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Customs Service commences vehicles duty verification Monday

Written by Maritime First
  • INTELS acquires N1.8b crane, largest in Africa

The Nigerian Customs Service will today commence the verification of all vehicles in the country to track those with genuine from fake documents.

In a circular released early this month, the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, approved a grace period of one month – 13th March to – 12th April – for owners of all vehicles in the country whose customs duty had not been paid to make the payment.

The service advised all motor dealers and private owners of such vehicles to visit the nearest customs office nationwide to verify and pay the appropriate duty on them. The order by the customs authorities has, however generated serious controversy among vehicle owners and other stakeholders.

The Senate has also called for the suspension of the exercise and summoned the Customs boss, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) to appear before it tomorrow, Tuesday. The NCS is, however insisting on its stand but with 60 percent duty rebate on all vehicles that are of 2015 model and below. After the deadline, the NCS said it would mount an aggressive anti-smuggling operation, not only at the borders but all roads nationwide to impound any vehicle that did not have appropriate duty papers and prosecute its owner.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all private car owners who are not sure of the authenticity of their vehicles’ customs documents can also approach the zonal offices to verify their status with a view to complying with the provision of the law,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, a group called Vehicle Owners Association of Nigeria (VOAN) has issued a seven days’ ultimatum to the Nigerian Customs Service to withdraw the directive that all vehicles whose customs duty have not been paid to have that done within one month.

The group, in a letter to the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service through its solicitor, Tolu Babaleye, said the policy was ill-timed, ill-conceived and directed at the wrong set of people in the country, adding that it would unleash hardship on vehicle owners and also pit the government against the general public.

The group said the buck of failure to pay customs duty on imported vehicles should not be laid on the innocent vehicle owners but rather the dealers who imported those vehicles should be held responsible for circumventing customs checks “probably through the connivance of some customs officers.”

In the meantime, in line with its commitment to making Nigeria the hub of Oil and Gas logistics services in Africa, INTELS Nigeria Limited has acquired a 600-tonne Liebherr crane worth $6 million (about N1.83 billion).

The crane which has been deployed, is reputed to be one of the largest port handling equipment in the world.

INTELS’ Head of Administration and General Services,  Chibuisi Onyebueke, said the crane, which sits on 104 tyres, is capable of lifting cargoes as heavy as 208 tonnes with a 17-metre boom outreach.

“The crane is characterised by rapid and efficient handling of loads up to 208 tonnes. With its extensive boom outreach, the LHM 600 is the ideal cargo handling solution for the type of very large and ultra large ships operating across the world today,” he said.

He said the huge crane, fondly called ‘Big Mama’ at the port, was acquired in addition to several other existing cargo handling equipment at the Onne Federal Lighter Terminal and Federal Ocean Terminal.

According to him, the crane is fully operated by Nigerians, who have been trained on its handling and maintenance.

Onyebueke, who conducted some media  executives round the  Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone last week, said Onne was established to serve as a single loading location for the Oil and Gas industry, adding that INTELS was working with relevant government agencies to accomplish that purpose.

The Oil and Gas Service Centre, he said, has improved personnel’s efficiency in the industry, while saving downtime on offshore rigs, and providing quick responses in the event of emergency.

“It also provides the opportunity for better physical monitoring and follow up of equipment in stock, modularisation of areas and better control of supply vessels for the oil and gas industry,” he said, adding that, INTELS tailored its services, facilities and operations to support activities in the oil and gas industry.

“The highly technical facilities required to support oil and gas related operations also require special equipment and highly skilled manpower to manage such operations, which therefore, led to higher level of investments by INTELS relative to competitors,” he said.

Onyebueke also said INTELS  remained fully committed to maximising in a sustainable manner the use of indigenous human resources, materials, equipment and services in its operations without compromising the company’s values, quality, health, safety and environment standards.

He said: “As a Nigerian company, INTELS is committed to maximising the participation of Nigerian businesses and local contractors in its operations, in compliance with the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010.”

The signing into law of the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry Content Development Act, otherwise referred to as the “Local Content Act” in 2010, he said, was in line with the expectations of INTELS, “as the issue of Nigerian content has been central to the company’s development strategy”.

The company, according to him, has actively supported its host communities through supporting sustainable projects and comprehensive corporate social responsibility programmes, adding that the logistic company has committed billions of naira to road construction, provision of street lights, ultra-modern markets/lock-up shops and ICT centres in various parts of the Niger Delta.

Other projects undertaken by INTELS include renovation of school, provision of civic centres, youth secretariats, jetty restoration, women empowerment projects and medical outreach.

INTELS Nigeria Limited provides comprehensive integrated logistics services to the oil and gas industry. It operates in major government-owned port facilities and Free Zones in Nigeria, among others.

At present, INTELS is leading the Nigerian Oil and Gas logistics support industry as a core logistics service provider through its skill, efficiency, integrity and quality of service.

The organization has 30 years of experience in ports management and terminal logistics support services in shore bases across Nigeria, applying the “One Stop Shop” solution under its Oil Service Centre Concept.

In 2006, INTELS was awarded concession by the Federal Government to operae Terminal A (Federal Ocean Terminal) and Terminal B (Federal Lighter Terminal) at the Onne Port Complex, which houses the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone. It also operates terminals in Warri, Calabar and Apapa ports.

INTELS has received several local and international awards and commendation. Recently, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) – which is a government agency under the Federal Ministry of Transportation – commended INTELS Nigeria Limited for its huge investment and commitment to the development of port operations in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, said INTELS deserved the recognition because of its defining role in the provision of integrated logistics services in the Nigerian maritime, oil and gas industries.

The Citizen with additional report from Nation

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Maritime First