NLNG Train-7: Ultimatum To Produce Waste Plan Ends

The  House of Representatives 72-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG to submit documents on waste management/disposal component of the final Investment decision in the NLNG Train-7 Gas Project has ended.

 The House  last Thursday, handed down the directive through its “Ad-hoc Committee on the Investigation of the Non-Inclusion of Waste Management/Disposal of Sludge in the NLNG Train-7 Gas Project and Other Infringement by Oil Companies/Multinationals.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Agom Jarigbe Agom at an investigative hearing with NLNG officials said that the company had failed to submit its financial investment documents.

 He told newsmen at the end of the hearing that the mandate of the committee was to investigate the environmental challenges and non-inclusion of the waste management disposal in the NLNG gas project.

“That’s why we invited them and we’ve given them an ultimatum of 72 hours to provide the final investment documents; the component of it that has to do with waste management in the train 7 gas project.The meeting was quite interactive and very revealing. I think we are making progress.”

The lawmaker said that though the local content component was not really their concern as a parliament, they would ensure it would be implemented.

Eyono Fatayi-Williams,  General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, NLNG,  who led the delegation of staff said the company wi make available the documents. “It was a very interactive session. They requested some document and will provide them”, she said.

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Seafarers Union Inaugurates Ele Operational Unit

The Ele Operational Unit of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Seamen/NIWA and Water Transport has been inaugurated with Comrade Philemon Aminayanasa as pioneer Chairman.
Other executives include Comrade Dickson James – Vice Chairman, Ajanga Ibiorika–Kalaowi – Secretary General, Fred Gbasibo – Asst. Secretary General, Ibisiki Sunday Oba – Treasurer, Simeon Imbu – Organizing Secretary, Ibitein Briggs – Female Representative and Collins Barasimeye – Publicity Secretary while Chief Philip Abingo Omubo is the Ex-Officio.
Inaugurating the unit at the Unions State Seafarers District Secretariat at D/Line, Port Harcourt on Friday, the State District Chairman, His Royal Highness Comrade Felix Tamunoseipiriala Okuru, charged the new Exco to carry out their primary objectives with diligence, decorum and dedication in line with the constitution of the union, adding that they should unionize the companies in the unit and do exploit for the benefit of all.
Felix Tamunoseipiriala Okuru, Apina VII who is also the Amanyanabo of ancient Ele kingdom in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area warned them not to indulge in any form of criminality or create problem by going against the constitution, stressing that they should know their area of jurisdiction.
He further enjoined them to project the image of the kingdom and union at all levels with the numerous companies within the area so as to achieve the aim and assured them of his support.
The Monarch thanked God for making the inauguration possible, and members of his executive for their co-operation in making the day a reality.
In their separate speeches, Secretary of the District, Comrade Godwin Dominic and the Organising Secretary, Comrade Elijah Inyang sued for synergy among the units, while assuring the members of Ele Operational Unit of assistance and co-operation to achieve their goal.
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Seamen/NIWA and Water Transport, Ele Operational Unit, Comrade Philemon Aminayanasa on behalf of the Exco assured to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Comrade Aminayanasa solicited their co-operation to carry out the mandate given to them, saying, “the unit has come to stay, so let’s work together as a family,” and pledged to be loyal and hardworking to ensure that the unit and the union get to their peak.

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Moslem Leader Cautions On Respect to Authorities

A prominent Moslem Leader in Rivers State and chairman Iriebe Yam Zone, Chief Alhaji Yakubu Idris has cautioned Northerners residing in the state against attacks on officials of the state government.

Alhaji Idris was reacting a alleged attacks on some officials of Rivers State Waste Management Authority (RIWAMA) by some waste scavengers and cart pushers suspected to be from the North.

According to the Iriebe Yam Zone chairman, the attack was condemnable and stressed the need for all persons residing in the state to keep the peace and respect constituted authorities.

