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Apapa Gridlock Worries Senate, Stakeholders



  • Apapa Gridlock Worries Senate, Stakeholders

Senators have joined the growing complaint over the Apapa, Lagos gridlock.

The Senate Committee on Marine Transport, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping and others are worried over the Apapa gridlock, which has cost huge losses to businesses and brought pains to motorists.

At a meeting in Lagos, they said bad roads were killing trade. They frowned at the decision of Julius Berger Plc, which is handling the rehabilitation of Apapa roads, to close the Ijora Bridge, a major artery to Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Port, for four months.

The committee plans to summon the company’s officials to justify the closure, which will worsen the gridlock.

A member of the committee, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, responding to some complaints, said it was in contact with the construction giant and monitoring the road rehabilitation contracts in Apapa.

According to him, the committee will hold a meeting with top management of the company. But with the level of the people’s suffering, the committee is left with no option than to summon the company to explain why the bridge should be shut for such a long time.

“We are taking so many things away from this engagement today; one of them is the closure of the Ijora Bridge. We are scheduled to meet with the management of Julius Berger sometime in January, but as things stand, we will invite them next week to explain to us the reason for the closure of such an important artery to the seaports. We did not know about it before now”, Ohuabunwa said.

Former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President and pioneer President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping Dr. Olisa Agbakoba decried the situation in Apapa.

He said it took about five hours to access their offices in Apapa because of the closure of the bridge, despite that the Wharf Road has been completed.

“We are dying gradually in Apapa and I am telling you the truth. People stay on the gridlock for hours and when you get to your office after several hours, one becomes useless, having spent the better part of the day in the traffic”, he had said.

Chairman of the committee Senator Ahmed Sani said the gathering was to bring the parliament to the stakeholders, brief them on what had been done and take their input to lay a foundation for maritime development.

He told the stakeholders that several maritime legislations had been passed with some at various stages of passage. They include the Anti-Terrorism Bill, National Inland Authority Amendment Bill, National Transport Commission NTC Bill, the Nigerian Ports Authority Amendment Bill, he said, adding that law making is a long and painstaking process.

NIMASA Director-General Dr. Dakuku Peterside said the committee members displayed a high level of patriotism, placing national interest over personal or any other interest.

Speaking with The Nation on the sideline of the event, Peterside said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was determined to fix ports’ infrastructure to revamp the economy.

NIMASA, according to him, is not happy that some measures adopted so far have not yielded the expected result. He promised what he called positive action soon.

Peterside said the quick rehabilitation of the road from Tin-Can Island Port to Oworonsoki area of Lagos was to salvage the economy.

He applauded Dangote Construction Nigeria Limited and Flour Mills Nigeria Limited for reconstructing Wharf Road.

Peterside appealed to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to ensure that the Tin Can Island Port Road was completed on time and to hasten the usage of the trailer park opposite the port.

He urged truck drivers and port users to submit to security checks at the gates into the ports, warning unauthorised truck drivers to stay off the ports and Apapa or face sanctions.

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


Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm




Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers




Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG



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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG

Nigeria and other resource-based countries will benefit less from the African Continental Free Trade Area than economies that are more diversified, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has said.

The NESG, a private sector-led think-tank, said in its 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook that Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil.

It said trade in Africa remained dominated by raw materials and less processed products, adding that on average, minerals and agriculture accounted for 44 per cent and 16 per cent of intra-African trade respectively between 2007 and 2017.

The NESG said, “Evidence has shown that African economies that are more diversified and have improved transport infrastructure, would benefit more from the trade pact than others that are resource-based and agricultural dependent.

“Putting this in context, South Africa currently accounts for 40 per cent of intra-African manufacturing imports. On the other hand, resource-based countries, such as, Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria – which collectively account for approximately 50 per cent of Africa’s GDP – contribute only 11 per cent to intra-African trade.”

“Another bone of contention is the issue of ‘rules of origin’, which constitutes a significant risk factor. This implies that protectionism practices by some countries could constitute a setback for the establishment of the ambitious single market for Africa. But there are several reasons to be optimistic,” it added.

The group said the World Bank estimates revealed that the AfCFTA would promote manufacturing exports over natural resources, agricultural and services exports, and that manufacturing exports would account for one-third of the projected total exports of $2.5tn by 2035.

It said, “Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil, as manufacturing exports currently account for an average of nine per cent of the country’s total exports.

“This suggests that efforts should be directed at strengthening domestic value chains, particularly the agro-allied industrial base.

“To achieve this, there is a need to attract private capital, most especially, FDI, that would allow for knowledge and technological transfers.”

According to the NESG, for Nigeria to maximally benefit from the trade deal, there is an urgent need to also address transport infrastructure bottlenecks and provide improved logistics.

It said, “Finding a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock by creating similar ports in other regions of the country, so as to ensure speedy clearance of consignments needs to be prioritised.

“Nigeria also needs to set standards for locally-made goods to enhance their attractiveness in the regional market.

“The Nigerian government as a matter of urgency needs to operate an efficient and corruption-free land border system, so as to guide against the importation of low-cost sub-standard products into the country.

“It is only when these and many more reforms are implemented that Nigeria can begin to reap the benefits of the trade deal.”

The group noted that owing to the outbreak of COVID-19, the implementation of the AfCFTA was postponed from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

It said, “The key goal of the free trade pact is to expand the volume of intra-African trade, which stood at 16 per cent in 2018 .“Till date, 36 countries, including Nigeria, have ratified the agreement. The trade deal is expected to create a single market with a combined GDP of $2.5tn and total population or market size of 1.2 billion.”

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