As Nigeria is transitioning to a non-oil dependent economy, attention needs to be shifted towards other critical sectors, especially the maritime industry, so they could contribute substantially to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking at the 5th edition of the TaiwoAfolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) Conference held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. TaiwoAfolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group, said the dwindling oil revenue in recent years and the huge potentials locked in the maritime sector make it imperative for the Federal Government to show better commitment to the industry.
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He said: “The country’s national budget, in the last few years, has been majorly funded without revenue from oil but from other sectors. The days of over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance. The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.”
Despite the growth that the industry has witnessed in the recent years including development and approval of various deep-sea ports, springing up of inland container depots across the country, linking seaports with rail lines, among others,
Afolabi further noted that the sector is still facing with major problems which are slowing down its growth and impact.
He said: “It is without doubt that the maritime industry in Nigeria is grappling with various issues including infrastructural deficit, foreign exchange bottleneck, insecurity on our waterways, low level of technology adoption and deployment as well as inconsistent policies, among others. These issues have largely limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.”
The TAAM Conference is a maritime summit organised by the Maritime Forum of UNILAG’s Law Faculty in partnership with the SIFAX Group and serves as a platform where key maritime issues that border on the sector’s sustainable growth are discussed, while also stimulating the interests of university students in the industry.
The theme of this year’s conference is “The Maritime Roadmap Project: Making Nigeria A Leading Maritime Nation In The World.”
The 2023 edition of Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) Conference will hold on May 19, 2023.
The TAAM Conference is an annual event organised by the Maritime Forum of the Law Faculty, University of Lagos, in collaboration with SIFAX Group, with the objectives of highlighting topical issues as well as cultivating the interest of students in the sector.
The conference, with the theme: A Maritime Road Map Project: Making Nigeria a Leading Maritime Nation in the World”, will hold at the JF Ade Ajayi Auditorium of the university on May 19 while the Blueprint Competition, a debate on topical issues in the maritime sector featuring students from different universities, will hold a day earlier.
According to Goodness Ononogbu, President, Maritime Forum, UNILAG, this year’s edition will bring together the brightest minds and experts in the sector, academics and business to design a strategic roadmap that will position the country as a leading maritime nation in the world. She also noted that speakers at this year’s event have been carefully selected in order to generate ground-breaking insights on the conference theme.
The keynote speaker is Temisan Omatseye, former Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) while Ms. Funmi Folorunso, Secretary General, African Ship Owners Association will lead the panel session.
Other dignitaries expected include Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Executive Chairman, SIFAX Group; Folasade Ogunsola, VC, UNILAG and other maritime industry stakeholders.
The Lagos State Government, Dala Inland Dry Port, Kano and Bongas Global Synergy Ltd, Katsina have appointed TRM Insurance, one of the subsidiaries of SIFAX Group, as its official insurance broker. For the Lagos State Government, the company will provide insurance brokerage services on Group Life Assurance/Group Personal Accident, Marine Insurance, Property Insurance, Motor Insurance, Liability Insurance and other related infrastructure insurance cover while it would provide an all-round insurance service/cover for both Dala Inland Dry Port and Bongas Global Synergy Ltd.
According to Idris Wiwoloku, Managing Director, TRM Insurance, the appointment is a proof of excellent services offered clients by the company. “We are glad to have these three new businesses. It is a seal that we are doing the right thing. As a company, we have a policy of prompt claims processing. In 2022, we were able to ensure the settlement of insurance claims totaling about N580, 932,581. We assure our clients that we will provide them with the best insurance brokerage services. We will put at the disposal of these new clients our technical ability that has attracted some of the best clients to our clientele list”. In a related development, the Ikoyi Club 1938 has also extended its contract with TRM for brokerage
services of its insurance portfolio for another one year. This new contract runs January 1 – December 31, 2023. Some of the policies the company will handle on behalf of the Club include money insurance, fidelity guarantee, general public liability, plate glass, private motor insurance, commercial vehicles insurance, group life insurance, group life insurance (staff) and group life insurance (members) among others
SIFAX Group, a conglomerate with investments in Maritime, Aviation, Logistics, Oil & Gas, Financial Services and Hospitality, has appointed Jesuyemisi Odeyemi as the new Group Head, Legal Services/Company Secretary.