“You cannot be living in somebody’s place and begin to make trouble with the people. We must obey the laws of the state no matter what”, he declared

Alhaji Idris, who also holds the traditional title of Enyika Nwanne I, of Iriebe acknowledged the cordial relationship existing between the Northern Community and the Iriebe people, expressed commendation to the traditional ruler of Iriebe, Eze Jeremiah Worionwu for his magrmity and love for strangers in the area.

On the security situation in the area, Alhaji Idris said his leadership has been cooperating with the police authorities in the area adding that of crimes, such as kidnapping, robbery and drug abuse prevalent in other areas do not occurs in Iriebe.

“If anybody commits any crime here, we immediately alert the police. We have identity of everyone in this place and if you don’t conform to the rules here, we send you back to where you came from”, the market leader state.

He also cautioned traders in the market to adopt the new waste disposal measures in the market, stating that trades carry out regular clean up of the market and urging the people to ensure proper disposal of their wastes.

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Motor Parts Dealers Union Gets Caretaker Committee

The Port Harcourt Motor Part Dealers Union in Rivers State High Chief Anthony Alaribeole as chairman has a Caretaker Committee.

According to a statement issued by the union, Chief Alaribeole and other members of the Committee were inaugurated at an extraordinary meeting held at the Motor Part Dealers Union last Thursday. in Port Harcourt.

Other members of the Committee, are Okey Umunakwe, Obumnewe Ele, Amaechi Egbudom, Chief Fridy Ndubisi , Chimezie Erondu and Simon Iheanacho Zakky.

The list also includes; Uchenna Ugochukwu, Ezedike Ezechukwu, Nze Emmanuel Ejims, Onuora Emmanuel Nwaodo, Godwin Chibuka and Comr. Nnamdi Amadikwu as Secretary

The document which was signed by the former president of the Union, Maxwell Anuomye.

The General Secretary, Aneme Okoli and endorsed by Chief Martine Ezekiel and Matthias Jeremiah as Chairman and secretary of the Elders forum respectively stated that the Chief Alaribeole-led Caretaker Committee has the mandate to among others, undertake the reconciliation of all functions and aggrieved members of the union and also carry out regulation of old and new members of the union.

The committee is also mandated to plan organize and conduct the election of new executives for the union, all within six months.

The Vortex business reporter, recalls that the Port Harcourt Motor Parts Dealers Union (PMPDU) has been enmeshed in crises and functionalized along several groupings.

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Ikoku Traders Keep Vigil Over Eviction Threat

Traders of the popular Ikoku Motor Spare Parts Marker in Port Harcourt Rivers State have resorted to keeping vigil on their stores in the Market for fear of forceful eviction.

Chairman of the Spare Parts Market, High Chief Anthony Alaribeoke who  spoke to The Vortex  on the recent face off between the traders and landowners alleged that some shops in the market  were vandalized by thugs.

According to Chief Alaribeole, on August 7, Eze our Landlord visited the area with some officials of the Nigeiran Civil Defence corps NCDC and orally informed us that the landlord harbouring the Market has been sold to some investors and asked them to vacate the land by the end of August, 2020.

Alaribeole said the traders were surprised when they were alerted that the Landlord came with some persons dressed in NCDC uniform and began vandalizing shops in the market.

Chief Alaribeole, who is the chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Port Harcourt Motor Parts Dealers Union, however appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to come to the aid of the traders and assist in resolving the crises between them and Ikoku Landlord.

He lamented the monumental economic hardship and security challenge which the action of the Landlord if not resolve will inflict on the thousands of traders at the Spare Parts Market.

The Chairman called on public sprinted individuals and others Nigerians to speak out against the unjust actions of the Landlord, emphasizing that as tenants on the land for over 40years, three weeks oral notice of eviction to the traders was legally and morally unacceptable.

Chief Alaribeole said traders in the Market have become apprehensive in leaving the market to their homes adding that the Union has engaged private security to watch over the Market.

“As law abiding citizens, we will await government reaction before take further action on the matter,” he said.

