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Auwal takes over as Apapa Customs command Controller; Onne port generates over N242bn revenue in 2022



Auwal takes over as Apapa Customs command Controller 

Comptroller Mohammed Auwal, the newly redeployed Comptroller for the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has tasked officers of the command on due process in their operations.

Auwal gave the charge on Friday on resumption of office to take over the reign of affairs at the command from the outgoing area Controller, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf.

He explained that due process simply means carrying out responsibilities with due diligence and without blemish and advised the staff against compromise.

“We know how far we have gone in this area command, how the service and Federal Government are relying on the officers working in this command to generate revenue.

“I know the shoes I am stepping into and I assure you that I am prepared for the job.

“I am assuring you that from where I am coming from, though much smaller, we have done our best there and I am going to double and triple what I have done in my last area command,” he said.

He said that the command had been structured for excellent performance.

Auwal said that he would sustain the tempo by contributing to the remodelling of the port as well as the command.

“I am going to cooperate and encourage you and legitimately support you. I am appealing to you not to relent on your efforts, and give me the total cooperation you accorded my senior colleague,” he said.

He urged stakeholders to make a thorough and proper declaration to ensure the smooth passage of cargo.

In his remarks, Yusuf now the Assistant Controller General, Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and Modernisation Department of the service noted that he had a memorable stay in Apapa and urged officers to extend support to the new area controller.

“I came in here 23 months ago, and I am so glad that I have perfected my work and I am going to hand you over to the new area controller.

“It’s not an easy task, but with your support, perseverance, and zeal, determination to achieve our mandate, we have successfully fit into that shoe and I urge you to support the next area controller.

“The responsibility of a leader is to mentor and ensure compliance and along the line build up a successor that can be groomed and become a leader of tomorrow.

“I have seen a lot of hope in the officers, so many of you will be going to a long place and many of you have a very high passion for the job, please do keep it up, don’t relent and avoid disruption by any means,” he said.

Yusuf urged the officers to carry out their duties diligently without compromising standards.

“We have successfully made lots of achievements, we met the command with a revenue figure of N520 billion. With your determination and effort, we were able to generate N820 billion in 2021, from there to N1.02 trillion in 2022, a feat achieved by you all.

“We made some classical seizures of pentagon drugs, cocaine, tramadol and others.

“In the year 2021, we made 103 seizures and in 2022, 125 seizures, which are containerised cargoes. These cargoes could have found their way into the society without your intervention and other government agencies in the port.

“We have a coordinated synergy within ourselves here, we track and trace every illicit drug in this command, so kindly keep it up and continue with this. Apapa is a no-go area for any illicit importation,” he said.

He also urged illicit traders to be aware of losing their investments.

“I am sure it will be tougher with them with the incoming controller.

“I want our new controller to continue with the modeling in the command as it has made officers work more productively.

“I thank all stakeholders who contributed immensely to the remodelling in the command and this shows the kind of synergy between customs, stakeholders and other government agencies in the port,” he said.

 In another development, the Nigeria Customs Service Area 2 Command, Onne Seaport in Rivers has generated a total sum of N242,090,629,309.29 in the 2022 fiscal year.

The Comptroller, Mr. Auwal Muhammad, disclosed this on Thursday in Onne, during his official handing over to the newly deployed Comptroller, Mr. Baba Imam.

Muhammad said that the figure represented an increase of 28.3 percent.

Highlighting some of the command’s achievements, Muhammad attributed his administration’s success to robust synergy among officers and relevant stakeholders in the command.

According to him, the Nigerian Customs Service, Onne port is a revenue-generating command with statutory function covering vast anti-smuggling activities and also serving as an export point for goods.

“Comparatively, when I took over in Sept. 2020, total revenue of N118 billion was generated by the command, and in 2021, an improved revenue to the tune of N188.6 billion representing more than N54 billion increase was generated by the command.

“This constant increase became possible following the introduction of improved revenue generation structures which has enabled the command to achieve as much as the total sum of N242,090,629,309.29 in 2022,” he said.