She will be responsible for all legal matters within the Group and serve as the Company Secretary for all the subsidiaries.
Odeyemi is an astute legal and finance executive, with a strong background in corporate governance, strategic management and customer experience. She is a graduate of the University of Ado Ekiti where she bagged a Bachelor of Law degree before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus.
She began her work experience as an associate counsel with both A. Nwuke & Associates and Ajose Adeogun & Associates. She pivoted into banking as Customer Service/Teller Team Lead at Wema Bank Plc in 2008. She rose to become the Business Service Manager at the bank before moving to Rhodium & Lambert Consulting as Service Quality Manager.
In 2021, Odeyemi joined Adron Homes & Properties Limited as the Group Company Secretary/Director of Company & Public Affairs where she provided full advisory services on corporate governance and legal matters.
She is a member of many professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; Association of Professional Negotiators and Mediators and Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators of Nigeria.
While speaking on the appointment, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group said the appointment reflects the company’s commitment to its vision of driving business growth and delivering excellent services to the satisfaction of its clientele through the deployment of best talents.
For its excellent guest satisfaction index, gross operating profit and improvement in its total sales, the Lagos Marriott Hotel, Ikeja has been announced as the best hotel in Sub-Sahara Africa for the 2022 business year.
This award was conferred on the company by Marriott International at the just concluded 2023 General Managers Conference held in Abu Dhabi.
According to Anthony Capuano, President & CEO, Marriott International, the Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja outperformed over 90 Marriott International hotels within the Sub-Saharan region in key performance indicators such as gross operating profit, guest satisfaction index and a total sales up by over 45% versus budget to be named the Hotel of the Year for 2022. The hotel management has also achieved a 39% women inclusion in its leadership position, a feat that no other hotel in the region has achieved.
While responding to the award, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, Mac-Folly Hospitality, owners of the Lagos Marriott Hotel and a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, explained that the hotel has continued to weather the storm and achieve many firsts in just less than two years of operations despite the many challenges being faced by the company. “We are happy to have won this milestone award in less than two years of operation. We are high on making a difference in the hospitality space and this is why we decided to partner with Marriott brand as it identifies with our values. Our team is motivated to continue to deliver best value to all our customers on a daily basis and we make a pledge to continue to be a trailblazer in not just Sub-Sahara Africa but also a frontliner in Africa”, he said.
The Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja located in the heart of GRA, Ikeja sets a new standard as a 5-star conference hotel showcasing inspiring and contemporary décor within the capital of Nigeria’s commercial hub. The Hotel is ideally suited for both business and leisure travellers to Lagos providing impeccable service worthy of the Marriott Brand.
SIFAX Group Board has approved the appointments of Bode Ojeniyi as the Group Managing Director, Sky Capital Group, the financial services subsidiary of the Group while Oliver Omajuwa is now the Deputy Director, Strategy & Operations for SIFAX Group.
Prior to these new appointments, Ojeniyi served as the Group Executive Director, SIFAX Group, while Omajuwa was the General Manager, SIFAX Off Dock.
Ojeniyi, an astute financial expert with about three decades of professional experience in the financial services industry, will seek to deploy his wealth of experience to direct and reposition the Sky Capital Group to become one of the leading financial institutions in Nigeria and globally.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan. He also holds a Master’s in Business Administration (Strategic Management) from the Ogun State University. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria; a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), United Kingdom and an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). He has had previous working experience with Ecobank Nigeria, Access Bank and WAPIC Insurance.
Omajuwa is a graduate of Business Administration from the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State and also holds an MBA (Marketing) from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State.
