President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday inaugurated the fully automated and digitalised $1.5 billion new Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos.
Investors King reports that the newly built Lekki Deep Seaport situated in Ibeju Lekki is scheduled for commercial operations before the end of March, 2023.
The commissioning was carried out by the president after it was ascertained that it is fit for operations as it had received the first container vessel which brought cargo to Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports supervised by the CMA-CGM.
In his remarks, the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu explained that the new Lekki port became a reality as a result of the collaboration among the Federal Government, Lagos State government and the private sector stakeholders.
Describing the project as the biggest infrastructure in West Africa, Sanwo-Olu said the Seaport will provide job opportunities for thousands of people.
He appreciated the President for his commitment to the construction of the port which began during his tenure and was commissioned by him.
In his speech, the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko noted that the capacity of the new port will reduce the cost of doing business as bigger vessels and cargoes will be received.
With a depth of 16.5 metres, Bello-Koko stated that the port will do far better in operations than other Nigerian ports setting a pace for improvement in other Nigerian seaports.
He stated that the Nigerian Ports Authority will regulate the operations of the port, adding that preparations have been made for marine services to ensure safe berthing of vessels at the port.
His words, “we already have interest from a certain neighbouring African country that wants to move its cargoes from Lekki Port through Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano to the African country because the country has seen the possibility of smooth operations and efficiency at Lekki Port.
Also speaking, the executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime hinted that the port is fully automated and digitalised for delivery of quality services to customers.
Jime noted that the Shippers’ Council will monitor the new seaport to keep up efficiency and sustainability of good standard.
IBEDC Disconnects UCH Over N500m Debt, Critical Services Affected
The University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, experienced a disruption in its power supply after the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) disconnected the hospital over a debt amounting to N500 million.
Dr. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, confirmed the disconnection but refrained from elaborating on the exact cause.
IBEDC’s spokesperson, Busolami Tunwase, acknowledged the outstanding debt owed by UCH but denied that the disconnection was intentional.
Tunwase stated that while UCH owed the substantial amount, the power outage was due to a technical fault in the area, coinciding with the debt situation.
Despite repeated attempts to engage UCH in discussions to settle the debt, IBEDC had resorted to disconnection as a last resort.
The disconnection poses significant challenges to UCH’s critical services, affecting patient care and hospital operations.
While IBEDC emphasized its understanding of the hospital’s importance and commitment to resolving the issue amicably, the situation underscores the financial strains faced by healthcare institutions and the essential need for reliable power supply.
Efforts to negotiate and find a resolution between UCH and IBEDC are ongoing to restore normal operations and ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.
Oil and Gas Dealers Threaten Withdrawal as 70% of Downstream Businesses Collapse
The downstream oil sector in Nigeria faces a looming crisis as oil and gas dealers, represented by the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), issue a stern warning of potential service withdrawal.
In a recent resolution following their executive committee meeting in Abuja, NOGASA expressed grave concerns over the collapse of approximately 70% of businesses in the industry due to the harsh operating environment.
President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie, highlighted the dire situation, emphasizing the challenges faced by oil marketers in funding operations amidst soaring bank interest rates.
Korie underscored the overwhelming burden faced by operators who are compelled to acquire funds at exorbitant interest rates upwards of 30%, exacerbating financial strain and hindering business viability.
The primary demand voiced by NOGASA is the pegging of the foreign exchange rate at N750/$ to facilitate refinery operations and stimulate the production of refined products domestically.
Failure to address these pressing issues, Korie warned, could result in the withdrawal of services by NOGASA’s over 200 members starting from the next month.
The downstream oil crisis coincides with heightened anticipation for the release of refined petroleum products from the Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries, seen as critical for alleviating supply shortages nationwide.
However, amidst forex crises and inflationary pressures, operators in the oil and gas sector confront mounting economic challenges, necessitating urgent government intervention.
As Nigeria navigates through turbulent economic waters, stakeholders eagerly await decisive action from authorities to salvage the downstream oil sector from imminent collapse and avert potential disruptions in fuel supply chains.
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