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Nigeria Needs Effective Transportation to Harness Full Potentials- Jime

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Nigeria Needs Effective Transportation to Harness Full Potentials- Jime

National Coordinator, Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), Mr. Moses Fadipe (left); Secretary, National Trade Facilitation Committee, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Mr. Abdullahi Usman; Representative of Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Solomon Zaks; Chairperson, Apapa Local Government, Mrs. Idowu Senbanjo; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Emmanuel Jime; Associate Director, Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), Mr. Vivek Menon and Co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) Nigeria, Mr. Soji Apampa at the CBI and MACN Port Users’ Conference held in Ikeja, Lagos.

… As Apapa Local Government laments high Unemployment rate among Indigenous youths***

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) Executive Secretary, Hon. Emmanuel Jime has stressed the need for an effective maritime transportation, to enable the country to rake in adequate revenue required for economic and infrastructure development.

The NSC Chief Executive Officer stated this while presenting a paper at a Ports Users Conference Organised by Maritime Anti Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity Ltd, noting that the maritime industry plays an important role in the economy of nations of the world.

According to him, it is worthy of note that shipping and port operations stand out as the most important boost to a nation’s economic growth and development.

He pointed out that Nigeria being a coastal state possesses great potential to generate huge revenue from both local and international transportation of persons and goods by water.

Jime observed that approximately 80% of the shipping business done in the coast of West Africa is done in Nigeria, noting that over the years ship calls to Nigeria has improved with increased tonnage of about 140 million and estimated payment of above USD7.5 billion.

He explained that available data revealed that a total of 3, 972 vessels with a Gross Registered Tonnage of 125,133,912 metric tons were received in Nigerian Ports, though this is low when compared with the 2019 records of 4,251 vessels with a Gross Registered Tonnage of 138, 577, 463 metric tons.

He lamented sadly that Nigeria’s participation was zero, as most vessels are foreign-owned vessels.

He added that according to available data, Nigeria’s crude exportation in the year 2020 was about 1 million barrels per day with a cumulative worth of USD 30 billion while only foreign-owned vessels benefited from the freight cost of about USD225 billion for lifting the country’s crude.

The NSC boss, averred that the importance of maritime transportation to Nigeria’s economy can be measured through its contribution to the Nation’s Annual Gross Domestic Product, adding that the sector could have a direct, indirect or induced impact on the economy.

Jime declared that the sector serves as an input into every other industry in the national economy as it accounts for about 95% of the movement of Nigeria’s international trade which made 70% of industrial activities in Nigeria to be sited around the port cities of Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar.

He noted that the sector plays a fundamental role in the exploitation, distribution and export of resources, which further aids in the reduction of spatial poverty and inequality.

In her speech, the Chairman, Apapa Local Government Area, Mrs. Idowu Adejumoke Sebanjo, lamented the high unemployment rate among indigenous youths in Apapa despite the area being touted as the commercial centre of the nation’s economy.

Sebanjo decried the high level of unemployment among employable youths in the community despite the massive revenue being generated from the two ports in Lagos.

This is even as she lamented that none is coming to the Local Government, being the host community to the port.

She informed that on a daily basis her table is flooded with letters for financial help and residents have to grapple with the harassment of the social miscreants seeking jobs.

She also decried the rate at which investments in the port are rotting away because of lack of patronage which she credited to unbearable traffic congestion.

“Since I resumed this office, I’ve come to understand that there’s so much poverty.

People are struggling and have no jobs.

“For us in Apapa, revenue is an issue, unemployment is an issue.

Millions and billions of money pass through my Local Government and none of this money is coming to the Apapa Local Government”, she lamented.

Specifically, she stated that even from the proceeds of the Nigerian Ports Authority electronic call-up system, popularly called ‘eto’, the Local Government does not receive anything.

She was, however, happy that they’ve done some of the roads which are much better, but the trailers are still there. “People have invested so much money.

Look at ShopRite, the same thing with the Amusement park where you can take your children.

They have spent a huge amount of money to build up the place, but who is that parent that will say take my children to Apapa amusement park when the reality is that they are going to spend five hours on the road?

