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Customs Trains 14,000 Destination Inspection Officers

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The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, has said 14,000 officers of the service had been trained to take over Destination Inspection at the ports.

Dikko disclosed this at a news conference in Lagos, after a three-day campaign on the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reports (PAAR) scheme put in place by the service.

He said NCS was ready to take over destination inspection as it had for example trained more than 300 officers to scan and 350 others to process PAAR.

The comptroller-general said also that some other officers had been redeployed to different departments.

“The responsibility of service providers before now is about assessment, classification, goods of origin, risk management and all aspects of the statutory responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service.

“We were left with only examination. By implication today, the Federal Government has returned all these statutory functions to the Nigeria Customs Service.

“So, I believe the government measures our preparedness in taking over while we had the visiting World Bank officials almost four times during the period of taking over.

“They certified that the Nigeria Customs Service is fully ready to take over.

“We call on Nigerians for their understanding. You know, the beginning is always difficult and we also call on members of the press to help us inform the Nigerian public about where we were before and where we are going.

“For one thing is the advantage of the Nigeria Customs Service taking over. You are very much aware that the Nigerian government is spending a huge amount of money in foreign currency to pay service providers before now.

“But today, this payment ceased to exist. So, by implication, Nigeria is going to get more revenue. The money that is being paid to these people will now go to the coffers of government.’

The comptroller-general, who said the service providers were operating with 21 scanners, added that the NCS was prepared to provide 50 scanners within the next five years.

He said this would be a consequence to the take-over of destination inspection by the service.

Dikko said the Customs had taken over the available scanners, saying that the service providers were left with maintenance of the scanners for six months before the full take-over.

He said also that the NCS had prosecuted 15 persons suspected to have hacked into the service’s trade hub.

“The Forensic Unit of the Customs has been directed to deal with the internet hackers,’’ the comptroller-general said.

The NCS’s Deputy Comptroller, ICT Operations, Mr. Bashar Yusuf  said the introduction of the Trade Hub by the Customs would ease cargo clearance and import processing.

He said the NCS had provided two free internet access for the Balogun Business Association (BBA) at the Lagos Trade Fair Complex, for easy access to the Customs Trade Hub.

Yusuf said the traders would have their cargoes released immediately from the port with the genuine documents processed through PAAR.

“The cargoes would be cleared before arrival, once other government agencies operating at the port confirmed the documents through PAAR,’’ he said.

An Assistant Comptroller-General in the service, Alhaji Abubakar Umar, said NCS had purchased many stand-by generators and also provided internet backup in case of power failure.

Mr Adewale Adeniyi, the National Public Relations Officers of the NCS, said the service had gone through series of campaign programmes for traders in their local languages.

“It was the directive given to officers by the Comptroller-General of Customs that all traders should be addressed in local languages for effective understanding about PAAR.

“The comptroller-general has promised to extend the campaign to the Eastern and Northern states of the country,’’ he said.

L-R: Former Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, Gov. Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State,  Acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Umar Garba and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the Second North-East Economic Summit in Gombe, recently.

L-R: Former Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, Gov. Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, Acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Umar Garba and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the Second North-East Economic Summit in Gombe, recently.

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Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority

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The Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youths, Udens Eradiri, has faulted the leadership structure of the commission, saying it has not helped the cause of the Niger Delta in the last 25 years.
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja. 
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years. 
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage   – NEITI

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Nigeria lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI)   has said.
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.

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Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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Some residents in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State have urged the newly sworn-in council chairmen in the state to come up with good agricultural and developmental policies that will transform the grassroots.
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains. 
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives. 
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area. 
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.

By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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