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SON pleads with FG to return to seaports

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SON pleads with FG to return to seaports

Disturbed about the nefarious activities of importers of substandard goods, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has appealed to the federal government to include it in the inspection of goods at the nation’s ports.

At a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, the Director General of SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma said that non-involvement of SON in some ports of the nation had continued to pose challenges particularly to the agency’s compliance and monitoring unit.

The director, Inspectorate and Compliance Department SON, Engr. Obiora Manafa, Aboloma said that it is easier to fight the influx of substandard products at the point of entry rather than chasing them around all over the country, in markets, warehouses among other places with its attendant problems.

According to him: “This is important because for us at the enforcement unit of SON, it is very difficult for us to chase substandard products across the country as far as the product has left the port because, immediately the product leaves the port, you don’t know the destination. The product can be in Kano in the next one day, it can be in Port-Harcourt in the next two days, it can be in Enugu, it can be in Aba, it can be in Osogbo. So, you don’t know the direction that product will get to immediately it leaves the port.

Also read:  ANLCA: Customs Brokers are the unsung losers of war against substandard Imports- Nwabunike

“So, it is easier for us to get that substandard products at the port because the logistics requirements for you to chase the product, maybe the product has entered one big market for example Alaba, ASPAMDA or the big markets in Kano or Sokoto, it requires a lot for you to go and get them from that market. You have to mobilize your security because it is not safe, you have to mobilize the vehicles and you have to do so many thing things. So, it will cost you like 100 to 1,000 times what it would have cost you to stop the product when it is about leaving the port or inside the port.”

The DG however underscored the need to disabuse the mind of those who think that SON was out to close down their businesses by insisting on the enforcement of quality and standards requirements saying “we are only protecting Nigerians from the hazards of the substandard products.”

“So, nobody will think that we are trying to stop or destroy anybody’s business; our primary mandate is to protect Nigerians from the hazards of substandard products because substandard products can kill and destroy properties”, he added.

He observed that the agency recently upgraded its portal for the operations of SONCAP to enhance service delivery, promote quicker turnaround time and reduce human interaction to the barest minimum adding that the portal had been running seamlessly since then even as he argued that only those who failed to adhere to the agency’s offshore conformity assessment programme and documentation would have reasons to complain.

He continued, “Our application and approval processes for SONCAP is seamless and is working very well. If you come to SON today to process any SONCAP operation, you will not spend more than ten minutes. So, everything is working very well and the upgrade was for the benefit of Nigerians and it has been concluded.

“We urge all importers to process their SONCAP or import permit operations whichever is applicable as they are pre-shipment processes and avoid a situation where products arrive the shores of Nigeria without SONCAP certificate or import permit.”

Speaking on the need for collaborative action between the agency and its stakeholders to stamp out substandard, fake and adulterated products in Nigeria, Aboloma said, “We know the important roles that you play in the maritime industry; ANLCA and NAGAFF and other similar associations are the lead or middlemen between the importers and exporters and the regulatory bodies. We look forward to a more robust and lasting collaboration that will continuously create the much desired awareness and the activities of the import requirements of SON.

“Collaboration is the key to success. Since SON cannot do it alone to achieve zero substandard import, we urge ANLCA and NAGAFF to please join us to sensitize and educate the importers and the general public on the importance of quality goods and services. The work of standardization, quality assurance as well as campaign against substandard products has always remained a collaborative and partnership effort between SON and the numerous stakeholders.

“Again, over 75 percent of the bulk of products that enter Nigeria daily, monthly or yearly come via the nation’s seaports and waterways. It will therefore be difficult to ignore the maritime sector operators in the quest for zero tolerance for importation of substandard and unwholesome products as well as the federal government’s ease of doing business policy. Therefore, continuous engagement of sectoral operators and stakeholders will help SON to carry everybody along in the zero tolerance campaign against substandard, fake and counterfeit products.

“One major means of bringing the players on board the standard and quality voyage is through sensitization and enlightenment. Recall that such fora have been organized by SON in recent times but since the end justifies the means, there is need for continuous, robust engagements in order to ease the challenges involved in standard enforcement and monitoring compliance. This workshop will provide a veritable avenue for the cross fertilization of ideas, views and solutions on how to move this nation’s maritime sector forward especially in these days of the federal government’s ease of doing business.

 

 

 

Modinat Eniodunmo

 

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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