FG committed to infrastructure development through PPP – ICRC boss

Mr Michael Ohiani, Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), says the Federal Government remains committed to infrastructure development through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Ohiani said this at the Second Quarter 2024 Public-Private Partnership Units Consultative Forum(3PUCF) Meeting in Abuja on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum provides a platform for PPP departments in Ministries Departments and Agencies(MDAs) and stakeholders to share ideas, success stories, and challenges on their PPP projects to drive economic growth in Nigeria.

The meeting was hosted by the Federal Road and Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

Ohiani said that within the second quarter, the commission successfully issued Outline and Full Business Case Compliance Certificates in respect of key PPP projects from several MDAs.

He said between April and June 2024, the commission issued 14 Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificates and two Full Business Case (FBC) Compli
ance Certificates.

Ohiani said the commission would continue to issue OBC and FBC certificates as the need arises.

He said some projects which had been issued OBC Compliance Certificates in the second quarter included the Infrastructure Development of Residential Buildings at the Federal School of Forestry, Jos.

Ohiani said others were the Design and Development of eight Hostel accommodations at the University of Lagos, Campus, Akoko.

‘Others are the development of 240 Housing Units of two and three Bedroom Bungalows at Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s land located at Jaba, Kano State.

‘The Operation and Management of Kashimbila Integrated Cargo/Agro-Allied Airport, Taraba, and Implementation of the Nigerian National Patronage Cash Reward Programme.

‘Also, the Implementation of Metal and Mineral Operational Audit and Export Certification programme, and the Implementation and Development of the Electronic Enforcement and Penalty Management (eTraffika).’

Ohiani said FBC Compliance Certificates were
issued for the following projects which included the Implementation and Development of the Electronic Enforcement and Penalty Management (eTraffika).

‘Also the Renovation and Upgrading of School of Nursing Student Hostel, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State.’

He said the commission had also continued to monitor PPP projects which were at the implementation stage.

‘Just last week, our staff and the relevant officers of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security visited 17 silo complexes across the Federation.’

Ohiani reiterated the commission’s commitment to continue to build PPP capacity across MDAs and PPP practitioners through its training arm- the Nigeria Institute of Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnership.

He urged the members of the forum to take advantage of the opportunities the training institute provided.

‘We also invite you to take advantage of the MBA in PPP and PhD in Management (PPP option) programmes which are being run in collaboration with the Malaysia
University of Science and Technology.’

Ohiani expressed his appreciation to members of the forum for their continued valued contributions to its sustenance and overall success.

‘I, therefore, encourage us all to continue to advance with the various projects across our MDAs up to implementation and possible hand-back, as these will have a direct positive bearing on the wellbeing of Nigerians.

‘ I encourage us to sustain the shared vision of a prosperous and infrastructure-sufficient country for the coming generations.’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NCS’ bold steps to ease trade operations in Nigeria

With its poverty rate hitting 38.9 per cent in 2023, Nigeria has continued to battle several social and economic problems, throwing up an avalanche of concerns for both the leaders and the populace.

The populous African nation has continued to battle food shortages, poor infrastructure, unemployment, while striving to make quality health care and education affordable.

It is also confronted with security challenges ranging from banditry, militancy, separatist agitations, among others.

With these challenges getting more serious by the day, experts say that the prospects of overcoming them may not be so bright with the nation’s monolithic economy that depends substantially on oil.

They say that short and long term measures must be initiated if the nation is to be salvaged from its many woes.

One recurrent suggestion has been the need to diversify the economy, especially with the global upsurge in energy transition, which is expected to reduce the demand for oil.

Relying on the oil sector, in spite of the t
ransition, will diminish the nation’s revenue base, the experts have always pointed out, while emphasising the need to build resilience to navigate the situation by leveraging opportunities in other sectors.

Sectors that provide such revenue options include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, among others.

In line with this, President Bola Tinubu’s administration has continued to focus on reforming the economy to deliver sustained growth that would have multiplier effects on all aspects of life.

To this effect, government has continued to develop and implement policies and initiatives designed to generate revenue from the non-oil sector.

One of such policies focuses on trade reforms.

The idea is encapsulated in the Trade Policy Of Nigeria(TPN) 2023 to 2027, designed to promote trade as a tool for economic growth and development. It aims at using trade as a catalyst to develop a diversified and competitive economy.

While it hinges on government’s commitment to an open and transparent trade policy, one of
its key objectives is to address constraints limiting Nigeria’s potential to participate effectively in international trade.

As part of efforts to address these constraints, the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), in 2022 embarked on a journey to reposition and ease trade operations in the country through its Trade Modernisation Project(TMP), which has three phases.

The project is a 20-year concession agreement signed on May 27, 2023 between the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the NCS Board, and the Trade Modernisation Project Ltd.

The TMP is the automation of the business processes of the NCS. It seeks to simplify and enhance the experience of stakeholders in the trade value chain.

