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FG seeks alternative funding to modernise railways — Amaechi

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SHIPPING: Amaechi charges committee to eliminate delays, corrupt practices
FG seeks alternative funding to modernise railways — Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi (right), at the 2021 Annual Public Lecture with the Theme”The Nigeria’s National Rail Transport Project” Organised by the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Akoka Lagos.

… Appeals to Community leaders, Civil society to join the fight against rails vandalization***

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says Federal Government is leveraging alternative funding mechanism to rehabilitate old rail lines and modernise the rail system in line with its 25-year Strategy Vision.

Amaechi said this on Friday during the 2021 Annual Public Lecture organised by Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Akoka. The theme of the lecture was “Nigeria’s National Rail Transport Project”.

According to him, federal government has recovered most of the failed locations on the Narrow Gauge corridor and also taking precautions in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the standard gauge corridors.

He said that all the new railway projects contracts were embedded with rich technology transfer clauses, capacity building and Conversational Skills Rating ( CSRs) domestic appropriate knowledge and skill.

The minister said that establishment of rail projects was to reduce cost of transportation and boost economy, since economic activity drives development in any country.

He said that all the regions in the country would have been connected with rail transportation but for lack of sustainable funding plan, environmental issues, degenerated infrastructure, theft of railway materials and obsolete legal framework.

According to him, the railway project is affected by decline of requisite railway professionals, indiscriminate disposal of refuse of railway right of way by citizens among others.

The minister then appealed to community leaders and civil society organisations to join in the fight against vandalisation on railway infrastructure across the country.

The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh and other participants at the 2021 Annual Public Lecture with the Theme” The Nigeria’s National Rail Transport Project” Organised by the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos (Unilag) Akoka Lagos.

The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike  Amaechi has identified politicising of Railway development as one of the major challenges facing the country in the government’s effort to stimulate the economy.

He said ethnicity was a big challenge to development in Nigeria, noting that rail projects around the country were built with the economy at the heart of it.

Amaechi further explained that the economy should be the deciding factor for such developments, not ethnic biases.

Amaechi who was speaking as the guest lecturer, at the annual Public lecture of the Department of Economics at the University of Lagos on Friday said Transportation as a mode involves logistics, and also responsible for driving the economy of nations.

He said that virtually everything involves transportation, adding that It was a key element in driving development of economies all over the world.

The Minister of Transportation, said that transportation had created possibilities for other sectors. Therefore, one could not even create employment without creating logistics.

“Nigerians are too ethnically conscious. You think first as your ethnicity before you think as a Nigerian.

” We have very few Nigerians, and ethnicity is putting pressure on the economics of railway construction. What you hear is, ‘I’m a Yoruba man, I’m an Hausa man, I’m an Igbo man.

” The Yoruba man is happy that we have done Lagos-Ibadan; the moment you do railway up to Enugu, the Igbo man would be happy. I call it the politicisation of railway construction.

“Railway is fuelled by economic activities, it’s not fuelled by tribe. What determines a railway construction is economics, how many tons of cargo can be conveyed.

“Ethnicity is not the way to go. Those who fan the embers of ethnicity are those who were benefitting from the government in the past, but are no longer benefitting from the government,” he said

Amaechi also said that financing is another challenge to railway development as Nigerians keep complaining about loans.

“From the budget we are now constructing Kaduna-Kano rail line while still negotiating the loan for Ibadan to Kaduna, because the plan is Lagos to Kano.

So far, the Federal Government has laid out plans for the construction of Lagos-Calabar at $11.1 billion, Ibadan-kano at $5.3 billion for single track, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri at  $3.02 billion for reconstruction of narrow guage.

“A total of $12 to $13 billion is planed for standard gauge approved by the President with additional spurs, Abuja-Itakpe at $3.9 billion in addition to the central line; and Lagos-Ibadan completed at $2 billion,” Amaechi said.

In his welcome speech, Unilag Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that efficient transportation would provide access to business and competitiveness in the region.

Ogundipe was represented by Prof. Oluwole Familoni, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic).

“When transport systems are efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to market, employment, and additional investment.

“Availability of railway also plays an important role in reducing regional disparities and improving the competitiveness of region, by facilitating, trade movement of labour, and economies of scale.

“In vast country like ours, where the population are not only scattered all over the country but are also separated by desert, forest, valley and mountains efficient, reliable and cheep means of transportation like modern railway network are essential,” Ogundipe said.

Some of the attendees of the 2021 Annual Public Lecture organised by Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Akoka…on Friday.

The Dean, Faculty of Social Science, Prof. Olufunmilayo Bammeke, said that the ongoing modernisation of railway system would not only revitalize the mode of transportation but also invariably impact economic development in Nigeria.

“Although skepticism was high as President Buhari opened Nigeria’s first standard gauge railway modernisation project in 2016, now it has become clear that the government is committed not just to the revitalisation of the rail but to maintaining high international standards.

“From Abuja to Kaduna, Lagos to Ibadan and Warri to Itakpe, it has been stories of excitement, success and of course, challenges.

“There are more to come from what we have heard from the media, Kaduna to Kano, Ibadan to Kano, Lagos to Calabar etc,” Bammeke said.

 

 

Health and Safety

MMA Customs Intercepts N5.7b Ammunition, Tramadol, Others

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The Murtala Muhammed Airport command of the Nigeria Customs Service has, in its anti-smuggling drive intercepted offensive items with duty paid value of N5.794 billion.

The seized items include fifty pieces of 9mm live ammunition which was discovered in a joint examination conducted by the service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Muhammed Sani Yusuf disclosed this at a press conference in his office on Monday.

According to him, other first-quarter seizures in the command are 1,164kg of sea cucumbers, 58kg of donkey genitals and 17 packages of Tramadol.

