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Warri pilotage district berthing vessels despite need for breakwaters reconstruction — NPA

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By Seun Ibiyemi

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says despite urgent need for reconstruction of the breakwaters at the Warri Pilotage District, the district still berths vessels.

The Managing Director of NPA, Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko said this in a statement in Lagos on Sunday.

According to Bello-Koko, although the Escravos breakwaters constructed to prevent the siltation of the Warri channels, collapsed decades ago, NPA has concluded the survey and mapping of the channel.

“NPA is at conclusive stages of securing relevant approvals for the best financing option to fund its reconstruction.

“The NPA has put mitigants in place to ensure safe berthing of legally operating vessels in the spirit of trade facilitation,” he said.

He noted that the up-to-date local and international training, simulation and maneuverability competence building of the highly experienced pilots of the NPA had ensured zero incidence of vessels running aground.

He added that it had enabled the safe berthing on July 14 of inbound vessels MT Zonda and MT Stellar and outbound vessel MT Duke, MT Vardar and MT Igbinosa, with six (6) vessels at anchorage outbound and inbound for Bonny Island, Koko and Escravos.

He said that cognizant of peculiarities of the Warri channel, the authority had procured and installed adequate buoys for Warri, realigned the entrance buoys, docked and reclassified vessels.

Bello-Koko said they had stipulated frequent simulation training and retraining for all the pilotage crew to enable them respond to the exigencies of the channel.

“The occasional reported incidences of vessels running aground cannot impede the channel as they are vessels operating illegally without NPA Marine Pilots onboard.

“The vessels ran aground only because they veered off the channel and safety marked areas due to incompetence,” he said.

He pointed out that to enhance its domain awareness capability to detect and frontally keep illegal vessels at bay, the authority recently awarded consultancy for the installation of Vessel Traffic Services(VTS) across all its port locations.

“The first phase is already completed,” he said.

It would be recalled that the authority had recently acquired and deployed security patrol boats and intensified its collaborations with relevant security agencies to stem the activities of such illegal vessels whose activities resulted in such breaches.

Bello-Koko assured all stakeholders doing business legally in the Warri Pilotage of navigational safety despite the urgent need for the breakwater reconstruction.

“We are working assiduously under the guidance of the Ministry of Transportation and Federal Government to sustainably and comprehensively address the challenges of all Delta Ports.

“We have put measures in place to ensure nothing impedes business continuity for all those operating within our safety and security rules,” he said.

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FG to provide solar subsidy in Nigeria through $750m World Bank loan

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The federal government plans to provide subsidy to developers and operators of solar mini-grids in unserved and underserved areas in the country.

The subsidy will be provided through a World Bank approved loan of $750 million under the Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project.

This was disclosed in the financing agreement for the loan project.

The financing agreement for the loan was signed by the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, on March 31, 2024, and World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, on February 19, 2024.

The loan project is fundamentally aimed at augmenting the supply of electricity to both households and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through a surge in private sector-led distributed renewable energy initiatives.

The document noted that the loan will be partly used to provide “Support to the development and operation of privately owned and operated solar hybrid mini grids in unserved and underserved areas through: 1.1. Minimum Subsidy Tender Carrying out of Minimum Subsidy Tender processes and provision of Minimum Capital Cost Subsidies to selected developers/operators of: (a) Isolated mini grids; (b) Interconnected mini grids; or (c) Solar rooftop solutions in Participating States.”

Asides from providing subsidy, the federal government plans to also provide performance-based grants.

The document noted that there will be “Provision of Performance-Based Grants to eligible mini grid operators based on new customer connections for isolated mini grids and percentage of capital expenditures for interconnected mini grid projects.”

