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Reps committee mulls establishment of Maritime Bank

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The House of Representatives Committee on Shipping Service, on Thursday, mulls establishment of a marítime bank for the development of the nation’s shipping sector.

This was disclosed by the chairman of the committee, Hon. Abdulsamad Dasuki, when he paid an oversight visit to the council headquarters in Lagos.

Dasuki, who stated that creating Marítime bank will stop capital flight, however, disclosed that the committee was planning to have a meeting with the Shipowners for effective service delivery in the country.

“The committee is looking at the possibilities of establishing maritime bank so that the marítime sector will have its own bank and the Shipowners will have their bank as this will help stop capital flight,” he stated.

Dasuki, further stated that the bill to give the council backing as port economic regulator has passed second reading in the house of representatives.

According to Dasuki, the bill will be a catalyst for changing the nation’s economy, saying the council will perform exceptionally when the bill is passed into law.

“We have taken note of most of the issues you highlighted, the successes and challenges. The NSC is the port economic regulator which is operating with regulation and by God grace the bill to make the agency a true regulator has passed the second reading and we will soon call for public hearing, that bill will be catalyst for changing the economy. Also, Shippers’ council will do better when the law is passed,” Dasuki stated.

The committee chairman also spoke about the one percent freight stabilisation fund, saying, “We have taken note as well of the current issues that are happening with Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF), with 50 percent of your revenue and you will get support to get the fund due to your agency. We expect you to deliver more and bring more money to Nigeria. You said NSC will ensure that the GDP of Nigeria go up through your contributions by end of 2024.”

Speaking earlier, the executive secretary of NSC, Pius Ukeyima Akutah, sought the support of the House of Representatives Committee on Shipping Service on getting approval for the 1 percent freight stabilisation fee statutorily embedded in the council’s act.

Akutah, said once the Oronsaye report is fully implemented, the council will no more get their statutory 2 percent share from the 7 percent Port Development Levy.

“There is a need for us to implement our statutory funding, which is the 1 percent Freight Stabilisation Fee. I think this is very pivotal at this time that the Oronsaye Report is being implemented. Once the Oronsaye report is implemented, the 7 percent Port Development Levy which the Shippers Council gets 2 percent from, may no longer be available. So, I think we need to work very hard to ensure that the Nigerian Shippers Council funding position is secured.”

Akutah also disclosed that since the council’s mandate has been expanded to be the port economic regulator, there is need for a law that will back up its new mandate.

According to him, the council has been at the fire front of facilitating trade and also ensuring efficiency of the port for business to thrive and for government to make more money.

”Today is a very important day, first of its kind especially since I resumed here. The mandate of the council has been expanded and we are to do more as Port economic regulator. We have a lot to do to regulate the sector and President Bola Tinubu, has created ministry of Marine and Blue Economy with the mindset to focus on blue Economy and to diversify nations economy from crude. Our mandate is to facilitate trade and ensure efficiency of the port for business to thrive and for the nation to make more money,create opportunities for youth empowerment, job creation and others.

“And now that we have a committee for shipping service and with their collaboration, we will see rapid development in the sector. We are grateful to receive you today and we know that the impact of the visit will live with us for a long time. We need to contribute to the GDP and the nation’s economy and to acheive this, we need your protection.”

We have some bills before the national assembly such as repealing the council act to be Port economic regulator and you have tried to see to the passage, the bill is operational to carry out our mandate because without it it will be difficult for us to acheive our mandate,” he stated.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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NDDC to unveil 92 projects worth N84bn

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The Niger Delta Development Commission said it would commission 92 infrastructure projects valued at over N84 billion across five states in the region in the next two weeks.

This is according to a statement by the Director, Corporate Affairs, NDDC, Mr. Pius Ughakpoteni, made available to our correspondent in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Sunday

“With a forward-looking, innovative and result-oriented roadmap, the commission is well-equipped towards ensuring a holistic and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful,” adding that the NDDC’s management “would explore means of reducing recurrent expenditure, while focusing on completing capital projects.

“And in the light of the above, NDDC, will in the next two weeks, commission 92 infrastructure projects executed at a cost of N84 billion across the nine mandate states in the region,” the statement partly read.

The projects include the 25.7 km Ogbia-Nembe Road which creates a road link to the ancient city of Nembe. For the first time in living memory, the 9.15 km of pre-fabricated vertical drains on the swamp and seven bridges are also among the star projects in the area.

These projects executed at the cost of N24 billion, cut the traveling time to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital from 3 hours on dangerous water routes to 45 minutes and also opened up 14 communities for development.

Also slated for commissioning are the 132KV Transmission Line and I32KV/33KV sub-station electrification project, executed at a cost of N8.3bn to optimise power supply to Local Government Areas in the southern part of Ondo State.

The project covers the construction of 45km double circuit 33KV feeder lines from Omotosho Power Station (Hook-up point) to Okitipupa and two 30MVA, 132/33KV injection substations with breakers, gantry and substation automation. It also includes the construction of a 3-bedroom semi-detached bungalow as service quarters.

The capacity of the power station is optimised with the provision of 2 x 60MVA, 132/33KV transformer and other ancillary works at Okitipupa injection sub-station, rehabilitation of 35km 33/11KV transmission from Okitipupa-Igbokoda-Ugbonla and environs and the construction of 1km rigid pavement.

The electricity project will complement the Federal Government’s effort in the power sector development by improving power supply to Okitipupa, Igbokoda and other neighbouring communities in Ondo South Senatorial District, with direct value chain in small and medium scale industries, job creation and consequently engender growth and development in Ondo State.

Ughakpoteni also noted that in Akwa Ibom State, the NDDC will commission the 6.87 km Iko-Iwuochang road in Akwa Ibom South (Eket) Senatorial District of the state.

In Abia State, the commission will unveil the Obehie to Oke Ikpe road reconstructed at a cost of N3.5bn, among others.

Other projects for commissioning during the event include roads, electrification, a police station, health centres and school blocks.

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