He noted that all the seized items contravened some of the provisions of the extant laws as enshrined in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. 

Three persons, he said, were arrested in connection with the seizures.

The command also achieved an increase of 111.7 per cent in its revenue collection in the first quarter of 2024 when compared to the revenue generated during the same period in 2023.

Comptroller Yusuf stressed that despite certain challenges, the command collected N45,232,483,528.00 between January and March this year against N21,362,752,676.44 generated in the corresponding period of last year.

The controller stated that this year’s first quarter collection is N 23,869,730,851.56k higher than 2023 first quarter collection which is a 111.7 per cent increase.

On stakeholder engagement, the controller noted that the command has maintained its open-door policy and resolved a lot of issues of common interest with concerned stakeholders.

Yusuf thanked critical stakeholders, sister agencies and the media for their collaborative efforts and synergy while carrying out the command’s statutory mandate in the state.

He also expressed his appreciation to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR and his management team for their continued support as well as officers and men of the command.

The controller enjoined his men to remain focused and steadfast in discharging their assigned responsibilities.

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Maritime

RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

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RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

…In-Line with Ramadan Teachings

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, on Tuesday, 2 April 2024, urged Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan, reiterating that only through eschewing bitterness, accommodating one another, and living with one another in peace and harmony can people achieve a prosperous country.

CGC Adeniyi made this revelation during the breaking of the 23rd Ramadan fast with the Chairman of the Trade Modernization Project, Saleh Ahmadu, and other distinguished personalities at the Nigeria Customs Management Estate in Abuja.

He said, “As a responsible organisation, the Nigeria Customs Service will continue to uphold the spirit of Ramadan.”

“It is not by coincidence that just a few hours ago, we as a nation, celebrated Easter – and we are approaching the end of Ramadan, another remarkable Eid. What these events tend to show us is that in this country, what unites us is far more than what divides us,” he added.

The CGC, who recounts the message of Islamic teachings about the synergy of diligence and devotion to showing love among one another during Ramadan, harps on the significance of devoting oneself to intensive prayers, giving charity and alms to the poor, and serving mankind, among other things.

“These are the basic teachings of Ramadan, and they are also the same in all religions that we know. Because I do know that there is no religion that does not emphasise bringing people together and helping the needy or giving charity,” the Comptroller-General of Customs said.

Speaking further, CGC Adeniyi also used the avenue to call on Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan in their daily activities. “We have a big social problem in Nigeria where many people are going hungry every day; so many people are fasting but don’t even know where they will break their fast due to food insecurity in the country.”

According to him, addressing the challenge of food security is a collective responsibility for all, adding, “The president is leading the charge through his various programs and policies to curb food insecurity in Nigeria.”

He also stressed the Nigeria Customs Service’s commitment to extending a generous hand to Nigerians in this trying time by implementing measures that will make food abundant to Nigerians. “I therefore enjoin all of us to eschew bitterness and accommodate one another in peace and harmony,” he added.

On his part, the representative of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Economy, Wale Edun, Director of Finance at the Ministry of Home Finance, Aliyu Muhammad, appreciated the Comptroller-General for organising the Iftar – which, according to him, signifies the unity and diversity of Nigeria.

He re-echoed the commitment of the Finance Minister to continue partnering with the Nigeria Customs Service to implement policies that will boost the economic stability of Nigeria further.

Among the prominent figures who attended the Iftar ceremony were the representatives of the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, DCM Kazeem,  Professor Tunji Ola, Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Mr Bamanga Usman, Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Authority, and members of the Trade Modernization Project team led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.

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Maritime

Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

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Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

…Comptroller Jaiyeoba commends stakeholders for cooperation

The Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has collected N489,614,095,022.15 as total revenue for the first quarter of 2024 , which is over a 100 per cent higher than the  N212.5billion collected same period of 2023

Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, commended the officers and port stakeholders for their cooperation towards the attainment of the laudable feat and called for sustained compliance by government and private sector stakeholders. 

The Controller reminded them that the Apapa Command of the NCS is playing a critical role towards the realisation of the N5.7tr annual target of the NCS in 2024 and as such all hands should be on deck to achieve it. 

According to him, the almost N2 trillion target the command is expected to collect in 2024 is attainable through diligently abiding by the service books of instructions like the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, government import/export prohibition lists, Common External Tariff and Federal Government approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

While thanking the officers for their punctulity, diligence, and non compromise in the discharge of their responsibilities, Jaiyeoba reminded them of the CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and Customs Management confidence vested in them. 

The CAC reminded them that the present customs management has created room for multiple benefits for those who operate in compliance with the rules. He stated that the recently launched AEO is one of such benefits. 

He described the command’s first quarter collection as a bold step towards the realisation of the target and reminded all port users about the importance of compliance, which, according to him, comes with multiple benefits. 

Jaiyeoba said, “I want to urge all stakeholders in Apapa Port to keep supporting us in achieving an efficient system where everyone plays by the rules to achieve smoother, seamless, and faster import/export cargo clearance.”

“Making honest declaration puts the declarant at a vantage position to have a credible reputation and enjoy the benefits that come with earned integrity such as fast track and possible migration to the authorised economic operator(AEO).”

” Such attitude of compliance saves time and money as examination officers would find the cargo less cumbersome to process and other units of the service including sister government organisations would not need to flag such cargo for seizure or arrest of the importers/exporters. The cargo gets cleared on time, and payments for penalties after demand notices are not necessary as no DN is issued on compliant import/export.”

” I will continue my weekly engagement of stakeholders at various levels to sustain the tempo of our achievements and consolidate on the gains from regular enlightenment of every member of the port community.” 

“As we step into the second quarter to end the first half of 2024, I am convinced we will do better in revenue collection, facilitate more trade through our port and prevent smuggling under any guise” the CAC said.

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