The grant will also cover Standalone Solar (SAS) Systems for Households, MSMEs, and Agribusinesses. This grant will provide “Support to the expansion of SAS systems for households, MSMEs, and agribusinesses in rural areas through: 2.1. Performance Based Grants for Standalone Solar Provision of Performance Based Grants (‘PBGs’) to eligible companies to rapidly deploy SAS solutions in rural and underserved areas, through supply and demand side support and based on independently verified outputs, and to support deployment of solar productive use of electricity (PUE) equipment to MSMEs, agribusinesses and commercial customers.”

There will also be “Catalytic Grants Provision of Catalytic Grants, on a matching basis, to eligible SAS companies that target the poor, remote, or hardest to reach consumers in the country.”

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IMF charges banks to guide against cyber attacks

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…As hackers make off with $12bn

Following reports that cyber thieves stole $12bn from global financial institutions in the last 20 years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called on Central Banks across the globe and financial institutions to strengthen resilience in the financial sector by developing an adequate national cybersecurity strategy accompanied by effective regulation and supervisory capacity.

This was contained in the April 2024 Rising Cyber Threats Pose Serious Concerns for Financial Stability report released by The Bretton Wood institution.

The report noted that greater digitalization and heightened geopolitical tensions imply that the risk of a cyberattack with systemic consequences has risen

The fund expressed concern that the rising incidents of cyberattacks on financial institutions globally could affect confidence in the financial system and destabilise economies while expressing worries that cyberattacks have more than doubled since the pandemic.

“Financial firms have reported significant direct losses, totaling almost $12 billion since 2004 and $2.5 billion since 2020,” the IMF stated.

According to the body, financial firms, given the large amounts of sensitive data and transactions they handle, are often targeted by criminals seeking to steal money or disrupt economic activity.

“Attacks on financial firms account for nearly one-fifth of the total, of which banks are the most exposed. Incidents in the financial sector could threaten financial and economic stability if they erode confidence in the financial system, disrupt critical services, or cause spillovers to other institutions.

“Cyber incidents that disrupt critical services like payment networks could also severely affect economic activity. For example, a December attack at the Central Bank of Lesotho disrupted the national payment system, preventing transactions by domestic banks,” IMF stated.

As part of measures proposed to guide against the attacks, the fund called for the periodic assessment of the cybersecurity landscape and identifying potential systemic risks from interconnectedness and concentrations, including from third-party service providers.

It further called for the encouragement of cyber “maturity” among financial sector firms, including board-level access to cybersecurity expertise, as supported by the chapter’s analysis which suggests that better cyber-related governance may reduce cyber risk.

Improving cyber hygiene of firms—that is, their online security and system health (such as antimalware and multifactor authentication)—and training and awareness.

Prioritising data reporting and collection of cyber incidents, and sharing information among financial sector participants to enhance their collective preparedness.

Noting that attacks often emanate from outside a financial firm’s home country and proceeds can be routed across borders, the IMF said international cooperation has also become imperative to address cyber risk successfully.

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Keyamo reacts as Gatwick Airport posts Air Peace inaugural London flight

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The Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo has reacted to the post made by Gatwick Airport on the inaugural London flight of Nigerian carrier Air Peace.

There had been several reactions since the airport failed to post the inaugural flight of the airline sparking various reactions.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Keyamo said, “Finally! Thank you @Gatwick_Airport. We expected this on the first day of the arrival of one of our most important local airlines @flyairpeace, but better late than never. We look forward to working with you to ensure seamless operations by @flyairpeace from your airport. The Government of Nigeria fully supports our local operators.”

In its congratulatory message, the Airline wrote: “Exciting news! We recently welcomed Nigerian carrier @flyairpeace to the London Gatwick family, flying daily to Lagos.

“Perfect for reconnecting with friends and loved ones or for business travellers, embark on your next journey from London Gatwick to Lagos with Air Peace. Book your flights today: gatwk.uk/3Jb1Slu.

“And doesn’t the livery look great on the aircraft as it came under our Pier 6 bridge on its first arrival?! Big thank you to lgw.luke on Instagram for this fantastic video!”

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