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Civil Service Reforms: Customs Sacks 30 Comptrollers

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This year may have started on a gloomy note for 30 Comptrollers of Customs and their dependants as the Customs Board has confirmed their retirement from service.

  According to competent sources at Customs headquarters, Abuja, the Federal Civil Service Commission has published names of 32 Comptrollers of Customs alongside 51 directors from various Federal Ministries.

  Details of the lists sighted by our correspondent revealed that the federal civil service  commission cited redundancy and stagnation in one rank for ten years and above as the reason why the officers must quit the service.

  Ordinarily, the public service rule prescribes three years as the maturity period for officers to earn their promotion to the next grade level, between GL 08 and GL 14, while the maturity period to move between GL 14 and GL 17 is four years, our source revealed.

  “If following simple logic, therefore, an officer entering the civil service with a first degree would require a  minimum of 27years  to attain the post of a director, “he said.

  This invocation of the civil service rules, according to our source, was all that is needed to send these comptrollers back to their homes.

  However, reports indicate that two comptrollers (names withheld) who hitherto fell among the retirees have been promoted to Assistant Comptrollers – General of Customs leaving 30 others, unlike 2004, were 75 comptrollers were sacked in what is today known as the Customs coup of 2004.

  Some senior Customs officers who do not want their names in print perceive this as an ethnic cleansing.  According to them, the premature sack of comptrollers is a  plot to do away with a crop  of officers who are seen as power mongers and aggrieved due to the maltreatment the service has meted to  them.

  An assistant comptroller who led the array of critics against the sack said, “it is a deliberate plot by the present Comptroller – General of Customs to sack because he is afraid of these officers some of whom have attained the rank of comptroller while he (Dikko) was still a Chief Superintendent of Customs (CSC).

  While some of the critics accused the president of demystifying the  strength of the North in the scheme of allocation of officers in the major parastatals, one of the  affected retirees told our correspondent on phone that the  present C.G., Alhaji Dikko plotted the coup to retire them in order to pave way for young and dynamic officers whom he will be able to control and manage without confrontation and insubordination having learned from the previous administration.

  The Tide finding can authoritatively reveal that a look  at the date of first appointment of the affected comptrollers shows that they joined the service in 1982 while the list of ages of the affected officers stand  at 49,50,52 as provided by records sighted by our correspondent.

  According to an inside source, there is a serious trouble brewing in the service due to this sack saga, adding that before the final ratification by the Customs board, the said officers had been lobbying to be posted to juicy commands to make something before their retirement but for those who don’t have political fathers or emirs and obas, they were left either in redundancy at the Customs headquarters or posted to unviable commands.

  But on the sack of the 30 comptrollers, a maritime analysts Chief Chibuzor Ebere, noted that changes are usually meant for good, but when the changes come as a result of what could be avoided in the name of crisis, then the reason for the change is not genuine.

  “It becomes more painful when these fellows are still very young (in their 50s) and below, very healthy and active. It means that over time you lose very useful materials in the name of changes,” Chief Ebere said.

  He further remarked that what maritime experts want is modernization for efficiency, reinforcing the manpower by giving them more training to cope with the global changes in the maritime industry and not throwing the effective manpower.

  A source confided in our correspondent that the 30 affected and aggrieved comptrollers may join the 75 comptrollers retired in 2004 and over15 ACGs and DCGs to challenge their premature sack in a law court and shore up support for their determination for re-instatement.

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Crude Hits Seven-Year High On Recovery Hope … Equity Rally Runs Out

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Crude oil hit a more than seven-year high yesterday on optimism that the global recovery will ramp up demand.
However, concerns about the end of long-running central bank support and rising Treasury yields saw most equity markets reverse early gains.
After an almost uninterrupted rally from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, world markets are showing signs of levelling out as global finance chiefs shift from economy-boosting largesse to measures aimed at reining in inflation.
Still, there is an expectation that equities will enjoy further gains this year as countries reopen and people grow more confident about travel, especially as studies suggest the more prevalent Omicron coronavirus variant appears to be milder and as vaccines are rolled out.
Analysts are also watching the corporate earnings season that is underway, with hopes that firms can match their stellar performances last year.
But while Asian markets started the day brightly after Monday’s travails, traders returned to selling, with US Treasury yields surging on expectations the Federal Reserve will have to unveil several interest rate hikes to tackle a worrying spike in inflation. Wall Street was closed Monday.
Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta all fell.
There were gains in Shanghai in hopes of fresh economy-boosting measures, while Wellington and Manila also edged up.
London, Paris and Frankfurt all fell at the open.
But oil built on its early promise, with Brent climbing to $88.13 a barrel and WTI hitting $85.74, both levels not seen since October 2014.
The gains came thanks to demand optimism as the world reopens and concerns about Omicron ease. The loosening of travel restrictions in several countries has seen jet fuel costs soar.
Hopes for more monetary easing by major consumer, China, to reinforce its stuttering economy were also seen as key support for the oil market.