The Comptroller also attributed the successes so far recorded to aggressive operational activities where all cargoes are subject to 100 percent examination except where interventions became necessary.

“Our ability to thoroughly examine containers has also helped us prevent passage of contraband and unwholesome goods, as well as record high profile seizures by the command.

“The command recorded a total of 51 seizures with a duty paid value amounting to N1,764,303,008.9 in 2022,” he added.

Responding, the new Comptroller promised to leverage existing cooperation aimed at promoting the agency’s mandate.

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FISHING: Maritime expert, Edodo-Emore tasks FG on advantages in ocean resources



FISHING: Maritime expert, Edodo-Emore tasks FG on advantages in ocean resources

A Maritime industry expert, Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to secure and harness the advantages of the nation’s ocean resources.

Edodo-Emore, Chairman, Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd., made her observation in Lagos, stressing that illegal, undocumented and unregulated fishing that occurs in the country‘s waterways needed to be checked, in addition to securing the ocean resources.

“The competition facing the Nigerian fishermen in the fishing industry in Nigeria is enormous. One is that industrial fishing organisations from different continents come to take advantage of our oceans.

“It requires us to be alert, our security apparatus needs to be alive and alert to make sure that our oceans and its resources are protected.

“It is important for government to know that there is need to educate and train its people, to be able to take advantage of the ocean resources.

“And so, we need for the Ministry of Agriculture, the minister in charge of fishing, to work with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and security forces to protect our oceans,” she said.

She noted that it was important to ensure the use of technology to address some of the challenges confronting the fishing industry such as catching fish, storage and preservation.

She also said that effective storage of fishes makes it readily available for sale at any point in time.

“Technology will ensure our fishes move out of the country but unfortunately, many of our fishermen are artisanal and we need to move from artisanal to industrial fishing.

“In doing this, requires training, involvement of government, push and support from them. It also requires collaboration with other countries.

“The fishermen are already in associations. What needs to be done is to bring technology to that association and support them,” she said.

She noted that these issues affecting fishing and fisheries as well as the country’s ocean resources would be addressed at the Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting (MBRBM), scheduled for April 13 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island.

According to her, the aim of the MBRBM is to bring users and suppliers of Nigerian maritime and aquacultural services together to share ideas and explore opportunities in Nigeria’s Blue Economy.

She listed some notable personalities for the roundtable including Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director General of NIMASA, Abisola Olusanya, Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State, Benedette Okonkwo, President, Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) and many others.

The benefits of the meeting are: visibility, growth, networking, impartation and exchange of knowledge and solutions.

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SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice



SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has mapped out plans to get rid of quacks involved in management system practice in the country.

Its Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, made this known on Thursday at a one-day stakeholders’ engagement for the National Register for Conformity Assessment Practitioners (NRCAP) in Lagos.

Salim said the move would put an end to unscrupulous individuals who shortchanged companies and individuals.

According to him, the quacks lacked the required competency to operate in the management system space.

Salim said that conformity assessment practice was central to the sustenance of commercial success and continuity in all sectors.

He said that management system practitioners were vital toward ensuring that practices carried out by the industries “are in alignment with the international best practice in terms of the expectations of existing conformity assessment standards”.

“It is in view of the importance of the authenticity and traceability of products and services to meet the requirements of relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards and other approved specifications.

“SON seeks to pursue the implementation of Part II, Section 4(d) and Part III, Section 5 of the SON Act No.14 of 2015.

“Via the operation of the NRCAP scheme, in order to establish a directory of verified and registered Conformity Assessment Practitioners in Nigeria for all laboratories, management system consultants, Training Service Providers, Certification bodies, inspection bodies, inspectors, auditors and assessors.”

He said that lack of regulation of activities of the practitioners over the years had negatively impacted the industry and country significantly.

Salim listed other impacts including: “poor protection of genuine practitioners, unhealthy competition, poor visibility and recognition of genuine and competent practitioners capable of attracting patronage.

