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Govt agencies sabotaging 24-hour port operation – NPA

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Some Federal Government agencies operating at the seaports are violating the executive order signed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo towards 24-hour port operations and synergy among such agencies, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, has said.

Osinbajo while serving as acting president in 2017 had signed the executive order on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment and directed the resumption of 24-hour operations at the Apapa port.

He also banned touting at all air, land and sea ports.

But Bala-Usman, while featuring on a television programme, said only the NPA had obeyed the order, while other agencies refused to do so, even as she noted the agencies flouting the order had not been sanctioned.

She said, “If you recall there is an executive order that was signed by the vice-president, which directed all agencies of government to conduct inspection (of containers) in one location and that executive order was signed in 2017.

“Certain agencies of government have not complied and one of the things we have said is sanction for non-compliance with an executive order that was released cannot be done by the Nigerian Ports Authority.”

She stated that if an agency of government violated an executive order signed by the vice president, the presidency should sanction that agency for non-compliance.

She said the essence of all agencies doing inspection on one location was for consignees not to have multiple areas of inspection.

The NPA boss said she had reported the matter to the Presidential Council on Ease of Doing Business chaired by Osinbajo but nothing was done about the flouting of the order.

She noted that port operations would not run smoothly if only the NPA was complying with set regulations.

Bala-Usman said, “There is an executive order to that extent. Some agencies have not complied. There have been several explanations and justifications for the non-compliance by these agencies. The NPA has raised it to the Presidential Council on Ease of Doing Business chaired by the VP to ensure sanctioning for non-compliance and as I keep saying if a directive is given and agencies don’t comply, if there are no consequences for action and inaction, that means I have not performed.”

She asked the FG to hold agencies not complying with the directive accountable for their actions.

“For example, we have 24-hour port operation that has been directed. All agencies of government are required to deploy personnel to have 24-hour port operation.

“We deployed our personnel but the other legs were absent. And of course, we cannot sanction other agencies of government,” she stated.

Bala-Usman stressed that the Apapa gridlock would end with the introduction of the electronic call-up system for port operations.

 

According to her, the new policy, set to take effect from February 27, will move Apapa ports operations to a digital format.

“The electronic call-up is key as you are aware that anything electronic seeks to remove human intervention,” she said.

She said the creation of truck parks was vital to the new electronic call-up system.

“We have eight truck parks that have been approved by Nigerian Ports Authority and the Lagos State government,” she said.

She added that the electronic call-up system would address extortion in the truck parks.

She said, “It takes away the idea that an officer, be it LASTMA, police or ports security, will give authority to go into the port, which may give room for extortion.

“All trucks that intend to assess the ports both for drop-offs and pick-ups have to do it from the approved truck parks.

“Cargo must also be ready for collection before trucks begin their journey; that proposed sanity should help in tackling the Apapa gridlock.”

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Nigeria’s inflation records first drop in 20 months, now 18.12%

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 18.12 per cent in April this year from 18.17 per cent recorded in March, the first decline in headline inflation in 20 months.
This is contained in the latest consumer price index report just released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The last time the consumer price index which measures the rate of change in the price of goods and services dropped was in 2019 when it slowed from 11.08 per cent in July to 11.02 in August.
The NBS, which announced this on Monday, stated that the food inflation also reduced to 22.75 per cent in April from 22.95 in March.
“The urban inflation rate increased by 18.68 per cent (year-on-year) in April 2021, down by 0.61 the rate recorded in March 2021(1.60), while the rural index also rose by 0.95 per cent in April, down by 0.57, the rate recorded in March 2021 (1.52 per cent),” the report said.
It also stated, “The rise in food index was caused by increase in prices of Coffee, tea, coca, bread and cereals, soft drinks, milk, cheese and eggs, vegetables, meat, oils and fish and potato, yam and other tubers.
“On a month-on-month basis, the food sub index increased by 0.99 percent in April 2021, down by 0.91 percent points from 1.90 percent recorded in March 2021.”
The report noted that food inflation on a year-on-year basis in April was highest in Kogi at (30.52 per cent), Ebonyi (28.07 per cent), Sokoto (26.09 per cent), while Abuja (18.63 per cent), Akwa-Ibom (18.51 per cent), and Bauch (17.64 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in year-on-year inflation.
“On a month-on-month basis, however, April 2021 was highest in Kebbi (2.46 per cent), Ekiti (2.42 per cent), and Kano (2.17 percent) while Abuja (0.05 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in the month-on-month food inflation with Rivers and Ogun recording price deflation or negative inflation.”