“The miscreants you are seeing on the road, yes today, the money they are collecting on the road is more than what any employer is going to pay them.

So, most of them are not ready to work.

They have seen and tasted the kind of money that they are making on the road.

Even they themselves will frustrate whatever it is that the government wants to do but if we have strict policies, people will fall in line eventually”, she noted.

Also speaking at the event, the co-founder of CBI Nigeria, Mr. Soji Apampa, said the purpose of the conference is to examine the policies, practices, opportunities, and next steps in addressing the lingering challenges in port operations which affect all categories of stakeholders in the maritime sector, including a review of how to expand the current gains and systems reforms in sectors of the industry.

He said: “The conference will evaluate the extent to which the strategies and tools (e.g. Collective Action, the introduction of the SOPs and Grievance Reporting Mechanisms (Help Desk, User Experience Diary), and Learning Management System) deployed through the MACN Nigeria Project have improved institutional compliance practices and the operating environment in the maritime sector, including the outcomes for different stakeholders.

“Key leadership stakeholders. from government, civil society and the private sector will deliver keynote addresses and present data to explain the state of port operations today, implementation of consequence management as part of a wider compliance framework, and capacity strengthening for port officials in the industry,” he said.

 

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ALI: Why Customs Attained Only N2.6trn, Out of 2022 Revenue Target of N3.1trn

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ALI: Why Customs Attained Only N2.6trn, Out of 2022 Revenue Target of N3.1trn

…Blames unpredictable Stock market, Government’s fiscal policies, particularly, waivers and concessions***

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has blamed the unpredictable Stock market and Government’s fiscal policies, particularly, waivers and concessions as being mainly responsible, for the shortfall in the 2022 revenue target.

Actually, the Service had a revenue target of N3.1 trillion, but terminated the ambition, after raking in, N2.6trn; making a mirage of N400 billion.

Ali stated this on Thursday in Abuja, while fielding questions from newsmen at a briefing to mark the end of a three-day global conference organised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

The Comptroller-General said, “non-commencement of tariffs on carbonated drinks, telecommunications tariff, among other things, affected the actualisation of the service’s target for 2022.”

ALI: Why Customs Attained Only N2.6trn, Out of 2022 Revenue Target of N3.1trn

He said the service was “hopeful that 2023 will be better if all these factors would be put in place.

On the theme of the conference “Enabling Customs in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations“, Ali said he was disturbed by the security challenges in border areas.

He said besides efforts being made to get his personnel fully equipped for the job, the service was not resting on its oars to build its capacity for effective performance.

Ali pledged to do everything to reposition the service.

It would be recalled that while the Service celebrated recording such a huge revenue feat, many Stakeholders, particularly the importers and Customs brokers wept bitterly, lamenting what they perceived as the introduction of various strategies and high-handedness towards meeting the set target!

On more than one occasion, they had threatened to down tool; and at least, on one occasion, they actually did, over what they described as misapplication of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) scheme.

Most pronounced was the ‘anti-smuggling’ activities of the Federal Operation Units, which severally waylaid, containers already cleared by Customs as they exit the ports, rechecking their documents; and often, taking the containers to their base, for another round of examination or raising of new Debit Notes.

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Emerging Border Crimes threatening Customs Operations-Ali

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Emerging Border Crimes threatening Customs Operations-Ali

… Says Customs forced to suspend operations in places considered “fragile”***

The Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, says emerging border crimes were threatening Customs operations.

Ali said this at a news briefing on Thursday in Abuja, to mark the end of a three-day Global Conference on Fragile Borders, organised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

The WCO was established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC), specifically as an independent, intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.

The conference has the theme, ‘Enabling Customs in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations’.

He said although the primary function of Customs was to generate revenue and facilitate trade, heightened insecurity around the borders had made it imperative to be adequately equipped to work effectively.

The Customs boss, who is the Vice Chairman of the West and Central Africa (WCA) region of WCO, while thanking WCO for giving Nigeria the opportunity to host the conference, said “we are honoured.”

He said the dangerous trends around the borders were increasing by the day, saying “We are inundated by this fragile border issue in the gulf of Guinea and other neighbouring countries.

