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NPA: Bello-Koko Begins Infrastructures upgrade, Completes Apapa Control Tower

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… As Tin Can Second Control Tower nears Completion***

Determined to ensure an optimal utilisation of infrastructures, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has begun the upgrade of the nation’s seaports assets, with a view to providing the ports with a competitive edge within the West and Central African sub-region.

NPA: Bello-Koko to Push for Digitalization Of African Ports

The (Acting) NPA Managing Director, Mohammed Bello Koko indicated his vision while on a facility tour of the newly rehabilitated Control Tower, located at the Lagos Ports Complex LPC, Apapa.

Bello Koko said it has become expedient for all port facilities to be upgraded so as to impact positively on port operational efficiency.

He posited that effective communication is an important variable for efficient performance of the seaports.

“We aspire to be competitors in the sub-region. One of the ways to achieve this is by ensuring our facilities such as the Control Towers are up to date and upgraded to work with modern communication and radar systems.

Also read: NPA: Bello-Koko to Push for Digitalization Of African Ports

This would improve communication, reduce ship waiting time and further reduce the cost of doing business at our ports, the Managing Director said.

On the welfare of the pilots, he said the NPA places premium on the comfort of this very valued category of staff of the Authority.

“We are committed to the welfare of the pilots”, Bello-Koko said, pointing out that matters concerning the pilots’ accommodation, medical care and recreational facilities at the rehabilitated 9 storey Control Towers are world-class with the provision of facilities such as sleeping quarters, gym, canteens, kitchens and meeting/ conference rooms for the pilots and other harbours staff.

In conformity with the above, a second control tower at Tin Can is also being upgraded to provide communication with ships using the VHF frequency.

The rehabilitated control towers will also have updated radar and communication equipment that will enable communication between the ports in Lagos and Lekki deep seaport and Dangote refinery jetty.

Bello Koko also said we are deploying more marine equipment like pilot cutters and security patrol boats at various port locations in order to improve port efficiency and security around the ports

“We will ensure that we engage you for optimal performance”, he stressed.

In a related development, Mohammed Bello Koko has allayed the fear of stakeholders over insinuations that the activities of hoodlums at the Tin Can Island Port may negatively affect the progress already recorded by the truck electronic call-up system (Eto) in terms of tackling the perennial gridlock at the ports in  Lagos area.

The Managing Director, who visited the affected site where vandals attempted destroying ‘Eto’ infrastructure but were promptly apprehended by vigilant NPA security operatives, assured that rehabilitation work has already commenced.

He pointed out that the incident has not in any way affected operations. He appreciated stakeholders’ support, especially the Lagos State Government for the collaboration at enforcing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the use of Eto which has remained a continuum.

Expatiating further Bello Koko’s position, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic communications, Olaseni Alakija highlighted that management was using the opportunity of the visit, to declare zero tolerance to vandalism at the nation’s seaports and called on all and sundry to partner with the Authority, in the auspicious task of hoisting the nation’s flag amongst the comity of nations with efficient ports in the world.

 

 

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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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