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FG to launch maritime security strategy next month

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The Federal Government will launch a maritime security strategy next month to address challenges in the sector, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said.
He stated this in Abuja on Monday while playing host to the Belgium Ambassador to Nigeria, Daniel Bertrand, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
Amaechi said, “The crisis in the maritime sector is insecurity and it is more complex than the world knows, but the Federal Government has come up with a solution and it is ready to take off. The Navy, Police, Army and State Security Service are involved.”
A statement by Anastasia Ogbonna, Acting Director (Press and Public Relations), Ministry of Transportation, quoted the minister as saying that if successful, maritime insecurity would be addressed while noting that countries in the Gulf of Guinea may elect to adopt it.
He said, “Sixty-five per cent or 75 per cent of crime comes from our waters and if we are able to eliminate it, then we will be making a lot of progress.
“If you are on air, you will see what is happening in the water. If you are inside the waters, you will be able to respond. A helicopter has the capacity to drop in the naval men when they see anything suspicious.”
He added that the partner would be willing to compare notes with anyone who wanted information for the purpose of securing the Gulf of Guinea.
Ambassador Bertrand had earlier presented a letter to the minister requesting the support of the Nigerian government for the Belgium candidate for the position at the International Maritime Organization.
He also promised his country’s readiness to support the implementation of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

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Limit your speed to 30km/h, FRSC tells all motorists

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FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week, the Federal Road Safety Corps has asked motorists to limit their speed to 30 kilometres per hour in urban or built-up areas for all categories of vehicles.
The global safety week will be celebrated between Monday May 17 and Sunday May 23, 2021.
The Bauchi Sector Commander, FRSC, Mr Yusuf Abdullahi, made the recommendation on Monday in a statement issued by the FRSC Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Rilwanu Suleimanu.
The corps said speeding was responsible for about 30 per cent of crashes in Nigeria.
Abdullahi explained that the corps would be using the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week to carry out an advocacy programme where people would be educated on the issue.
He said, “The 6th UN Global Road Safety Week will focus on the issue of speed.
“The week advocates for safer streets motoring by making 30 km/h speed limits, the norm for cities worldwide in places where people mix with traffic.
“The week is concerned about policy commitments at national and local levels to deliver the 30 km/h speed limits in urban areas and to generate local support for such low speed measures in order to create safe, healthy traffic flow within Urban cities globally.
“As a lead agency in road safety management and administration in Nigeria, the FRSC is hosting the event and embarking on nationwide advocacy to replicate this global activity in selected Nigerian Cities.
“Pursuant to this, the Bauchi State command of the FRSC organises public education campaign programmes to inculcate the norm of 30km/hr speed limits among road users.”
He called on the general motoring public to always adhere to the maximum legal speed limit while in the city or in built up areas so as to prevent crashes, its attendant injuries as well as its fatalities.
Abdullahi, who further stressed the need to avoid speeding, considered among the critical traffic violations with high risk factor, said speeding would lead to increase in crash severity, resulting in more fatalities or injuries.
The sector commander explained that more damage would be caused to vehicles involved in speeding when they crashed, thereby increasing the likelihood of such vehicles not drivable thereafter.
“Speeding also leads to extra fuel consumption and frequent replacement of auto parts, among others,” he said.
The public advocacy programme would include media charts, roadshows, visits to hospitals, and advocacy visits to stakeholders, including policymakers and others.

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