“Unfortunately Customs is a hard hit because of the quest to rid our borders of smugglers and other border criminals.

He further said “smugglers for instance have become very deadly and some of our gallant officers have lost their lives in the process of trying to stop their nefarious activities.

“We have also lost properties over time and this is because these smugglers use dangerous weapons to try to deter our officers from carrying out their responsibilities.

“So, it will be foolhardy to confront such a dangerous group of people without being adequately equipped.”

The Customs Boss said the development had become dire in some border areas adding that Customs was forced to suspend operations in those places they had been declared “fragile”.

“This is a critical matter that requires needed attention and this is because if there is no security there will be no movement of goods and services and that will affect revenue generation.

“There is a need therefore for total overhaul of the service in some countries because Customs officers do not carry arms in those countries.

“That ought to change now that there is so much insecurity around us.

“One of the ways we are working to ensure that  Customs stays ahead of these criminals is the e-Customs platform.’

Dr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General, WCO, said there was a need for relevant stakeholders to collaborate for better performance.

Mikuriya said WCO a 184-member worldwide organisation in which Nigeria plays an active role, was concerned about the spate of insecurity.

He said the time had come for Customs to go beyond mere revenue generation to paying attention to security matters, adding that “without security at the borders we cannot effectively collect revenue.”

He also said there was a need for data sharing, research and development, intelligence gathering and deployment of technology in the whole exercise.

The Secretary-General said WCO was working out an action plan to help tackle the issue of insecurity, particularly as it affects Customs.

Part of the activities of the WCO at the conference was a scheduled visit to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Today, the WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.

As the global centre of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organisation with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.

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Seme Customs Seizes Fake $6m, 1,300 kegs of Petrol, 14 Intern’l Passports, in 10 days

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Seme Customs Seizes Fake $6m, 1,300 kegs of Petrol, 14 Intern'l Passports, in 10 days

The new Customs Area Controller CAC, Seme Customs Command, Dera Nnadi, has made spectacular seizures, which included fake $6 million cash, an equivalent of N2.763bn, 1,300 kegs of petrol, a.k.a Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), just within 10 days of his assuming duty.

Compt. Nnadi disclosed this at a press briefing on Thursday, highlighting that the fake dollars were seized at Gbaji checkpoint along Seme corridor in the early hours of January 31st, 2023; also noted that the command intercepted 550 pieces of donkey skin, 146 bags of flour, 14 international passports and 10 international drivers’ licenses.

The impounded petrol could fill over a fuel tanker.

He said that two male suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure. 

Compt. Nnadi also stated that the 1,300 jerry cans of PMS seized had a duty-paid value of N9,366,450.

He added that the products were seized along the creeks.

He stated that the seized 146 bags of flour has a duty-paid value of N5, 383,020.

The CAC explained that the 550  pieces of donkey skin in 550 sacks seized represents the killing of 550 donkeys, an animal classified as part of endangered species which needs to be protected.

He said that the duty-paid value of the seized donkey skin is N11, 371,511.00.

He observed that the officers of the command intercepted six Maltese international passports with the same picture of a lady but bearing different names, two Senegalese international passports, three Togolese international passports, four Republic of Benin international passports, one Republic of Niger passport and ten international driver’s licenses from two male suspects.

According to the controller, the passports and driver’s licenses were intercepted along Gbetrome base.

He maintained that his command facilitated the movement of 70 trucks under ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) with fees amounting to N1, 414,665.01 collected.

Compt. Nnadi announced that there were 81 baggage declarations with duty amounting to N4, 520,722.

He said that the items imported under this arrangement include food products and beverages produced within the sub-region. 

 The CAC stated that the command recorded only five declarations of import within the period with a total of N13,383,104 paid as duty.

He equally explained that the dearth in import was a result of the trade policy introduced by Republic of  Benin which traders and indeed the Service consider hostile to  Nigeria. 

On export, Nnadi stated that the command processed 122 trucks bearing 3,770.49 metric tons of made-in-Nigeria cargo with a Free On Board value of N523,660,496.80 and National Export Supervision Scheme fee of N2, 618,302.10.

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