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

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Nigeria Custom Logo
Nigeria Custom Logo
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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

Tinubu To Present 2024 Supplementary Budget To NASS

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President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
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President Bola Tinubu will soon present the 2024 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly (NASS).

“I submitted the last budget to you,” the President said when he addressed a joint sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“You expeditiously passed it. We are walking the talk. I will soon bring the Year 2024 (Supplementary) Appropriation Bill. That is just for your information,” the President said in his terse speech at the joint sitting to mark the Silver Jubilee Of Nigeria’s 4th Republic.

In his response, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, said, “Thank you, Mr President, we will be expecting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill of 2024 as soon as possible.”

Also, at the joint sitting which coincided with the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration, the President confirmed ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’ as the “latest national anthem”.

Tinubu said, “You sang out the latest national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’. This is our diversity, representing all characters and how we blend to be brothers and sisters.”

The President pleaded with both the Senate and the House of Representatives to continue to collaborate and work together with the administration to build the country on the path of sustained progress and development.

“We have no other choice; it is our nation. No other institution or personality will help us unless we do it ourselves. No amount of aid from foreign countries or any other nation (will fix us), they take care of themselves first. Let us work together as we are doing to build our nation, not only for us but for generations unborn,” he said.

 

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We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso

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Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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