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NLNG Signs Contract For Train 7 Project

Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has signed the Contracts for the construction of its Train 7 Project with the SCD JV Consortium, comprising affiliates of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo.

Speaking on the contracts’ signing, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah, was quoted in a statement signed by the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mrs. Eyono Fatai-Williams, as saying that the EPC contracts represented yet another milestone in the company’s journey towards achieving its vision of being a global LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria.

He said: “With the award of the EPC Contracts to our preferred bidders (SCD JV), we are guaranteeing that our country remains significantly on the global list of LNG suppliers. This singular act clearly demonstrates our shareholders’ determination and resolve to sustain the economic dividends that NLNG’s monetization of our vast natural gas reserves offers our great country Nigeria”.

Attah expressed confidence in SCD JV consortium’s proven competence, adding that the demonstration of an understanding of NLNG’s business philosophy by the consortium will positively influence the execution of the project and ensure zero harm to people, environment and host communities.

The statement also quoted the Group Managing Director of the NNPC and Director on the NLNG Board, Mallam Mele Kyari, as saying that the “Nigeria LNG’s successes, since it started operation in 1999, had continued to prove its unique business model that is profitable to all its stakeholders.

He said: “It is for this reason that our President, Muhammadu Buhari, instructed through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources that NNPC as a shareholder, it must do everything possible to support all the other shareholders and NLNG’s management to secure the much-needed public confidence from all critical stakeholders, especially the critical agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria and international investors, to pursue the company’s ambition of adding a 7th train to its existing production capacity.

According to the statement, the project was in fulfillment of the NLNG’s vision of being a ‘global company, helping to build a better Nigeria.’

The project upon completion will support the federal government’s drive to generate more revenue from Nigeria’s proven gas reserves of about 200 Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) and further reduce gas flaring in the country’s upstream oil and gas industry.

The construction period is expected to last approximately five years with the first LNG rundown expected in 2025.

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Osinbajo Lists Palliative For MSMEs

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government has set up palliatives to assist Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) to survive the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vice President said the palliatives reflected the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s determination to support MSMEs and the priority the Federal Government placed on small businesses.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president performed the virtual launch of palliatives for MSMEs through the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) last Friday in Abuja.

Osinbajo listed the Federal Government’s palliatives as, “E-Registration of MSMEs/ products at 80 percent discounted rate over six months. Zero tariffs for the first 200 micro and small businesses to register on the E-platform. Waiver on administrative charges for overdue late renewal of expired licenses of micro/small businesses products for a period of 90 days.”

According to the vice president, businesses across the world are faced with the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the Federal Government would continue to adopt and implement practical measures to ensure that the projected growth in the MSMEs sector was not seriously affected by the development.

“Of importance to the government’s response was to find ways of not just giving succour and assistance to existing MSMEs but also ensuring that there is a practical and active stimulus to new MSMEs. So that the growth of this sector is not discouraged by the current economic trauma. This is our moment, and the government of Nigeria and its regulatory agencies are prepared to back MSMEs and other businesses that are prepared for the innovative and interesting times that lie ahead of us,” he added.

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We Work to Provide Dependable, Comfortable Transport Services- AKTC

Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) opened over 10 years in Rivers State, has been providing dependable and comfortable transport services to commuters between Akwa Ibom and Rivers State, as AKTC buses make daily shuttles between Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Uyo in Akwa Ibom and Calabar in Cross Rivers State.

Manager of AKTC Port Harcourt branch, Uduak Johnny spoke with The Vortex service delivery in Nigeria.

According to Jonny AKTC is a pacesetter in the commercial transportation sector that has become a dependable and comfortable ally to travelers, stressing that its peculiar services marks it out above its competitors in Rivers State.

Uduak explained that AKTC was set up at the creation of Akwa Ibom State by the Ibrahim Babaginda regime in 1986, adding that the company has made steady progress in the transport sector.

