…As Nigeria begins enforcement of ‘palletization of cargoes’ January 2018 over Arms Importation ***
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has said inflation rate declined by about 15 per cent over the past 11 months as fiscal and monetary reforms continue to impact positively on the Nigerian economy.
Delivering the 47th Convocation Lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN) entitled “A Mindset for Succeeding in Today’s Nigeria” yesterday, Emefiele pointed out that inflation had declined from a peak of 18.7 per cent in January 2017 to 15.9 per cent in November.
The apex bank chief lauded the improvements in the macro economy noting that the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) recovered after five quarters of continuous contraction, recording positive growth of 0.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively in second and third quarters of 2017.
He added that the exchange rate has appreciated significantly from N525/$1 in February 2017 to about N360/$1 now, tapering premium across various windows and segments of the market.
“Foreign exchange supply has improved since the establishment of the Investors & Exporters Window, with autonomous inflows of over $10 billion through this window alone from April 2017 to date. Foreign Exchange Reserve has recovered significantly from a low of just over $23 billion in October 2016 to about $35.2 billion by November 27, 2017,” Emefiele said.
He pointed out that the World Bank’s “Doing Business Indicators” for 2018 indicated improvement in Nigerian macro economy as Nigeria rose by 24 places to rank 145 out of 190 countries.
According to him, there has been a significant boost in local production, which is due to CBN’s development finance efforts and the dogged implementation of its foreign exchange policies.
“Today many local manufacturers are reporting major boosts to their revenue and profit,” Emefiele said.
Emefiele said that the growing Nigerian population presents additional opportunities for economic empowerment for Nigerians.
He noted that Nigeria is now estimated to have a population of over 180 million people and this population is predicted by the United Nations to grow to 398 million people in 2050, which would make Nigeria, the third largest in the world by that time.
According to him, the population trend presents a significant opportunity for Nigerian graduates to turn whatever challenge they may be facing into opportunities that can harness these demographic shifts.
“Imagine what would happen if Nigeria and Nigerians cannot provide food, shelter, clothing, health, education, and other basic things for this teeming population. Even though these trends should already begin to bother current leaders in our country today, I believe that young Nigerians can begin today to see these trends as opportunities and think of what they can do take advantage of the situation,” Emefiele said.
In the meantime, days after the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali, accused shipping companies of aiding importation of arms into the country, the federal government has directed all containerized cargoes coming into Nigeria to be on a pallet.
The advocacy for palletization of cargoes, according to the government, would aid manual examination of consignment while it awaits the installation of functional scanners in both seaports and land border stations.
Also, according to the federal government, it would help in forestalling further importation of illicit goods.
On Thursday, at a sensitization workshop on revised import and export guidelines organised by the Ministry of Finance in Lagos, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, directed all stakeholders directly involved in the export and import trade value chains to be acquainted with export and import guidelines to avoid sanction.
In her speech, Mrs Adeosun pointed out government’s stance on compliance. She posited that any stakeholder found culpable violating the guidelines would be sanctioned.
“Furthermore, in order to ensure quick clearance of import at the Nigerian ports and borders, the additional responsibilities assigned to the relevant government agencies would be carried out in a well-coordinated and collaborated manner, while the sanctions specified for non-compliance with the provisions of the guidelines would be strictly and impartially applied across board.”
The minister, who was represented by the director of Home Finance, Olubunmi Siyanbola, reiterated government’s resolve on cargo scanning machines. She added that “government is working relentlessly to quickly put in order the scanning system so as to eliminate manual examination of goods and the associated delays.”
At least, 2,671 firearms illegally imported into the country were intercepted by the Nigerian Customs between January and September 2017; all the arms originated from Turkey.
Last week, Mr. Ali had lambasted shipping companies for aiding the importation of the firearms, accusing them of altering the cargo manifest for the arms and changing them, most times, to steel doors.
The Customs boss, in his visit to Lagos last week, hinted stakeholders that federal government was planning to enshrine pallet system into shipment of all containerized cargoes. This, according to Mr. Ali, would ease examination and detection of illicit items.
Harping on Mr. Ali’s position, the Minister of Finance reiterated that government is taking the implementation of palletization of containerized goods very seriously.
“The plan was for this workshop to take place earlier than today to enable us allow a three-month grace period before full implementation of the guidelines, especially in recognition of the time lag that might be required for the commencement of full implementation of the government policy on mandatory palletization of all containerized cargo imported into Nigeria.”
The minister stated that full implementation of all import and export guidelines, particularly, pallet system would take effect in 2018.
“I wish to announce that the export and import guidelines will be fully implemented with effect from 1/1/2018.
However, goods already loaded for shipment to Nigeria prior to this date will not be affected by the palletization policy.
“Let me also say that we have examined all concerns expressed by the trading public regarding the palletization policy of the government. The list of cargoes of goods that may be exempted from palletization, where it is absolutely necessary will be placed on the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance and Nigeria Customs service shortly.”
Nation with additional report from Premium