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Buhari Orders Termination of e-Passport Printing by Foreign Companies

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a stop to printing of Nigerian international passports outside the country and directed that the production and personalisation of all Nigerian e-passports and related documentation shall be the sole responsibility of the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC).

Popularly known as The Mint, the company was established in 1963 with the objective of producing the nation’s currency notes and coins for the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as security documents for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, banks and other blue chip companies.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina conveyed the president’s directive via a statement.

He stated that with the new directive from the President, all existing memoranda of understanding and contracts on printing by other institutions or companies will not be renewed.

The Mint is the largest banknote and security documents specialist printing company in West Africa.

However, its performance was rapidly dwindling in terms of both currency production and security documents prior to 2014.

Under the chairmanship of the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, new targets were set, and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of The Mint, Mr Abbas Umar Masanawa recounts some of the achievements to include: zero importation of currency from 2014 to date, with attendant benefits of conservation of foreign reserve, revenue and employment generation, as well as safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty.

Mr Masanawa counts the blessings further: “The Mint has returned to profitability. From a moribund organization with heavy losses, the company grew from a loss position of N14. 6 million in 2014 to a profit of N14. 3 billion in 2018. Turnover also grew from N17.8 billion in 2014 to N61. 4 billion in 2018.

“Other achievements include enhanced production capacity, revenue diversification, reduced cost of production, institutionalization of corporate governance, improved staff welfare and industrial harmony, among others.”

The Managing Direction pledged that The Mint would justify the renewed confidence reposed in it by the President, “as we are moving to the Next Level, and poised to boost national security and integrity, we will conserve scarce foreign exchange, improve revenue generation, create job opportunities, and boost acquisition/transfer of technology.”

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NEWS

NSCDC Uncovers Illegal Bunkering Sites in Rivers Cemeteries

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps has busted illegal crude oil refining sites at cemeteries in Abalama and Oproama Communities in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The security outfit said the feat was achieved by its Marine Anti-vandal Squad after a four hour operational tour on water across the two coastal communities.

Speaking to newsmen after the operation, the NSCDC spokesman, Rivers State Command, Superintendent Olufemi Ayodele, said its operatives successfully uncovered the illegal bunkering sites through credible and sustained intelligence.

Ayodele recalled that the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, gave a marching order to all formations in the Niger Delta to step up intelligence and operational efficiency in the fight against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering activities.

He expressed worry about how the miscreants devised a new means of converting cemeteries to illegal bunkering sites, saying they had already loaded several illegally refined crude and refined Automotive Gas Oil also known as diesel was sighted in boats by the riverside.

The state NSCDC image maker however said on sighting its operatives the hoodlums took to their heels though they were giving a hot chase, pointing out that men of the Marine Anti-Vandal Squad are on their trail to ensure they are arrested and prosecuted.

He stated, “Acting on this directive the Rivers State Commandant of the NSCDC, Basil Igwebueze, deployed the Marine Anti-vandal Squad to the crime scene where several boats filled with crude oil and refined Automotive Gas Oil were sighted.

‘This is the Abalama community and behind us is the Oproama community as well where Cemeteries were converted to illegal bunkering sites; Upon our arrival, the suspects took to their heels knowing the squad had superior firepower.

‘The NSCDC as an environmentally friendly agency condemns outright all acts of environmental pollution, degradation of aquatic life and economic sabotage.

“We have contacted some good people in the two communities and they are cooperating with us so that the perpetrators would be apprehended in due course. However, the quantities in litres of the locally refined AGO cannot be ascertained.”

He added, “Consequently, the NSCDC Rivers State Command helmsman has further issued a stern warning against the activities of vandals and illegal bunkers in the state affirming that the fight against oil theft is a relentless war and suspects arrested with their sponsors would be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

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Business News

Blue Economy Targets Top Spot in PEBEC – Oyetola

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

Mindful of the sector’s critical role in economic diversification and sustainable development, the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy aims to place Nigeria tops in the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by achieving ease of doing business and fostering a conducive environment for trade and investment.

To this end, the Minister, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the ministry plans to elevate Nigeria’s maritime sector to global standards and has prioritised the implementation of the national single window and port community system to automate port processes, in order to enhance operational efficiency and attract investments.

Oyetola, who spoke at the BusinessDay Maritime Conference in Lagos Thursday, disclosed that the ministry has already reported significant progress in revenue generation, driven by innovative strategies to block revenue leakages and explore new sources within the marine and blue economy sector.

Others include ongoing efforts to upgrade infrastructure, such as the development of inland dry ports and modernisation projects at key ports across the country, while public-private partnerships (PPPs) in advancing port modernisation, dredging activities and deploying cutting-edge maritime technologies remain important.

He further announced plans for the development of additional deep-sea ports on a PPP basis to further bolster Nigeria’s maritime capabilities.

Acknowledging the significant contributions of participants in shaping the discourse in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, Oyetola expressed hope that insights from the conference would drive positive transformations and propel Nigeria towards greater economic prosperity through the harnessing of its vast maritime resources.

He restated his commitment to developing a dynamic national policy framework for the sector by the end of the year, while urging all stakeholders to continue working together towards realising the sector’s full potential, ensuring sustainable growth and inclusive development across coastal communities.

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Economy

Nigerian Banking System is Stable, CIBN Assures Nigerians

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The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Wednesday reassured Nigerians that the banking system remained “safe, sound and resilient,” dispelling fears of bank liquidations.

Its president, Prof. Pius Olanrewaju, gave the reassurance in a statement in Lagos to correct misinformation and fake news that licence of more banks would be revoked.

Olanrewaju emphasised the importance of clarifying rumours that additional bank licenses would be revoked, following the regulatory action taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) against Heritage Bank Plc on June 3.

“We would like to allay the fears of bank customers and the general public that the assertion is false and misleading.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) have debunked the claim,” the Chairman of Council, CIBN, stated.

He added that the ongoing recapitalisation process announced by the CBN aims to further strengthen the resilience of banks and their capacity to support the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Consequently, we urge the public to continue conducting their banking services without hesitation or apprehension,” Olanrewaju said.

According to him, CIBN is committed to promoting best practices and ensuring that the sector remains safe and sound, in collaboration with other stakeholders in the ecosystem. (NAN)

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