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Critical stakeholders end Strike, Lauds Hassan Bello, Hadiza



  • JCOST describes Truck stickers levy as illegal
  • As CBN releases list of items valid for forex

The ports debilitating 3-day strike by critical stakeholders to protest dilapidated road infrastructure around the ports finally ended yesterday, with the embattled groups saying it was in deference to pleas by the government and other well-meaning Nigerians.

Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), Mr. Hassan Bello, NSC Boss-- Maritime First Newspaper

Mr. Hassan Bello, NSC Boss

They however warned that they might be forced to down tools again, if the Government reneges on its assurances to urgently address the issue.

“As patriotic Nigerians, the Associations agreed that the economy should not be unduly further distressed. The Associations used the occasion to commend the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC),  Barr. Hassan Bello and the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman for their efforts at re-positioning the total logistics supply chain”, the joint statement highlighted, offering Government another 21-day ultimatum to rectify all the issues in contention so as to avert another round of withdrawal of service.

It would be recalled that about seven entities embarked on peaceful withdrawal of their services, and tactfully brought the economy of the sector to its knees.

The associations included the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Corporate Fleet NARTO, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the COTAN Frozen Goods and Commodities.

Prince Olayiwola Shittu, ANLCA Boss

Meanwhile, as efforts continued towards full restoration of services at the ports, unfolding indication is to the effect that a body of truck owners under the auspices of Joint Council of Seaport Truckers (JCOST) has sued the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) over what they described as ‘extortion’ by officials of the agencies. Their grievances was not unconnected to the sticker permit on truck standardisation issued by NPA to every truck accessing the ports at N10,000 each, which the JCOST suit insists is illegal.

Chairman of JCOST, Alhaji Kayode Odunowo, while addressing maritime journalists on Tuesday, alleged that too many levies were being paid by truckers to government agencies, which in turn have made their businesses unprofitable.

“Any moment from now we will be in court with the NPA over the issue of sticker permit and other obnoxious levies and fines by FRSC”, Odunowo indicated, stressing that the case has already been filed with the Federal High Court and would come up for mentioning soon.

According to him, the regulatory agencies have contributed negatively to haulage operations, stressing the need for government to reduce the number of agencies on the roads.

The truck owners, however, stated that apart from the Nigeria Airforce every other arm of the military and paramilitary agencies of government, including the Nigeria Navy, Army, Police, etc have been allegedly extorting money from transporters operating within the seaports

Odunowo who was accompanied by the secretary general of the council, Chief Godwin Ikeji, called on the government to create an enabling environment both for government agencies deployed on the highways and truck operators.

Speaking on some of the challenges faced by transporters operating within the ports corridors, the truck owners noted that it takes five days for a truck to access the seaport in Lagos, pointing out that the roads linking the ports are in deplorable condition.

On the suspended strike action by transporters and freight agents across the country, the council chairman lamented that the body was not carried along and the organisers did not adequately mobilise all the stakeholders.

Odunowo conceded that the initiative and motivation for the action were commendable but that JCOST was not involved. However, he said his organisation is not against the strike, noting that the “council had been involved in the issue of the poor port access roads which prompted a shortlived withdrawal of service sometimes last year and we spend more than N4 million to fill some of the bad spots on Apapa road that year.

“We are not part of the strike but we are interested in what brought about the strike. We have documents to show that we have written to the government concerning the bad condition of the ports access roads,” he said.

Odunowo however appealed to the government to expedite action in fixing the roads, saying it would help to forestall incessant cases of falling of trucks along the roads as well as help to cushion the effect on the trucks.

“We want government to repair the  ports access roads, we have been calling on the government to try their best as our trucks with containers are falling down every day, leading to loss of business for the truck owners and severe damage to goods in the the containers too.

“If the roads are in good condition, it will be easy for the trucks to move goods faster and do about three trips in a day”,  he added.

In the meantime, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday released a list of items that can source foreign exchange (forex) from the market.

The list, sent to all authorised dealers, Nigeria Customs and the public, has 36 categories. It is  endorsed by Director, Trade and Exchange, W.D Gotring.

He said the list became exigent following misconceptions and enquiries across market on items that are “Valid for Foreign Exchange”.

The items that made the list include animal or vegetable fats and oils fractions, hydrogenated- not including palm oil/ olein and margarine; prepared glues and adhesive based polymers of headings 39.01 to 39.13 or on rubber; other plates, sheets, film, foil, and strip of polymers of ethylene printed- only for pharmaceutical and manufacturing.

Others are bobbins, spools, cops and similar supports of paper or paperboard used for winding textile yarn; uncoated kraft paper and board, in rolls, uncoated kraft paper and board, in rolls, paper coated with kaolin (China clay), synthetic filament, artificial filament, woven fabrics of synthetic filament yarn, including woven fabrics obtained from material polypropylene fabrics, of the type used as carpet backing.

The list also includes glass in balls, rods or tubes, unworked, float glass, coloured throughout the mass opacified, flashed or merely surface ground only for pharmaceutical manufacturing, non-domestic heating/cooling equipment, non-electric water heaters among others.

The CBN had earlier dismissed the speculation that it reversed ban on importers of 41 items from accessing foreign exchange through the forex window. The CBN said the 41 items will not be able to access forex.

Additional report from Nation


Troops Destroy 51 Illegal Refining Sites, Recover Stolen Crude Oil – DHQ



….Destroy 7 dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, one outboard engine, others

The Defence Headquarters says  troops of Operation Delta Safe have  destroyed 51 illegal oil refining sites and recovered stolen crude oil and refined products in the Niger Delta in the last one week.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, disclosed  in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also apprehended 58 perpetrators of oil theft and denied them of  estimated sum of N668.7 million

He said the troops destroyed seven dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, 141 cooking ovens, one pumping machine, one outboard engine, one tricycle, one speedboat and one tugboat.

According to him, troops recovered 267,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 567,700 litres of illegally refined AGO and 5,000 litres of DPK.

“Troops has maintained momentum against oil theft and arrested persons involved in oil theft in Bonny and Ikpoba Local Government Areas of Rivers and Edo States respectively.

“Troops also arrested suspected armed robbers and foiled illegal bunkering activities in Oshimili South and Ukwa West of Delta and Abia States respectively,” he said.

In the South East, Buba said  troops of Operation UDO KA arrested 15 suspected criminals and repelled attacks by IPOB/ESN criminals in Anambra, Abia and Imo States.

He said the troops conducted raids and rescued kidnapped hostages in Ishielu and Igbo Eze North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi and Enugu States respectively.

He said the troops neutralised three criminals, rescued five kidnapped hostages and recovered 14 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammo.

In the South West, Buba said  troops of Operation AWATSE foiled armed robbery attacks in Orelope and Olorunsogo Local Government Areas of Oyo State and arrested a gunrunner in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.

According to him, troops rescued 15 kidnapped hostages and recovered two vehicles.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he added.

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NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

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