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Car Dealers Accuse Customs Of Operating Two-Duty Regimes

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The Nigerian Automobile Association has alleged that there are two different regimes of duties being collected from them by the Nigeria Customs Service, a situation it says is against the rules of the World Trade Organisation.
The group, in a statement on Wednesday, signed by its Secretary, Ademola Moshood, said this was discovered during one of the meetings between car dealers and the Customs held to address the allegations of smuggling levelled against them.
It said the two regimes of duties and the system of documentation were allowing corruption to thrive as well as causing distress to buyers of new vehicles in the country.
The association recalled that on September 29 this year, members of the Comptroller-General of the Customs’ strike force and officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, Lagos stormed the Berger auto market and other major car dealers’ premises in Lagos in search of smuggled vehicles and sealed the auto markets.
It said this led to an engagement between some Customs officials and car dealers in the state.
“Subsequent meetings with the dealerships revealed that the government’s agency had a system of documentation and two regimes of duties that create a fertile environment for corruption to thrive within its fold to the distress of buyers of new vehicles in the country,” it said.
“The Customs duty system is whimsical because it is not based on any known indices and certainly not based on the World Trade Organisation’s, which applies only duties determined as Freight on Board,” it said.
The group stated that the price of a product sold by a manufacturer to a Nigerian buyer or any other country’s importer, also called FOB, was universal to every buyer of goods from the same manufacturer and could be used to calculate local duties in the destination country.
It said if the quoted cost of the FOB was different, it must have been on account of accessories in the vehicles.
It said dealers, who met with Customs officials after the September 29 shutdown, were shocked to find out that there were two sets of FOB in two different documents.
It explained that one of the documents, entitled ‘National Valuation Database for Imported Motor Vehicles 2014-2019’ was believed to be baseless, as the dealers claimed it was contrived based on the whim and caprice of the NCS.

 

Stories by Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

NSC Boss Warns Maritime Agencies Against Unhealthy Rivalries

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The Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello, has warned agencies in the maritime sector to avoid superiority rivalry, saying it has done the industry more harm than good.
He also advised heads of maritime agencies to avoid cosmetic cooperation and come together for the development of the industry. 
Bello gave this warning at a sent-forth ceremony organised in his honour, last Friday. 
Bello bowed out of service last Friday after eight years of service. 
He was appointed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2013. Before his appointment, he was the Director, Legal Services of the NSC.
Bello noted that some agencies spent so much in defending their territories while neglecting their statutory mandates.
According to him, “There is lack of synergy among the agencies and I don’t think it is succeeding because it has been the basis of equality. There is no agency that is better than the other.
“Agencies are not graded by their budgets but what they contribute, but it is very unfortunate some agencies think that maritime starts and stops with them. No, it cannot work.
“Some agencies are trying to defend territories and in doing so, they go to a large extent and that is not good. They spend a lot of money to defend these territories while they neglect what they are established to do and that’s why we are not developing and that’s what Nigerian Shippers’ Council will never take from anybody not now, tomorrow or forever. We are all equal, we all have contributions to make.
“We can’t be having cosmetic cooperation, we have to have real cooperation”.
Bello said that the Federal Ministry of Transportation had undergone a lot of transformations, saying the era of state capture was over.
He lauded the Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors of the Ministry for giving the Council the opportunity to achieve a lot through their supports.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Maritime

Okowa Seeks Permanent Site For Maritime Varsity

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The Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to develop the permanent site of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko.
Okowa made the call while playing host to the Governing Council of the university during a courtesy visit at the Government House, Asaba.
He said the establishment of a permanent campus would go a long way in putting the university on a sound footing, and ultimately enable it to deliver on its core mandate of imparting sound maritime-related education on students.
The governor said he was happy that the institution took off academic activities at the temporary site but urged the Federal Government to make resources available for the construction of buildings and provision of amenities that would enhance academic activities.
He noted that the birth of the special educational institution for the training of manpower in the maritime sector had strengthened peace and the economy of riverine communities.
Okowa advocated the need for more projects to be sited in riverine areas because of the inputs of riverine areas to the economy of the nation.
“We thank God that the Maritime University has started even when we have challenges because we do know that the take-off of the university brought good news to our people and helped us to build peace, particularly in our riverine areas”, he said. 
Earlier, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the university, Dr Elias Courson, commended Governor Okowa for his inspiring and magnanimous support towards the take-off and continued development of the university.
He also thanked the governor for establishing three additional universities in the state, which would provide additional access to quality education not only to Deltans but to Nigerians.
Dr Courson, however, appealed to Okowa to assist the university in completing the renovation/ remodelling of the classroom blocks, construction of additional staff quarters and provision of a potable water scheme in the campus.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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2022 Nations Cup: S’Eagles To Travel To Cameroon By Boat

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The  Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) says it will convey the Super Eagles of Nigeria by boat to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup.
Managing Director, LAGFERRY, Abdullah Balogun, stated this in a statement.
“We plan to take Nigeria’s Super Eagles to Cameroon for next year’s Nations Cup after achieving that of Benin Republic — this is a goal we have set for ourselves”, Balogun said.
 LAGFERRY said they considered the boat trip following the success recorded in the Benin experience.
He said, “It was a major milestone for us to transport Nigeria’s national team to the Benin Republic through the waterways.
“Coming on board LAGFERRY through the international route to the Benin Republic is a mind-blowing experience. We were excited to be part of it”.
The LAGFERRY boss said the success recorded in the Benin game, where the Eagles won 1-0 away, was as a result of the trouble-free trip.
“It reflected on the field of play and it showed on their (players) performances because they came out victorious in the game,” he said. 
Balogun said the players, during next year’s boat trip, would enjoy free Wi-Fi, USB pots and a lot of entertainment and side attractions enabled by technology.

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