It is aimed at making it easy to obtain export and import clearances. It will also ease the payment of duties and the release of goods.

Shortly put, it is a long term rescue plan aimed at ensuring predictable and transparent processes and procedures for imports, exports and transit trade.

According to the General Man
ager of the Concessionaire, Mr Ahmed Ogunshola, the project creates the basis for improving NCS’ services which include improving revenue generation, facilitating trade development and minimising corruption in trade facilitation.

The project is aimed at automating trade operation processes using a software described as the Unified Customs Management System(UCMS), to be deployed by NCS, which would soon be inaugurated by the Federal Government.

The UCMS is the core of the operational activities and underpins the decision chain and command of goods clearance for release, in line with the requisite taxes and waivers of the Federal Government.

The automation aims to address leakages in the revenue collection of customs duties and includes Electronic Cargo Tracking System.

This system gives traders access through the UCM to comprehensively monitor their transactions from the beginning of the process until the delivery of their goods, and act appropriate where they experience hiccups.

The system also facilitat
es Electronic Port System, Logistics Monitoring System, Mobile Enforcement System and Intelligent Gate System.

In addition to providing further ease of cross border trading, its major advantage is the significant long-term impact it would have on the social and economic development of the country.

At the end of the 20 year period, the project is expected to generate in excess, 250 billion dollars as revenue for Nigeria.

This is because automating the process helps to increase revenue collection due to improved trading experiences, which would increase trading frequency and, therefore, revenue from chargeable duties.

While Nigeria gets to use the revenue to fund its infrastructure development, create jobs, address its security challenges, it would also develop other non-oil sectors to ensure sustainable development.

On the current stage of the development of software to be deployed to drive the modernisation process, the Head of the Business Section of the Project, Usman Abba, a Chief Supritendent of Cust
oms, said that all internal sytems had been completed, and final touches were being made on stakeholders’ integration.

While this is the first phase of the process spanning year one to six, with two more phases to go, it is expected that at a stage, all systems must be deployed to hardware, software and technology services.

The reform, through the project, is expected to streamline customs processes, reduce delays and cut down on corruption. As a result, businesses can operate more efficiently, and government can collect more accurate and timely revenues from trade activities.

Additionally, aligning trade policies with international standards can attract more global partners and increase Nigeria’s share of global trade.

As the implementation of this project gets to its peak, excited analysts say that Nigeria can look forward to a more dynamic, efficient and profitable trade sector, driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Alweendo commends other African countries for pursuing green hydrogen

WINDHOEK: The Minister of Mines and Energy of Namibia, Tom Alweendo, has commended other African countries for embarking on the green hydrogen journey, just like Namibia.

In a statement delivered at the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam in The Netherlands on Tuesday, Alweendo acknowledged that Namibia is not the only country in Africa on this remarkable journey.

The minister said Namibia is impressed by Morocco’s Green Hydrogen Offer and Kenya’s Guidelines on Green Hydrogen from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

He added that South Africa’s Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy is comprehensive in decarbonising heavy industry, and Mauritania’s incentive package for green hydrogen production is attractive.

‘The African Green Hydrogen Alliance now boasts 10 members. We are honoured to be in this position to learn from fellow African peers. As a continent, we no longer have to be timid about leading a discourse that is complex and nuanced. On the contrary, we have an important role to play
in telling our unique narrative on this versatile molecule,’ Alweendo said.

Minister Alweendo is a member of the Namibian delegation led by President Nangolo Mbumba, who is attending the three-day global gathering on hydrogen.

‘As Africans, we should realise that when coupled with green hydrogen, this natural resource endowment presents a generational opportunity for us to deliver long-lasting prosperity for our people and boost intra-African trade. Green industrialisation is indeed the opportunity that binds domestic, regional, and global agendas,’ he said.

He further stated that Namibia has expressed its ambitions for economic transformation through the Green Industrialisation Blueprint.

‘We estimate that the successful execution of our blueprint could unlock more than nine times our national stock of foreign direct investment between now and 2040, create more than a quarter-million jobs while abating more than 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide,’ Alweendo said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Namport records cargo milestone

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) handled a record-breaking eight million tonnes of cargo during the financial year ending 31 March 2024.

This is in comparison to the 7,7 million tonnes of cargo handled in the previous financial year, representing a 4 per cent increase.

A media release issued by the company’s Executive for Commercial Services, Elias Mwenyo on Monday, stated that the major contributor to this growth was the exportation of goods including salt, copper concentrate, bagged salt, frozen fish, manganese ore, and zinc/lead concentrate.

Bulk salt exports saw growth of 10 per cent, copper concentrate increased by 12 per cent, and bagged salt exports witnessed a 1 per cent rise.

Frozen fish exports surged by 29 per cent, manganese ore increased by 15.7 per cent, zinc/lead concentrates grew by 2.9 per cent and marble increased by 41 per cent.

‘During the financial year 2023/2024, there were significant increases in the importation of various commodities. Notably, petroleum surged, representing
a substantial 26 per cent increase,’ he noted.

