…As Nigeria slips in ease of doing business ranking***
The Niger/Kwara/Kogi Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service impounded in October, 934 bags of 50kg of imported foreign rice, suspected to have been smuggled through the land border. The seizure had a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N160, 066,700.
The Customs Area Comptroller, Yusuf Abba Kassim who confirmed this in Minna said the Command also intercepted 12 bales of second- hand clothing with DPV of N432, 000; as well as a used Volkswagen Golf with DPV of N180, 000.
“These strategic seizures were made in the month of October alone: One use Toyota Camry with duty Paid value of N3, 577,500; a Used Toyota Avencis (black colour) 1998 model; a Used Toyota Rav4 (red colour) 2017 Model; and one trailer (Howo) 18 Tire Truck, loaded with Bags of imported foreign Rice and Sugar.
Highlighting that on his resumption as the Command Boss on Monday 13th August, 2018, that he had expressed a determination to build on the success records of his predecessors both in revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities, added that his officers and men just impounded another truck load of smuggled foreign rice, whose actual figure would later be ascertained.
“On the other hand, the Niger/Kwara/Kogi Command has generated a total of N 791, 240, 411. 7 from August, 2018 when I assumed office to date.
“This period last year 2017, the Command generated N316, 517, 521. 96; being August to October, 2017, which shows an increase of N474, 722, 899. 81.
“Relatively, a total of 23 seizures with DPV of N37, 911,707.00 has been made under my leadership; while the same period last year (August to October, 2017) the Command had a total of 25 seizures with a duty paid value of N51, 117,604.00.
Stressing his determination to make a huge difference, the Customs Controller said he had visited all the Head of Sisters Agencies, traditional Rulers and Customs formation within the Command to recognize them, strengthen the co-existing cordial relationship between the Command and the critical stakeholders as well as to solicit for greater cooperation in terms of information gathering and dissemination.
“The results of the action coupled with the Command’s renewed vigour in utilization of cutting edge strategies in our anti-smuggling war culminated in the remarkable seizures”, he stated further, expressing his appreciation to the media for helping the Service to keep the public adequately informed.
“Our projected revenue target for 2018 is N3.7 billion but we have so far achieved 47.3 per cent of the revenue figure,’’ Kassim said,
“We have positioned our officers at strategic locations to deal decisively with all those involved in the illegal business,” he said; adding that the area command had ordered officers deployed to border posts in Tungan Madugu, Kibira and Agbara Rofiya in Borgu Local Government area of Niger to intensify efforts in preventing smuggling.
“The order was also sent to officers in border posts in Chikanda, Yashikira, Kosubosu in Barutem Local Government area of Kwara for same reason.
“We are battle ready to end smuggling through our various strategies, in place to pave way for the arrest and prosecution of smugglers,’’ the comptroller said.
“We have also reached out to youths in the border communities, to assist our field officers with required intelligence information that will assist in curbing all forms of smuggling activities.
“The command is no go area for smugglers as competent officers have been stationed on identified illegal routes of smugglers to ensure their arrest and prosecution’’, he concluded.
In the meantime, with low scores and minor improvements in some key indices, the World Bank has ranked Nigeria 146th, down by a spot, as one of the countries with least difficulties in doing business.
Specifically, the nation faltered in bureaucracy-busting economies, especially in the areas of property registration and insolvency resolution while minimal improvements were recorded in construction permits, contract enforcement and payment of taxes, according to the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking.
With no clear signs of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, the World Poverty Clock, created by Vienna-based World Data Lab, indicated the rise in number of people living in extreme poverty in the country.
The figure rose from 86.9 million people in June this year to 88,013, 221.
The number represents 44.4 per cent of the nation’s 198 million population.
In the report entitled, Doing Business 2019: A Year of Record Reforms, Rising, and released yesterday, Nigeria had moved 24 places from its 2016 spot of 169th to 145th in 2017 while in the 2018 edition, it lost the position to Mali.
The global financial institution said it tracked 314 reforms by 128 governments across the world.
The survey ranked 190 economies taking into account trading regulations, property rights, contract enforcement, investment laws as well as availability of credit and a number of other factors.
According to the document, 107 reforms were carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa, a record for the region.
“Nigeria carried out four reforms which included making Starting a Business easier in Kano and Lagos, the two cities covered by Doing Business,” a regional press release by the bank read.
It went further: “Getting Electricity and Trading Across Borders also saw reforms in the two cities.
In addition, Lagos made Enforcing Contracts easier by issuing new rules of civil procedure for small claims courts, while Kano, in a negative move, made property registration less transparent by no longer publishing online the fee schedule and list of documents necessary to transfer a property.”
The group’s president, Jim Yong Kim, noted:
“Governments have the enormous task of fostering an environment where entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises can thrive.
“Sound and efficient business regulations are critical for entrepreneurship and a thriving private sector. Without them, we have no chance to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity around the world.”
Additional report from Guardian NG