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NPA, MWUN, Others Synergise On Labour

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President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, has reaffirmed commitment to ensuring smooth working relationship with  management, Tin Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on labour related issues.
Adeyanju, who made the commitment during a working visit to the Port Manager, TCIPC, Mr. Buba Jubril, in Lagos, noted that the union will continue to promote industrial peace and harmony in the  operational activities at seaports.
Noting that synergy among all the maritime stakeholders was key for port efficiency, he hinted that the union has changed the narrative from being tagged as hooligans to a more responsible and civil Institution in the maritime industry.
Earlier, the Port Manager, TCIPC, Buba Jubril, thanked the  PG of MWUN for the systematic approach on labour related issues at the port level
Disclosing that the PG has been instrumental to the existing peace in port operations, Jubril assured on the existing synergy the port authority and all the unions.
Jubril further said that “ Myself and the President General MWUN has come a long in the industry.
“I have known him (PG) for over 33years and that will tell you that he is my friend and friend to management of the Nigeria port authority”, he said.

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Osinbajo Wants More Stakeholders’ Involvement In Blue Economy … Inaugurates Committee

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has sought for wider participation of relevant stakeholders in the blue economy project to deepen participation and benefits of Nigerians from the country’s marine resources.
Making the call at the  inaugural meeting of an Expanded Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria at the Presidential Villa yesterday, the Vice President said “a viable blue economy project will offer vista of opportunities not only for littoral states where there are bodies of waters, but for the entire country”.
He identified areas to be exploited to include ports, terminals, fishing, training, environment, tourism, power,oil and gas.
While identifying possible challenges of sustainability, the VP urged all the ministries, departments and agencies to strengthen their collaborations in an atmosphere of inter ministerial working groups and advised all members to attend the meetings faithfully for maximum results.
Osinbajo , who formally inaugurated the expanded committee, identified the need for a legal framework that will be more robust than other international maritime conventions on blue economy, which Nigeria has been signatory to.
He said the scope and participation of the committee will be further improved upon to accommodate more members from government agencies and relevant private sector stakeholders
“There is no doubt that the blue economy is a new frontier for economic development and a means of diversifying the economy through the use of resources from oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the well being of the people.
“It also provides positive contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) 2052 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (2052AIM) and the UN 2030 agenda
“This concept for economic diversification is promoted by the international community and provides friendly means of livelihood in line with this administration’s agenda on job creation’, he said.
He continued that “the ocean economy as an emerging economic frontier applies to ocean-based industry activities and the assets, goods and services of marine ecosystems.
“Countries have to define the scope of their blue economy based on their priorities. For example, in Bangladesh, the ocean economy consists of the following broad and growing economic sectors; living resources, minerals, energy, transport, trade, tourism and recreation, carbon sequestration and coastal protection.
“These industries and ecosystem services do not develop in isolation, but rather interact as an economic ecosystem”, the VP said.
Earlier in his remark,Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi said the blue economy is capable of improving government revenue, create employments and grow the gross domestic product of Nigeria.
Amaechi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Magdalene Ajani, also expressed optimism in the benefits derivable from a well exploited marine environment
Speaking at the event,  Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General of Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) lauded the initiative of the expansion while recommending inclusion of financial institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and African Development Bank (AfDB), as well as key financial institutions that will contribute meaningfully to realizing Nigeria’s Blue Economy objective.
In addition to  maritime agencies such as the Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and Maritime Academy of Nigeria, the expanded committee also include ten state governors.
They the Governors of Rivers, Lagos, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Ogun, Ondo, Cross River, Bayelsa and Edo States.
Other members are Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Power, Finance, Environment, Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Water Resources , Chief of Naval Staff, Comptroller General of Customs, Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, etc.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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