellation of the Katangowa project underscores the challenges associated with large-scale urban development projects and the importance of transparent communication between stakeholders to avoid such situations in the future.

As traders await further directives from the government, they remain hopeful for a resolution that safeguards their interests and ensures the continuity of one of Nigeria’s most prominent tech markets.

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Government Begins Disbursement of N200bn Support Fund to Manufacturers and Businesses

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The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has initiated the disbursement of the long-awaited N200 billion Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme.

This is the beginning of a vital phase in the government’s strategy to provide financial assistance to manufacturers and businesses across Nigeria.

The scheme, which is being administered through the Bank of Industry (BOI), has been divided into three categories of funding, totaling N200 billion.

The disbursement process comes after an exhaustive selection process and verification of applicants to ensure transparency and accountability in the allocation of funds.

Doris Aniete, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, announced the progress in a statement posted on the trade minister’s official X (formerly Twitter) handle.

Aniete highlighted that verified beneficiaries have already started receiving their grants, signaling the beginning of the phased disbursement strategy.

“We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. Some beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy,” stated Aniete.

She further disclosed that by Friday, April 19, a substantial number of verified applicants are set to receive significant disbursements.

However, Aniete emphasized that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants immediately, assuring that all verified applicants will eventually receive their grants in subsequent phases.

The initiation of the disbursement process comes after more than eight months since President Bola Tinubu announced the grant for manufacturers and small businesses.

The scheme aims to mitigate the adverse effects of recent economic reforms and foster sustainable economic growth by empowering businesses with financial support.

President Tinubu had outlined the government’s commitment to strengthening the manufacturing sector and creating job opportunities through the disbursement of N200 billion over a specified period.

The funding is intended to provide credit to 75 enterprises, each able to access up to N1 billion at a low-interest rate of 9% per annum.

However, the implementation of the programme has faced challenges, including delays and criticisms regarding the registration process.

Femi Egbesola, President of the Association of Small Business Owners, expressed concerns over the slow pace of data collation and suggested that genuine businesses were being discouraged from accessing the loans.

Despite the hurdles, the commencement of the disbursement process signifies a significant step forward in the government’s efforts to provide vital support to manufacturers and businesses, potentially revitalizing economic activities and driving growth across various sectors.

As beneficiaries begin to receive their grants, the impact of this initiative on the nation’s economic landscape is eagerly anticipated.

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MicroStrategy Rally Crushes Short Sellers, Wiping Out $1.92 Billion

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Short sellers betting against MicroStrategy found themselves facing significant losses as the company’s rally wiped out $1.92 billion since March.

This development comes amidst a rally that has seen MicroStrategy’s stock outperform bitcoin, causing a considerable hit to those who had taken a bearish stance on the tech firm.

According to data from S3 Partners, short sellers have been on the losing end since March, as MicroStrategy’s stock surged, highlighting the impact of the rally on those betting against the company’s success.

This loss underscores the challenges faced by short sellers in a market where certain stocks experience rapid and unexpected price increases.

The rally in MicroStrategy’s stock is attributed to several factors, including the approval of several spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier in the year.

This move by the SEC brought bitcoin, a once-nascent asset class, closer to the mainstream and fueled investor interest in companies like MicroStrategy, known for their significant holdings of the cryptocurrency.

MicroStrategy, which held nearly 190,000 bitcoin on its balance sheet as of the end of 2023, has indicated its intention to continue increasing its exposure to the digital currency.

The company’s decision to sell convertible debt to raise money for additional bitcoin purchases further bolstered investor confidence and contributed to the stock’s rally.

Analysts at BTIG noted that the premium for MicroStrategy’s stock reflects investors’ desire to gain exposure to bitcoin indirectly, especially those who may not have the means to invest directly in the cryptocurrency or ETFs.

The company’s ability to raise capital for bitcoin purchases is seen as a positive sign for shareholders, adding to the optimism surrounding its stock.

However, despite the recent rally and optimism surrounding MicroStrategy, the crypto industry as a whole continues to be heavily shorted.

Short interest in nine of the most-watched companies in the crypto space remains high, standing at 16.73% of the total number of outstanding shares, more than three times the average in the United States.

Moreover, concerns persist regarding the SEC’s stance on cryptocurrencies, with some experts suggesting that the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs may not necessarily indicate a broader acceptance of other similar products, such as spot ethereum ETFs.

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