Omajuwa, who joined SIFAX Group in 2006 as a Marketing/Corporate Affairs Officer, had risen through the ranks occupying key positions including Head, Marketing & Corporate Affairs and General Manager, SIFAX Off Dock. Prior to joining SIFAX Group, he worked with Classic Beverages – producers of La Casera range of beverages as pioneer Sales Analyst; Air Separation Nigeria Limited, manufacturers of medical and industrial oxygen gas, as Chief Marketing Officer and Duraclean Gases as Admin/Marketing Manager.
He is a fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), a member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Fellow of International Logistics & Administration (ILA) and member, Nigeria Institute of Shipping (NIS).
Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group, said the appointments reflect the commitment of the Group to the company’s vision of driving business growth and delivering excellent services to the satisfaction of its clientele through the deployment of best talents.
In line with its industry leadership objectives and in fulfilment of its promises to the Council of Registered Engineers (COREN) at its 2022 Annual Conference, SIFAX Group has kicked off one of its industry capacity development initiatives. Twenty-five young engineering graduates of various universities and polytechnics across the country have recently been inducted into the Graduate Trainee Programme of Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited (PCHS), a subsidiary of SIFAX Group.
The one-year programme will afford the participants the opportunity of practical technical training and mentorship.
Speaking at the induction ceremony held in Lagos, John Jenkins, Managing Director, PCHS, said the programme was launched to address the shortage of competent technical manpower in the country’s maritime industry as well as provide job opportunities for young and competent Nigerian engineering graduates.
His words: “We designed this engineering graduate trainee scheme for two major reasons. First is to open Nigerian young engineering graduates to the immense opportunities that abound in the Nigerian maritime industry. We want them to know they can build a long career in maritime. The other reason is that the sector currently needs a new set of young and competent technical hands who can contribute meaningfully to its growth through the deployment of their skills. This one-year training will take them through the nitty gritty of the repairs and maintenance of key heavy-duty equipment like rubber tyre gantry (RTG), reach stackers and shore cranes, among others.”
Jenkins urged the participants to take full advantage of the great opportunity extended to them by the company through their commitment and willingness to learn.
In his remarks, Christopher Nnamuah, HR Manager, PCHS, said the scheme would also serve as a succession plan programme to groom the next set of engineers both for the company and the industry at large.
He said: “As a company that is tracking trends in our industry, we have discovered that opportunities abound in the maritime sector but we have low manpower to harness these opportunities. With the support of the management, we have now begun this training with 25 engineering graduates. There is a need to start planning for the future and we know that this set of young trainees will take over from the experienced ones in the nearest future”
Nnamuah further said the company plans to absorb into its workforce the best of the trainees upon the completion of the programme.
SIFAX Inland Container Terminal, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, has achieved a massive feat by recording 8,736 hours of zero lost time to injury (LTI) during operations at the terminal.
This was disclosed by Mr. Paul Linden, Managing Director, SIFAX Inland Container Terminal, during the company’s Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Week held recently.
According to Linden, after a few minor accidents recorded during the company’s first year of operations between 2020 and 2021, the terminal’s management did a thorough review and evaluation of its health and safety processes and procedures with a view to minimizing accidents in the terminal.
He said: “The terminal is glad to announce that we recorded zero accidents in the 2022 business year. This is a good one for us and we will improve on this in the coming years. I must applaud our HSE team for the thorough job of making sure that all staff and visitors comply with the policies of the terminal. Through their efforts we can roll out the drum to celebrate one year injury free work place. A special thank you to all our staff for their cooperation too”.
Mr. Godwin Okoyeaniche, Head of HSE, SIFAX ICT explained that the terminal was able to achieve this feat due to collaborative efforts of all stakeholders. “We are celebrating the 2022 HSE Week to appreciate all our stakeholders for their support towards helping us achieve a zero LTI this year. We promise that the New Year 2023 will bring more possibilities for us all”, he said.
