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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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Business

NCC, telecom firms agree on 5G deployment

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All appears set for the deployment of 5G as the Nigerian Communications Commission and major telecoms companies have agreed on the guidelines.
The instruments are the Annual Operating Levy Regulations and the Frequency Spectrum (fees and pricing) Regulations.
The agreement came after a public inquiry organised by the NCC on the two key instruments at its headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, which was attended by Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta and representatives of major telecoms companies such as Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Glo Mobile Network, 9Mobile, and other stakeholders.

The 5G wireless technology is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps peak data speeds, ultra low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to more users.

While Airtel Nigeria agreed with key issues regarding the instruments, MTN Nigeria pleaded for extension of timeframe.
But Danbatta assured all stakeholders that frequency spectrum would be assigned and managed in a way that ensures fair pricing and efficient deployment of attendant services.
According to him, the two instruments were not only tailored to meet the challenges of the industry but ensure that all stakeholders are carried along as the country prepares for deployment of 5G technology.
Danbatta said, “More importantly, this Public Inquiry is precursor to the Commission’s current drive to ensure efficiency in spectrum management and the unveiing of next generation services through varied enablers.
“It is in that regard that the Commission issued a Spectrum Trading Guidelines in 2018, to ensure frequency spectrum is readily available to licensees through an effective process.
“Furthermore, the commission has commenced the process for deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) Technology in Nigeria and is driving the provision of such ubiquitous services on making Frequeney Spectrum available to its licensees.
“The efficacy and reliability of these initiatives will be hinged on proper market valuation of the frequency spectrum and fair assessment of levies.”

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Business

Inflow of foreign capital drops by 54% to $875.62m

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The total value of capital importation into Nigeria dropped to $875.62 million in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics has said.
According to the NBS, the figure represents a 54.06 per cent drop compared to the $1.91 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021.

It stated this in its latest report titled, ‘Nigerian capital importation (Q1 & Q2 2021)’.
In 2020, Nigeria’s capital importation plunged by 59.65 per cent at $9.68 billion – the lowest level in four years.

“The largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 62.97% ($551.37m) of total capital importation,” the report stated.
“It is followed by other investments, which accounted for 28.13% ($246.27m) of total capital imported and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which accounted for 8.90% ($77.97m) of total capital imported in Q2 2021.”
Capital importation into the banking industry dominated in Q2 reaching a total of $296.51 million, followed by financing with $205.88 million and shares with $194.59 million.
In both Q1 and Q2, brewing, fishing, hotels, tanning and weaving sectors had no record of capital imports, the report added.
Similarly, only Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital territory (FCT) recorded capital inflows across Nigeria in Q2.
Lagos emerged as the top destination of capital investment in the second quarter with $780.06 million, Abuja had $95.26 million, while Ogun had $0.3 million.
By banks, foreign firms emerged as the top capital investment in Nigeria in Q2. Stanbic IBTC recorded $310.21 million, Standard Chartered was second with $282.37 million, then Citibank ($94.15 million).
The report also stated that “the United Kingdom emerged as the top source of capital investment in Nigeria in Q2 2021 with $310.26m.”

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Business

Nigerians experience another nationwide blackout as grid collapses

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Most parts of Nigeria experienced total blackout on Wednesday after a national grid collapse, which electricity distribution companies confirmed in separate notices to their customers.
In a public notice sent out to consumers, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company said the collapse occurred at 12.26pm but did not say how long it would last.
The notice read, “Dear Esteemed Customers,
Following a grid system outage that occurred at about 12:26 pm today, we have been unable to service our customers in Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa State as well as a significant part of the Federal Capital Territory.
“At the moment, only 20MW has been allocated to AEDC as against the over 400MW that they have been receiving in recent times.
“We urge our customers to be patient and promise that the power supply will be restored to our franchise area as soon as there is a significant improvement in our
allocation.”
In a similar notice, Eko Disco said, “Dear valued customer, we regret to inform you of a system collapse on the National Grid that’s causing outages across our network.
“We are working with our TCN partners to restore supply as soon as possible. Please bear with us.”
Ikeja Electric also sent out a message that read in part, “The current power outage is due to a nationwide system collapse that occurred at about 12:26hrs.
“Power supply will be restored gradually to various parts of the network as soon as the grid is stabilised. Kindly bear with us.”

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