FG Set To Unbundle NRC

By Frank Odinukaeze


FG Set To Unbundle NRC
From R- L the Executive Secretary, NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime; Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh; Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye; Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Dr. Magdalene Ajani; Rector, MAN Oron, Comrade Duja Effedua; and the Registrar of CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu; during a press conference after the World Maritime Day celebration in Lagos


*Debunks Rumours Of  N30bn Revenue loss Monthly

There are indications that the Federal Government,may have concluded plans to  unbundle the Nigerian Railway Corporation(NRC)in what it called three in one vision ,which might split the corporation into three different parts.

Minister of Transportation Engr.Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, disclosed this Thursday at a media briefing at the World  Maritime Day (WMD) event in Lagos.

“I want to see the Nigerian Railway Corporation that was abandoned revived. Before I came, plans were on to unbundle the agency. You can’t have an agency that it’s owner, regulator and operator are the same time. Sometimes you cant run it competitively.

“Government has invested a lot of money in fixing the rails, both standard and no-standard gauges. We can give out some of the lines to private operators to run and let the system be very competitive. This is my vision for the NRC. I pray that my team joins me in running this vision”, Sambo said.

He noted that a situation where an organization would act as owner, regulator as well as operator, cannot make for competitive progress, adding that plans were already on ground to unbundle the corporation before he even came on board as minister.

He debunked the rumour in some media claiming that the Federal Government loses N30billion monthly as a result of shutting down of Kaduna – Abuja rail corridor, stressing that it was not true.

Meanwhile, the Minister has raised fresh hopes of disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund ( CVFF), to enable Nigerian ship owners acquire new vessels that comply with International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules on gas emissions.

Sambo, expressed his desire to quickly  disburse the  CVFF to enable indigenous ship owners acquire new fleet.

He called on ship owners and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to provide recommendations on the kind of vessels to acquire with the CVFF.

He Said the need for new technology to drive the Maritime sector has not only become necessary but imperative,stressing  that no  nation can afford to ignore a sector that employs millions of people globally, which is responsible for the transportation of at least 70% of globally-traded goods, and is a major contributor to the GDP.

 He that it  is therefore imperative that developing countries like Nigeria should take advantage of this declaration by the IMO to explore more partnerships, demand an inclusive and fair distribution of global resources and deployment of relevant technology to aid decarbonization, and control of marine plastic litter and biofueling.

He described this year’s WMD theme; “New Technologies for Greener Shipping” as apt and urged governments and stakeholders to meet the challenges that come with greener shipping.

“Let me reiterate that we  all need to recognize that our commitment to a greener future in the maritime industry comes with certain responsibilities on the part of government and private sector stakeholders in the sector. It comes with the responsibility to train and retrain our workforce in order to prepare them for the inevitable innovation and transformations of the future that will certainly impact jobs and skills, he said.

He said that,”As a country, we must not lose out in the future race which will require a workforce of new skills and competencies.

On maritime institutions, particularly the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, and the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) must therefore begin to re-calibrate the curricula to begin to address these requirements of the future. Furthermore, a green future equally implies the commitment by the private sector, to invest in more modern platforms and assets which will meet the emission levels of the future.”

In her opening remarks ,the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transportation,Dr.Magdalene Ajani,noted that the WMD celebration was conceived in 1978 ,to provide opportunity for maritime member states ,and the maritime community as a whole to focus attention on the importance of shipping, maritime safety and protection of marine environment.

“It was also intended to promote IMO’s activities , achievements and objectives in the short ,medium and long term,as well as organise events focusing on themes chosen  by IMO every yea,r”she said.

Dr Ajani opined that,”In Nigeria,the event provides an opportunity to sensitise the public on the achievements and challenges confronting the maritime industry.It also provides a veritable platform for maritime professionals , stakeholders and practitioners  in the country to meet , Network Share ideas and provide innovative solutions to addressing the dynamics of the sub sector”she said.

Speaking at the event ,the managing Director of the Nigerian ports Authority ( NPA),Mr Bello Koko noted that eco- friendly port is very much in tandem with the NPA’s  resolve to identify with the rest of humanity in contributing to the share of the shipping industry in reducing hazardous emissions within the marine environment.Adding that it is also in sync with the National Agenda for adoption of globally prescribed solution to environmental hazards through the National Blue Economy Initiative.

“As a mark of our resolve towards environmental sustainability,we have created a desk on Ballast Water Management (BWM) manned by a subject matter expert to address Climate Action and Life Below” Water he said.stressi g that “To further demonstrate our commitment to matters of healthy environment,the Authority towards the end of 2020 signed the IMO Sulphur Regulations 2020 which mandates a maximum sulphur content of 0.5 % in marine fuels globally”.

Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh said NIMASA has taken some steps to protect the marine environment from impact of shipping activities.

He said some of these measures  include taking steps to ensure ships comply with the IMO 0.5% global limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships, delineating emission control and “slow steaming” areas in Nigeria’s ports and its approaches, and establishing a National Technical Committee on Green House Gas emission reduction and decarbonization.

He said NIMASA has also taken measures to address the important issue of marine litter in Nigeria waters and the devastating effects this can have on our coastal communities.

Adding that “NIMASA is fully committed to tackling shipping’s contribution to climate change in line with the Nigeria’s Climate Change policy and IMO Greenhouse Gas strategy. We aspire to achieve net zero carbon emission for shipping in Nigeria by 2050. We also intend to play a lead role in fostering cooperation between policymakers, governments, and industry in Africa towards a greener and more sustainable shipping in the continent and its sub-regions”.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Oluo in his speech expressed confidence that the state will continue to partner with the federal government and private stakeholders to enhance sustainable development of the maritime sector.

The Governor  who was represented by the State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fredrick Oladeinde gave his word  that the state government is committed to green shipping and  will support operations that are environment friendly

 Minister for Science and Technology, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora  on own his  part stated that  the world is presently shifting rapidly towards  energy transition and cleaner fuels paly Isa major issue.

He stated that Science and Technology  are essential towards the realization of greener Shipping as this woulbe to the best interest of the nations.He said Nigeria  needs  to qqachieve Net Zero via renewable energy certificates, green gas and carbon solutions.

Noting that,”All these will be realized through science and technology, but we must be careful in choosing technologies and the deployment strategies that are suitable and best projects the nation’s interest,” he said.

Speaking also at the even the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’Council ( NSC) Hon Emmanuel Jime doused the fears of many of the economic plication of the new technology ,which many feared woul borne by Importers and the shipping world. He assured that the cost of the new technology when it comes on board would not passed to the shipping world ,but would be handled in a way that would favourable to all.

The WMD event which witnessed the presence of Maritime big wigs ,policy makers ,captains of industry, maritime experts and major stakeholders including : Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria; Rector, MAN Oron, Comrade Duja Effedua; President of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung;  among others.

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