He said the company which is owned by the Akwa Ibom state government was being managed by the state government until 10years ago when the government handed over the management of the transport company to a private firm, Nsuk Motors.

The branch manager attributed the success and growth of the company to the business touch which the private investor has brought to bear on the services of Akwa Transport Company.

“We take the lead in safety of customers and that is why we ensure that our drivers are properly trained and sensitized on customer care and safety on the roads,” the manager stressed.

Uduak added that AKTC management work in collaboration with officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Rivers State Ministry of Transport and other relevant bodies, in ensuring total compliance to appropriate government policies and statutory agencies. 

In AKTC we provide insurance cover for our passengers, in case of any mishap and we also conduct regular safety on our vehicles and for our drivers,” the manager explained.

She listed some of the challenges of the transport company to include the prevalence of bad roads on its major routes, harassment by security personnel and the activities of task force officials who according to her make constant demand for all manner of payments.

Uduak said the company has been complying and paying the approved taxes to the host state government but regretted the menace of double taxation on transport companies is worrisome. She regretted that multiple taxation from states and local government and noted that the growth of business and called on the Rivers State government to address the challenge in order to attract more investors to the state.

Also speaking with The Vortex, a driver with AKTC, James Jeremiah expressed satisfaction with the operations of the company adding that its policy of safety and comfort of its passengers was commendable.

Akanyele Idoson also a driver with the company who particularly landed the training programme for drivers, stating that they have benefited from the training programme of the company.

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Trailers Union Decries Reign of Touts along Aba – PH Road

Members of the Heavy Duty Trailers Union in Onne branch, Rivers State, have decried the activities of touts who pose as task force members along the Imo River end of the Aba-Port Harcourt road in the state.

Chairman of the Union, Comrade Mohammed Umar Giwa disclosed this to newsmen after receiving an award from a Port Harcourt based media group, the League of South South Media Professionals in his office located at the Trailer Park in Onne.

Comrade Giwa lamented that the activities of the touts have caused untold hardship to its members in their efforts to convey goods to the state.

The union chairman appealed to the media to assist in informing the state government on the difficulties of their members especially while crossing the Imo River bridge to the state, alleging that the touts demand and extort collect all manner of levies from heavy duty vehicles coming into the state.

He said the Union has met several times with the commissioner in charge of Transport on the matter but that not much has changed.

Giwa said “One of our conductors was killed few weeks ago along the same Imo River axis after a disagreement with the touts who demanded for money from the driver leading to protests by our members in the area. All our efforts to get the police to investigate the matter turned out a blame game.”

Comrade Giwa called on the state government and security agencies to clear the road of the touts, emphasizing that as a law abiding Union, its members were willing to pay legally approved taxes to the state government.

The Chairman commended the League of South South Media Professionals for the award conferred on him, stressing that it will motivate him to do more for the Union and humanity.

The event was attended by executives and members of the union including the General Secretary, Mohammed Lawal.

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Loan For SMEs:Taming The Shylocks. Ojo Akin-Longe

As the Central Bank new initiatives such as the credit card facilities to boost the creative industry, is well thought but should be followed through as loans are issues of concern as many have experienced.

We applied for credit after doing what I thought was a very thorough feasibility report and confident we had a very good business.  Even at that, I knew one of the ‘Big Men’ at the top of the bank whom I could reach should the need arise.  The financing proposition was for the bank to finance part of the equipment purchase, whilst we provide part financing, and as well bear all installation costs and purchase additional equipment locally.  The bank would in effect also make the fund transfer and so they were involved in the transaction.

 In all, it would be a 50/50 funding.  We already had the business going and the additional contribution from the bank would be far less than the current value of the business.  Once we got confirmation from the bank that the credit would be approved, we effected payment of initial 10% deposit amounting to Euro 20,000.  It was our first request for bank financing so we made everything pretty clear and based on what we really needed.

