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Stakeholders protest NSC’s registration fee



…As AMCON says NBML to continue operation***

Importers, freight forwarders, shipping lines and other port service providers, have registered their displeasure about the introduction of a new registration fee by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.

At a sensitisation workshop organised by the NSC on Thursday, the stakeholders said there were too many charges in the sector from various government agencies.

They contended that the new fee by the council would worsen the burden of cost already borne by stakeholders in the sector.

The NSC had put the registration fee for shipping lines at N100,000 per annum. The fee for cargo consolidators was set at N20,000; dry port operators, N50, 000; freight forwarders and clearing agents, N10, 000; haulage firms, N10,000; inland container depot operators, N50,000; off dock terminal operators, N20,000; seaport terminal operators, N100,000; shippers, N1,000; shippers associations, N5,000; stevedoring companies, N20, 000 and warehouse operators, N20,000.

The Vice-Chairman, Freight Forwarders Trade Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Las Shobande,  suggested that the agency should focus more on its regulatory functions than revenue collection as there were many charges already existing in the port.

“We are already burdened with too many regulations; there is the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, among others.  Try and streamline these charges. You should look at the process where it should be more of regulation than revenue collection,” he said.

The immediate past president, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria, Frank Ukor, called for a downward review of the fee.

While explaining the new fee, the Director, Legal Services, NSC, Samuel Vongtau, said the registration of port service providers would help the government in policy formulation and rid the sector of quacks.

He said, “Especially to our port environment, registration will bring sanity and reduce congestion. Once the service providers are registered and known, the number of people entering the port will be reduced. Congestion will be reduced drastically as only the registered service providers will be given access to the port environment.

In the meantime, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has said that the Nigerian Braiding Manufacturers Limited will continue operations.

In a statement on Friday, AMCON said it recently took over the NBML, a Kano State-based textile company, because of the company’s non-performing loans purchased from the banks by the government agency.

In a statement signed by AMCON’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Jude Nwauzor, he said, “The textile company’s indebtedness to the corporation currently stands at over N1bn. This is despite numerous overtures by AMCON for amicable resolution of the debt to which the company and its promoters have remained nonchalant over the years, leaving the corporation with no choice than to seek justice in court.”

The corporation stated that in line with the provisions of the AMCON Act, 2010 (as amended), the corporation approached the court and secured an order enabling it to take possession of the company through its Receiver Manager, Dr Yakubu Fobur, under whose supervision the company was billed to resume full production soon.

It stated, “In contrast to the rumours, AMCON was set up to facilitate resolution of non-performing loans in the banking industry with a view to stabilising the economy.



Makinde Presents N434.2bn 2024 Budget Proposal For Oyo State



PDP’s Agboworin wins House of Representatives re-run election in Oyo

 Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Tuesday presented a budget of N434.2 billion for 2024 to the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

According to Makinde, the budget is made up of N222.3 billion for capital expenditure, and N211.8 billion for recurrent expenditure.

Presenting the budget tagged: “Budget of Economic Recovery”, the governor said the capital expenditure is 2.4 percent higher than the recurrent expenditure.

He added that the 2024 budget was estimating an increased Internally Generated Revenue of N72 billion with an average of N6 billion monthly.

Education gets the highest share of the budget with N90.6 billion or 20.8 percent of the budget, followed by Infrastructure which gets N74.3 billion or 17.1 percent of the appropriation bill.

The health sector takes the third position with N40.9 billion, which is 9.4 percent and Agriculture has N15.8 billion, which is 3.6 percent of the total budget proposal.

PDP’s Agboworin wins House of Representatives re-run election in Oyo

*Governor Seyi Makinde

He promised that the 2024 budget would cover projects, policies, and actions “which when implemented will cushion the effect t of the hardship the people are facing as a result of fuel subsidy removal.”

Makinde further said that his administration would continue to use technology to block loopholes, saying his government has no plan to increase taxes.

He urged the House of Assembly to see to the speedy passage of the budget proposal for the state’s economic growth and benefit of the people of Oyo State.

Responding after the presentation, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr ‘Debo Ogundoyin (PDP Ibarapa East) assured the governor of speedy consideration of the Appropriation Bill.

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Troops Destroy 51 Illegal Refining Sites, Recover Stolen Crude Oil – DHQ



….Destroy 7 dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, one outboard engine, others

The Defence Headquarters says  troops of Operation Delta Safe have  destroyed 51 illegal oil refining sites and recovered stolen crude oil and refined products in the Niger Delta in the last one week.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, disclosed  in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also apprehended 58 perpetrators of oil theft and denied them of  estimated sum of N668.7 million

He said the troops destroyed seven dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, 141 cooking ovens, one pumping machine, one outboard engine, one tricycle, one speedboat and one tugboat.

According to him, troops recovered 267,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 567,700 litres of illegally refined AGO and 5,000 litres of DPK.

“Troops has maintained momentum against oil theft and arrested persons involved in oil theft in Bonny and Ikpoba Local Government Areas of Rivers and Edo States respectively.

“Troops also arrested suspected armed robbers and foiled illegal bunkering activities in Oshimili South and Ukwa West of Delta and Abia States respectively,” he said.

In the South East, Buba said  troops of Operation UDO KA arrested 15 suspected criminals and repelled attacks by IPOB/ESN criminals in Anambra, Abia and Imo States.

He said the troops conducted raids and rescued kidnapped hostages in Ishielu and Igbo Eze North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi and Enugu States respectively.

He said the troops neutralised three criminals, rescued five kidnapped hostages and recovered 14 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammo.

In the South West, Buba said  troops of Operation AWATSE foiled armed robbery attacks in Orelope and Olorunsogo Local Government Areas of Oyo State and arrested a gunrunner in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.

According to him, troops rescued 15 kidnapped hostages and recovered two vehicles.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he added.

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NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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