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Reps C’ttee gives Customs 2 weeks to reduce cargo clearing stages

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The House of Representatives Committee on Customs has given the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) two weeks to reduce its 18 cargo clearing stages to four.

The committee made the resolution on Tuesday, in Abuja, after an interactive session with stakeholders.

It insisted that the Comptroller General of Customs should appear in person to explain the processes.

The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Leke Abejide (SDC-Kogi) said that the process should be limited to the offices of the Comptroller Area Commander (CAC), Deputy Comptroller Revenue (DCR), Officer in Charge of Bond and then Gate.

He said that all other stages should be removed to allow for free flow of activities in the ports, describing them as avenues for illegal transactions by corrupt officers of the service.

“Once it gets to the CAC, the CAC should minute it directly to the Deputy Comptroller Revenue, from there, it goes to Officer in Charge of Bond and then to the Gate for exit.

“We have to do something about this, let us bring down these procedures to four stages; somebody is getting revenue illegally, but if we do this, we will cut away all these illegalities and the revenue goes to government,’’ he said.

The chairman said that the committee would not work on the Custom’s 2022 budget, if provisions were not made to fix all the scanners in the ports.

He said that government had invested over $420 million dollars on the scanners and the committee would not allow such investment to go down the drain.

The Deputy Comptroller, Tariff and Trade, Mrs Talatu Isah, said that there was need to investigate the matter before taking action, saying that the procedure should not be that cumbersome.

She said that the service was working hard to ensure ease of doing business in the country and security by ensuring only approved goods got into the country.

The officer said that any dealer subjected to a cumbersome procedure to clear merchandise should report to the Comptroller Area Commander.

Earlier, the acting Managing Director, Nigerian Port Authority, Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, said that Customs had multiple units within the same port, making the process cumbersome.

“After Customs finishes 100 percent examination, just when you think it is over, you load your container, you now find another Custom checkpoint within the same port.

“In the name of Federal Strike force or something and they leave the truck there for 30 minutes to one hour causing a lot of problems.

“And when you go out again, you find another Customs person and that is why Nigeria has lost the transit cargo market; what we now have is captive cargo, even some of the captive cargo is going somewhere else because of the cumbersome way things are done,’’ he said.

Bello-Koko said that some cargoes that should have gone to Niger and other countries through Nigeria went through other countries owing to multiple Customs and police check points between the country and Niger.

The Managing Director, Inland Container Nigeria Ltd, Mr Ismail Yussuf, also said that there were too many tables through which documents were processed, before cargoes go out of the ports.

He said that it should not be more than three, if the service scanners were activated at the port and electronic clearing system deployed.

He added that because Customs often changed procedures without prior notification of stakeholders, trying to adjust to such instant changes caused delays.

Yussuf said that the poor means of transportation out of the port was another challenge, stressing the need for road reconstruction and provision of other transport options. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

Senate To Probe CBN’s Anchor Borrowers, Ways And Means

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The Senate on Tuesday, resolved to further investigate N10trn Anchor Borrowers’ Programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as accountability in the Ways and Means loans by the Apex Bank.

The Red Chamber said the move was to plug loopholes in future development finance activities of the CBN.

The Senate resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the details of the Ways and Means, including the various intervention programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, monies given to state governments, manufacturers, aviation, banks, excess funding in the power sector, amongst others which raised the current debt profile of the country.

This was part of resolutions of the Senate after a debate over the report of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (BIOFI), Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Appropriation on the state of the economy.

On the compliance and transparency of economic actions, the Senate equally resolved that the CBN ensured compliance with the provisions of the Act in respect of Ways and Means and accountability through timely submission of its budget, financial statements and report of its activities to the President and National Assembly as stipulated in the Act.

In an extensive debate, Senator Adamu Aliero argued that some state governors, including some retired ones in the Senate, were beneficiaries of N18bn as shock absorbers under the Ways and Means since 2015.

Some lawmakers suggested that a special committee be set up to scrutinize the N30trn intervention disbursements (some of which were grants) and ways to mop them up.

Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin also explained that the intervention monies were expended outside appropriation without the knowledge of the parliament and noted that lawmakers have a right to interrogate the expenditure.

Senator Victor Umeh, however, deferred, as he enquired to know how the money was spent before approval by the Senate. The issue of whether or not to investigate the matter raised another furore in the Red Chamber.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio thereafter maintained that owing to the current economic situation, it has become expedient to thoroughly examine the Ways and Means funds.

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Oil marketers get approval to sell Dangote fuel

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The seven major oil marketers in Nigeria have registered with the Dangote Petroleum Refinery for the lifting and distribution of refined petroleum products produced by the $20bn plant.

Dealers under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria confirmed on Sunday that with the registration, they would commence the distribution of fuel produced from the facility once the commercial terms are sorted.

This came as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria also revealed that they would meet with the management of the Dangote refinery this week to discuss terms of product loading.

Similarly, the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria stated that PETROAN had been engaging the management of the multi-billion dollar refinery for the supply of products from the facility.

As IPMAN and PETROAN engage the refinery, major marketers who are members of MOMAN have already registered with the plant and are set to start buying products.

The seven major marketers include 11 Plc, Conoil Plc, Ardova Plc, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Total Nigeria Plc and NNPC Retail.

Last Friday, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery announced the commencement of production of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, and JetA1 or aviation fuel.

The President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had in a statement issued by the firm, thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support, encouragement, and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of the project.

He also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project.

“We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market within this month once we receive regulatory approvals. This is a big day for Nigeria. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone.

“This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects. This is a game changer for our country, and I am very fulfilled with the actualisation of this project,” Dangote stated.

The refinery, located in Lagos, has so far received six million barrels of crude oil at its two SPMs located 25km from the shore. The first crude delivery was done on December 12, 2023, and the 6th cargo was delivered on January 8, 2024.

The refinery can load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck-loading gantries. The products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications, according to the firm.

“The refinery design complies with the World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources emission/effluent norms, employing state-of-the-art technology,” the company stated.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Project, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited, is a 650,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery, located in Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is an industrial plant that transforms crude oil into various usable petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, and kerosene.

Dangote Petroleum Refinery with a capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day covers an area of approximately 2,635 hectares in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.

When contacted and asked whether major oil marketers would be involved in the lifting of refined products from the Dangote refinery, or whether the facility would distribute the fuel itself, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, MOMAN, Clement Isong, replied, “I confirm that we (major marketers) have met with him (Dangote).

According to Isong, all MOMAN members have registered with Dangote Petroleum Refinery to become marketers of its products

Punch

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Senate Gives Kyari, NUPRC Boss 24 Hours To Appear For Budget Defense

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Mele Kyari
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The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, on Wednesday, directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, to appear before the committee in 24 hours.

Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.

They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.

The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government.

The NNPCL, had earlier shunned for a second time, summons by the Senate to appear before its committee probing over N11trn expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.

The absence of Kyari, whose entity is at the centre of the investigation, stalled efforts by the Senate panel to make progress on the matter.

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