According to Mwenyo, other imported commodities that also experienced noteworthy growth, included copper concentrate, ammonium nitrate, wheat, ships spares and steel.

Additionally, the authority recorded a commendable 7.9 per cent increase in the importation of goods in comparison to the previous financial year.

‘During the financial period ended, the number of vessels calling at Namibian ports surged by 29 per cent year on year, escalating from 1 636 to 2 115 calls, primarily driven by increased activity across various vessel categories, including foreign tugs and dry bulk vessels.’

The year under review also recorded an increased occupancy rate of syncrolift facilities, where repair jetties’ occupancy rose from 64 per cent to 96 per cent, while bay occupancy lagged at 47 per cent compared to 52 per cent in the previous year.

The syncrolift is a piece of equipment for lifting boats, ships and vessels onto land for maintenance work or repairs.

The success o
f Namport’s operations, according to Mwenyo, can be attributed to building and maintaining solid relationships with key stakeholders such as the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, shipping lines, cargo owners, government agencies, and the larger port community.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Kunene farmers want red line gone

Farmers in the Kunene Region have called for the zoning of Kunene North, saying the area has been free of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) for the past 50 years.

The farmers suggested that dividing the red line districts into portions would aid the government’s efforts to eradicate FMD and other diseases and maintained that the fence deprives them of the lucrative meat market Southerners enjoy.

These sentiments were expressed by Ben Kapi, vice president of the Ngatuuane Farmers Union during an oversight visit and consultative meeting with stakeholders in the Kunene Region arranged by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Administration on Monday in Opuwo.

Kapi, on behalf of the farmers, urged all parties concerned to devise long-term solutions, including effective animal disease management methods, before demolishing the fence, asserting that Kunene should be designated independently considering it is free of FMD.

He stated that while the red line, or veterinary cordon fence, was erected per i
nternational animal health regulations to prevent the spread of diseases, it should be dismantled to safeguard the meat sector and increase sales north of the red line.

‘The red line residents have been treated unfairly compared to other farmers. What we want is the same treatment for us to also enjoy the market,’ he said.

According to Kapi, farmers gave the government several optionis to boost the meat market within the red line, including the quarantining of animals before sales and fencing and zoning of disease-prone areas such as the Zambezi, Kavango East, and West regions.

In response, Natangwe Ithete, head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Administration, stated that the government’s goal is to eliminate the red line.

‘We also want this fence to go and it will go, however, if we should decide now to remove the fence, our meat sales might be affected as our buyers might be affected as per the international standards with regards to livestock health, but what I can promise is th
at the fence will go,’ stated Ithete.

The red line separates northern Namibia from the central and southern parts of the country and envelopes several northern regions, including Oshana, Kavango East, Omusati, Zambezi, Omaheke, Kunene, and parts of the Khomas and Oshikoto Regions.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Green hydrogen presents opportunity for Africa to embrace green technologies: Mbumba

WINDHOEK: Namibian President Nangolo Mbumba believes that the current century presents a significant opportunity for Namibia and other African nations to embrace new, cleaner and green technologies.

This, he said, will result in job creation, poverty reduction, and the development of inclusive, peaceful, and stable societies.

President Mbumba made these remarks in a speech he delivered on Tuesday at the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

He emphasised that the Namibian Government, in collaboration with national and international stakeholders, is leading efforts to unlock the immense potential of green hydrogen.

The president told the summit that Namibia is now home to nine hydrogen projects. These projects span two emerging hydrogen valleys, with the possibility of establishing a third valley based on its abundant iron ore potential, according to Mbumba.

‘Green hydrogen offers opportunities beyond just clean molecule production, it holds the potential to anchor new industries in emerg
ing markets across the globe. Namibia has always harboured a desire to become an indispensable logistics hub to the southern African region,’ he said.

He added that Namibia’s newly developed green industrialisation blueprint ‘further illustrates how green hydrogen can be used to add value to minerals sourced from within our borders and indeed, the continent.’

‘In Namibia, we plan to produce green direct reduced iron, a key low carbon ingredient that promises to decarbonise the steel industry, which according to the international energy agency contributes to more than 8 per cent of global emissions,’ said Mbumba.

Meanwhile, Namibia is showcasing its green hydrogen potential at the three-day global hydrogen event, which started on Monday.

The government through the Green Hydrogen Council is hosting its inaugural exhibition, featuring the Daures Green Hydrogen Village as a notable industry highlight.

This project, expected to become operational in July 2024, is the most advanced hydrogen project in Namibia
and will produce renewable energy, hydrogen, and ammonia.

Meanwhile, President Mbumba invited the international community to the African Global Green Hydrogen Summit to be hosted by Namibia in September 2024.

‘At that event, we shall look to not only showcase what Namibia has delivered in terms of our green hydrogen ecosystem, but also the efforts of our peer nations on the continent,’ he said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency