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FG Loses N8bn Monthly At Idiroko Border

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The Federal Government may be suffering a major revenue leakage as it loses close to N8 billion monthly to smugglers at the land border of Idiroko in Ogun State.
The Tide investigation revealed that the revenue leakage became obvious owing to smugglers who took undue advantage of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, which was adopted to facilitate trade within West African sub-region.
Impeccable sources further hinted The Tide that the ECOWAS Scheme opened up opportunities for smugglers to bring in all sorts of dutiable goods under the guise of goods exempted under the scheme, thereby denying the government huge sums of money put at about N8 billion.
Other factors that militated against decreased revenue generation, our sources said, include bringing outright contraband goods, false declaration of imports, concealment of contraband goods, non CRI goods and wrong tariff classification resulting into serious under payments.
Also found to have hindered revenue increase include, use of temporary importation to bring in dutiable goods, use of exception certificate to clear dutiable goods, cargo transfer on bond to private bonded warehouses, cargo diversion and recycling of CRIs and single goods declaration forms to clear goods.
The rest are, use of fake or false documents to clear goods, uncustoms cargo transfer and collusion with the security agents at the borders.
Lamenting the effect of smuggling on the national economy, the President of the National Association of Non Metallic Products Employers Federation (CANMPEF), Mr Devakumar Edwin said the increasing wave of smuggling into the country now ranked number one among the challenges facing the country’s local industries, stressing that “If the trend was not checked in the it may ground the operation of many local industries that have been trying to survive the harsh economic situation.”
CANMPEF also called on the Federal Government to shut the nation’s border with Benin Republic at Seme and Idiroko where the trend has become worrisome as a way of sending a strong message to leaders in the neigbhouring countries that Nigeria would not tolerate the use of any countries as an outpost to sabotage its economy.
Other stakeholders who spoke with our correspondent posited that smuggling across Idiroko border had caused dumping of all sorts of goods that are not even needed, thereby preventing local industries from being functional and viable as prices of smuggled goods are cheaper and more competitive.

L-R: Head of Banking, CBN Enugu, Mr Osagie Agbonabori, Controller, CBN Enugu, Mr Patrick Okonkwo and representative of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Emeka Madu, receiving award of the Most Efficient Bank, during Enugu Bankers' Committee Award Night in Enugu, recently.

L-R: Head of Banking, CBN Enugu, Mr Osagie Agbonabori, Controller, CBN Enugu, Mr Patrick Okonkwo and representative of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Emeka Madu, receiving award of the Most Efficient Bank, during Enugu Bankers’ Committee Award Night in Enugu, recently.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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