After the initial deposit payment, I was to run after the bank severally.  I followed up, begged and pushed and was really shocked at the attitude.  With delays setting in, the supplier promptly wrote to informed us that we would be surcharged for the delayed payments otherwise they’d cancel the transaction and we forfeit the deposit.  We further begged and pushed and eventually, the bank ‘graciously’ obliged us the credit, they gave us 65% of what we requested.  I felt this didn’t connect so I asked what happened and was told that, that was all the bank could afford.  Caught between losing our deposit and having faith that some miracle could happen we trudged on. 

When the equipment arrived, we started installation and commissioning then I started seeing signs of trouble.  I alerted the bank; they said I should be grateful I got given in the first place.  We channelled all funds we had into the commissioning, essentially using operational funds for capital expenditure.  It wasn’t long before we got stranded.  Repayment time was up and the bank promptly demanded that we start paying.  I took every necessary document to show to them, tried to talk with that we were actually stranded and couldn’t run. 

All the talks seemed to count for nothing.  I called the ‘big man’ yet again, who wondered why we were given less than we requested stating that the practice is that a customer got what is applied for, otherwise they reviewed and agree with the customer to reduce if there were concerns that the request was frivolous or padded.

Subsequently, my banker again, ‘graciously’ announced that the total facility was granted at the first instance and they had deliberately disbursed the fund short to see if we could survive.  I raised the fact that we had been stranded for about four months.   That we had had several meetings with the bank on the situation, and that they mentioned that we were being surcharged 40% default charges and asked if that meant anything to him. He just shrugged off. 

The nightmare didn’t end there.  They eventually released the outstanding funds to us.  Then a new twist, we would now have to repay in 10 months.   We now had two concurrent loans running together with repayments falling due first, in the first week of the month and next by midmonth. It isn’t allthat, the loan amount had now increased significantly as previous unpaid amounts which earlier fell due were now charged at 40% interest for default.

I just stared at them.  I tried having a meeting with them they bluffed me.  The bank resorted to threats and intimidation.  I felt we borrowed the money and we must pay back and I was reluctant to make any case or be seen to be irresponsible, besides we were debtors and some sense of shame, if you know what I mean! Also, I felt I needed to show gratefulness for this bank’s ‘help’! 

At last, I talked with a Lawyer who was appalled at all these and suggested that I have to make the officials  understand that it mattered that they appreciate their culpability and that they couldn’t ride rough-shod over us, and that we would escalate and seek re-dress if need be.  I told him we owed and needed to pay, he said, yes, but responsibly so. 

Then I had one more meeting with the bank executives and very calmly took them through the credit journey showing them e-mails evidences, reminded them of the original request and letting them know that we were committed to paying back but it will have to be within responsible limit.  Expectedly, they backed down.

See my story.  The question is how do you grow an economy without the SMEs? And how do SMEs grow and survive without credit? How do small and medium scale enterprises access credit fairly and easily? How do we get credit within reasonable interest rates? How can we simplify credit application system and process? What thoughts do you have for financial security system that makes borrowers pay?

What changes do we need to make to our legal and judicial system to ensure accelerated judicial and legal process so that the wheel of justice will move in good time and in good speed? Are there venture capitalists out there? How do business people access you? Do banks have dedicated SME funds? What form of social engagement and responsibility can the banks can engage in to prime business knowledge and awareness to help viable and genuine business entrepreneurs build knowledge and capacity to help them better able to access credit? Do you have a successful credit application story? \

 Please tell it.  Is it true that Bank Managers actually own the loan shack businesses giving credit at up to 25% per month?  That they get the monies to their cronies and then direct bank customers to them? I heard so but I don’t know. Folks, how do genuine business people get credit besides getting from some relative or friend or well-wisher?  By the way, my MBA thesis is going to be on a comparative analysis of family and friend’s credit provisions for SME survival against the bank’s effort in this same direction, looking at the Nigerian example and using a special case study.

And you know, interestingly, it comes back to us all, the banks, the SMEs and the economy.  It works well, and we all benefit; a vibrant economy, more jobs, people off the street and yes, a safer world.

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