“Others are poor value for money for unsuspecting customers patronising quacks who deliver poor services.”

He also said that lack of official register of competent practitioners to aid national planning and coordination of economic activities that border on standardisation and quality assurance was also a challenge to the growth of the economy.

“This engagement is guided by the strategic collaboration/partnership that SON shares with various organisations over time, especially with the SON Management Systems Certification and Training Services Departments with which you interface through your customers, of which you are expected to bring to bear, your wealth of experience to this national call,” he said.

The SON director-general said that the registration processes, including approved guidelines, expectations of benchmarking Conformity Assessment standards and interests while developing the documents, were taken into consideration to ensure that impartiality of the process was assured.

He said that adequate training was given to the practitioners to boost their service delivery.

Earlier, Bode Oke, the First President, Society for Management System Practitioners of Nigeria, said the group would join hands with SON to stem quackery in the system to ensure that consumers get value for money they spent.

Oke said: “We are here to gain more knowledge and to join SON in the registration of all management system practitioners.

“We are going to partner with SON to ensure that the exercise is successful because we have a lot of companies practicing management systems that are not trained and competent.

“We are working together with SON to ensure that we remove all those incompetent people from the system.

“So that whenever a client approaches practitioners for registration, the client will know that he will not be shortchanged and get value for the money spent,” he said.

Oke said that the roles of system practitioners were vital in business growth and development.

He stressed that the system practitioners were responsible for taking companies through quality management systems certification, environmental management system certification, occupational health and safety certification and food management system certification.

“The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has established standards for all management systems.

“And, therefore, anyone that would lead companies to obtain this certification must be competent.

“This is why SON is regulating all the auditors, consultants and even, the certification bodies because we have some certification bodies coming from outside the country that are not competent, so competency is the key word here,” he said.

In her remarks, Patricia Solarin, a Consultant in the Quality Management System Practice, said that standardisation was germane for industrial development.

Solarin said: “There are so many briefcase-carrying consultants that are going around duping clients and most of these consultants did not even pass their audit test and examination.

“Without standardisation or regulations, it will be difficult to stop the quacks. A lot of companies are being shortchanged, because people taking them through certification do not really know much.

“So, SON is trying to register auditors and consultants, which is a welcome development to ensure that people get value for their hard money spent.”

She commended the leadership style of Salim for taking a bold step to tackle the challenges, urging the government to support SON to achieve greater feats.

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NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses



NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to demonstrate commitment to addressing monetary and fiscal policy challenges stifling businesses.

The NECA Director-General,  Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde,  made the call in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, listing such challenges as foreign exchange dichotomy, fuel subsidies, multiple taxations, among others.

He made the call, just as he commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and government for embracing dialogue to avert the nationwide strike by the workers’ union earlier scheduled to start on March 29.

“The quick response by the government to ease the cash liquidity and the corresponding immediate positive effect on the economy demonstrated that it has the capacity to address policies once it is determined to do so.

“Therefore, we call for similar determination and consultative engagements with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to proffer solutions to business challenges in order to facilitate competitiveness and productivity, “ he said.

He commended the efforts of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, and the Minister of Labour and Employment for personally getting involved.

He also lauded them for monitoring the disbursement to ensure compliance with the bank’s directive to end the cash crunch, of which the economic nerve centre and other areas had started witnessing improvement.

“The CBN has shown goodwill and true support for the ailing economy by immediately disbursing cash to the commercial banks.

“Also, by directing the banks to open beyond their normal working hours to ease the cash crunch in the nation: an action which could have been averted in the first place, “ he said.

Oyerinde, however, warned that the ripple effects of the cash swap policy would linger as it would take considerable time for businesses, especially the informal sector, to recover.

He said that many of them had closed due to low purchasing power of consumers.

The NECA chief said that business activities had stagnated in the last 10 weeks of the implementation of redesigning of the currency policy nationwide.

He said this had led to reduced productive output, high inventory and jobs cut, and impediments to personal and business transactions.

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