Mr. Bode Ojeniyi, Group Executive Director, SIFAX Group remarked that the Group’s mantra of ‘Safety First’ has engineered a safe work environment for all its employees, clients and other stakeholders. He noted further that the company has invested heavily in health and safety equipment as well as training of its personnel in order to make the workplace safe.
In his words: “Across all our Group entities, we were deliberate about health and safety in the 2022 business year, and we made a lot of progress in this regard. This progress recorded at Sifax ICT is a great achievement for us and we intend to make this a template for all our subsidiaries going into the future”.
Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group, has described the death of Otunba Kunle Folarin, Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (NPCC) as a great loss to the Nigeria’s maritime industry.
In a condolence message, Afolabi described Folarin, who died at the age of 85, as a “maritime encyclopedia” due to his wealth of experience and expertise about the sector as well as his willingness to share his intellectual resources with others.
He said: “I recall his outstanding performance when he graciously served as the Keynote Speaker at the 3rd edition of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference where he spoke passionately about the place of port costs and charges in the overall port reform regime in Nigeria. It was indeed an enlightening session where he brought to bear his depth of knowledge and experience to proffer workable solutions to this recurring problem. Even at a short notice for the conference’s 4th edition, Otunba Kunle Folarin’s insights as a panelist became a key highlight of the occasion.”
Afolabi further noted that the demise of Folarin has left a huge gap in the country’s maritime watchdog space, adding that the sector will greatly miss his bold personality and intellectual approach to industry discourse.
“His death has depleted the tribe of knowledgeable maritime professionals in Nigeria with a razor-sharp intellectual bent who are never afraid to speak truth to power in a bid to reposition and maximise opportunities in the country’s maritime industry for the overall good of the nation’s economy.”
The SIFAX Group boss also appealed to NPCC and all Folarin’s allies to sustain the advocacy for a better maritime industry in Nigeria for which the deceased was noted for
As part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives, SIFAX Shipping ICT, Ijora, a foremost inland container depot in Nigeria and a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, has donated a new bus stop to the Ijora community in Lagos.
The new bus shelter was constructed at the popular Ilaje bus stop to ease passenger movement and traffic around the busy Ilaje junction which is a very popular intersection in the community.
Speaking at the commissioning and hand-over ceremony, Paul Linden, Managing Director, SIFAX ICT Limited, said the company, at the inception of its operations, promised to play a critical role in the human and infrastructural development of the host community. He noted that the bus stop is the latest of the interventions provided by the company for the community.
He said: “Since we started business here in Ijora about two years ago, we have enjoyed the support and cooperation of the people in the community. This has allowed our business to thrive. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have also reciprocated this gesture in a number of ways, including employment for local indigenes and support for various youth programmes. This bus stop donation is in furtherance of our company’s strategy of forging a mutually-beneficial relationship with our stakeholders, especially the host community.”
On his own part, Bode Ojeniyi, Group Executive Director, SIFAX Group, who represented the Chairman, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, at the event, assured the community of the company’s unflinching cooperation and support, adding that other projects that would positively impact the community would soon be embarked upon. He said the donation was in line with SIFAX Group’s robust social responsibility and stakeholder engagement strategy.
While commissioning the Ilaje bus station, Ojora of Ijoraland, Oba Fatai Oyeyinka Ojora, who was represented by the Bashorun of Ijoraland, Akeem Oladipupo Ojora, thanked the management of SIFAX ICT Limited for its continuous commitment to bettering the lives of the Ijora people through their numerous corporate social activities and stated that the company has been a blessing to the community since it started operations.
“I want to thank the management of SIFAX for what they have been doing for our community since they started here. We always pray for Dr. Taiwo Afolabi and SIFAX as a whole that they would continue to grow. Your company have given jobs to our indigenes, this bus stop is another good thing you have done for the community and we appreciate you. With this, the traffic snarl on this intersection would become a thing of the past”, he said.