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FG Bans Importation of Vehicles Through the Land Borders



  • Terminal operators applaud ban, Seek reduction in Customs duty on vehicles 
  • As Shippers, NPA plan to unveil single window at ports

The Federal Government has placed a blanket ban on Importation of vehicles into Nigeria, through the land Borders, with effect from January 1, 2017.

The Nigeria Customs Service image maker, Deputy Comptroller of Customs,  Wale Adeniyi who confirmed this also noted that the prohibition order which covers all vehicles, whether new or used ‘tokunboh’ vehicles was sequel to a Presidential Directive, restricting all vehicle imports to Nigeria Sea Ports only, just like an earlier one issued on rice.

DC Adeniyi Wale

DC Adeniyi Wale

“The restriction on importation of vehicles follows that of Rice, whose imports have been banned through the land Borders since April 2016.

“Importers of vehicles through the land borders are requested to utilize the grace period up till 31st December 2016 to clear their vehicle imports landed in neighbouring Ports”, DC Adeniyi stated further..

Meanwhile, the Seaport Terminal Operators of Nigeria (STOAN) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for banning importation of vehicles into the country through the land borders.

STOAN Chairman, Princess Vicky Haastrup, while reacting to the ban announced by the Federal Government on Monday said the move, if well implemented by the Nigeria Customs Service, will reduce the smuggling of vehicles into Nigeria and revive the operations of Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) terminals in the country, a specialized terminal services that handle all types of vehicles.

Princess Haastrup also asked the government to take a step further by scrapping the high import duty regime imposed on vehicles by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013.

“We are confident of the ability of President Muhammadu Buhari to turn the economy around. The earlier ban on importation of rice, and now of vehicles, through the land borders is a welcome development.

“We are happy that the President has listened to our appeal to reverse incongruous policies inherited by his government from the former administration and which have deprived Nigerian ports of cargoes to the advantage of the ports of neighbouring countries.

“In addition to this ban through the land borders, we appeal to the President to return the import duties on vehicles to 20% from the prohibitive 70% tariff imposed by the former administration.

“The reversal to the old tariff will serve as an incentive for Nigerians to import legitimately through the seaports and make appropriate payments to government. This will boost revenue collection by the Nigeria Customs Service. It will also lead to the return of lost jobs at the affected ports.

“We also appeal to Customs officers at the border posts to support the Federal Government and the NCS leadership by ensuring that no smuggled vehicle finds its way into the country through the land borders from 1st January 2017 when the new policy is expected to come into effect,” Princess Haastrup said.

Princess Haastrup said since 2014 when the 70 percent hike in the tariff of imported vehicles came into effect, Nigeria had lost 80 percent of its vehicle cargo traffic to the ports of neighbouring countries.

“Since the high tariff was introduced, importers have resorted to landing their vehicles at the ports of neighbouring countries and smuggling them into Nigeria without paying appropriate duties to government. This amounted to huge revenue loss to Customs.

“The policy also led to loss of more 5,000 direct and indirect jobs at the affected port,” the STOAN Chairman concluded.

In the meantime, to promote trade, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) will introduce the much-awaited Single Window (SW) platform at the ports to achieve 48-hour cargo clearance next year, it was learnt.

This is coming against the backdrop of a directive by the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, to have a single window platform that will integrate all government agencies at the ports.

“The adoption of the Single Window (SW) platform will strengthen the port industry by boosting efficiency and reducing cost and time which are the major objectives of port concession agreement signed by private terminal operators,” a senior official of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF), who did not want to be named, said.

SW is used by many countries to facilitate trade at their ports.

The FMoF official said the adoption of SW would make Nigeria’s ports competitive in the international trade network.

He urged the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to compel the Nigeria Customs Service and other agencies at the ports to key into the SW platform to facilitate trade and generate more revenue.

He also urged the National Assembly to back SW with a law.

The Federal Government, The Nation learnt, will generate additional $800 million annually from the ports and borders, if NSC and NPA introduce the platform.

The amount that could be generated from the platform, the official said, made the NPA and the NSC to champion the introduction of the Single Window platform.

The official identified sharp practices and charges for services not rendered as factors militating against the single window and 48-hour clearance, urging the ministers of Transport and Finance to address the problem.

“We are aware that NPA and NSC are not happy over the past failure of 48-hour cargo clearance policy. Apart for the fact that the delays experienced in cargo clearance disrupted the production schedules of manufacturers as raw materials are not delivered in good time to their factories, they affected their revenue and were responsible for high level of corruption at the port as importers struggled to clear their cargoes under harsh conditions. This, again exacerbate inflation as goods were not quickly cleared from the port to meet relevant needs in the economy and that is why the need for the single window is imperative.

Speaking with The Nation in his office on Friday, Belo said the single window is a laudable initiative, which a country like Nigeria ought to embrace to transform the ports.

He said the platform would enhance trade competitiveness through improvement in import, export, transit procedures and information sharing system.

The facility, he said, would ensure that there is a paperless Customs declaration, compliance and online approval.

The current 100 per cent physical examination of goods, according to him, would be reduced and all government agencies at ports integrated.

Bello added: “The single window facility will also need to be supported by legislation from the National Assembly.”

“The National Single Window is the ultimate in port operation. But it must be multi-agencies integrated for it to be successful. The port is a transit point and our ports must be seen and used as such. That is why we have dry ports across the country to decongest the port and NPA as the landlord must have a say.”

NPA’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Chief Michael Ajayi, said the Federal Government needed to have the political will to introduce a single window platform to reduce costs and increase the compliance level of importers and exporters.

He said it was part of measures to be undertaken by the NPA to achieve the 48-hour cargo clearance early next year.

“The benefits are immense, because on a micro level, it will boost the competitive advantage of our ports and its traders on the international markets while increasing government’s revenue, boost foreign direct investment, introduce simpler, faster clearance, and release processes,” he said.

Government’s attention on the single window, Ajayi said, should be focused on the following:

reducing time and cost of doing business at ports;

simplification and automation of ports operations; and

reduction of the human interface and increased transparency among others.

Additional report from Nation



WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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