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Kirikiri: Customs Impounds, Hands Over Drugs, Films To NAFDAC

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Customs arrest 15 suspects in Adamawa for re-bagging foreign rice
  • Forex users dump BDCs as naira/dollar rates converge

Two containers load of pirated films and restricted drugs from China was on Tuesday handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) by the Customs Area Controller of the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command, Lami Wushishi.

The two containers were laden with Augmentin 625mg, pirated films and Laclox, a restricted drug that is injurious to people.

Comptroller Wushishi who presided over the handing over ceremony at the Command’s premises highlighted that the two containers marked PCIU 829442-6 and MRKU 416397-2 and originated from China fell under false declaration.

“The pharmaceutical products are restricted drugs by NAFDAC and the Customs and Excise Management Act Cap. C45 LFN 2004, Section 167(2) directs that such consignment should be disposed-off in such a manner as deemed appropriate.

“Therefore, the consignment is handed over to the appropriate agency within the country for proper disposal,” Wushishi said, urging NAFDAC to engage the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on the intercepted pirated CD films.

She emphasised the need for honest declaration, noting that if stakeholders at the ports make honestly declaration of the goods they import, statistics for national planning would improve and the country would develop a stronger basis for trade data; whose analysis can positively influence operational decisions and a more rapidly growing economy.

She assured that the Command would continue to cooperate with other sister agencies towards enforcing compliance with fiscal policies, while promoting trade facilitation and national security.

She also pledged the commitment of officers and men of the command to support the Comptroller-General of Customs’ agenda to facilitate trade and remain responsive to the yearnings of Nigerians.

The Deputy Director of NAFDAC in charge of Compliance and Enforcement, Mrs Oluwatoyin Emmanuel who received the cargo, said that the agency would still conduct 100 per cent examination on the drugs received from the Customs Service.

“We will also take the drugs to laboratory after we have analysed the contents and we are going to investigate further by getting in touch with the port of origin.

“The laboratory result will determine our next line of action on how to apprehend the importer and the agent,” Emmanuel said, adding that the agency would try its best to curb smuggling of unregistered products into the country with the support of other security agencies.

In the meantime, these are not the best of times for Bureaux de change (BDCs) operators.

They have been shunned by foreign exchange users following the convergence of naira/dollar rates at the parallel market  and BDCs for the first time in two years.

The exchange rate at both parallel market and BDCs closed yesterday at N363/$1. The attractive rate at the parallel market immediately triggered a massive influx of demands from forex users running away from the mandatory regulatory documentations sought by BDCs.

Aminu Gwadabe, president, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) who confirmed the rates, said BDCs were at a disadvantage, as forex users shunned them for the parallel market where they could buy without documentation.

“Many forex users prefer to buy at the parallel market instead of BDCs because there are no longer rate gaps. They prefer the parallel market where there is no single documentation required. That is why we are calling on the CBN to review the rate band for BDCs,” he said.

Gwadabe said the challenges faced by BDCs, if not checked,  would trigger a liquidity crisis that may derail the ongoing recovery of the naira against the dollar. “We want the CBN to review the BDC rate to ensure that currency speculators do not return to the market. Remember the BDCs buy dollar at N360/$1 from the CBN,” he said.

Gwadabe said the BDCs helped the CBN to checkmate the activities of black market operators and should be supported to remain in business.

The gap between official and black market rates started to shrink since February 20, when the CBN resumed dollar interventions in key segments of the economy. The feat was achieved after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) pumped over $5 billion in the last four months into the interbank, BDCs, wholesale spot and forwards auction segments of the market.

Analysts said the introduction of a new foreign exchange window for investors and exporters targeted at increasing forex supply in the market and allowing the timely settlement of transactions helped achieve the current exchange rate.

“So far, approximately $1 billion has been traded at this window. The spread between the parallel and interbank markets narrowed to N76.15 (May 30th) compared to N83.65 as at April 28th,” Bismarck Rewane, an economist said in an emailed report.

He said the naira at the parallel market appreciated by 2.63 per cent to close at N380/$ as at May 30th, compared to N390/$ in April. At the interbank market, the naira gained marginally by 0.16 per cent to close at N305.90/$ from N306.85/$ in April. This was mainly driven by the new forex policies and regular intervention in the market by the CBN.

“We expect the naira to appreciate further in the coming month due to the CBN’s increased dollar sale to BDCs, the intervention for SMEs and favorable forex policy for investors, exporters and end-users. The threat to this is the uncertainty surrounding oil prices. Oil prices fell below $50pb in May before recovering to $52pb. Nonetheless, any further decline in oil prices could deplete the external reserves level, and hinder the CBN’s ability to intervene as frequently as possible,” he said.

Additional report from Nation

Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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ADEBAYO SARUMI: Doyen of Maritime Industry Marks 80th Anniversary, Saturday 

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