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Shippers Council Mulls Reduction Of Freight Forwarding Cost

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Amidst claims that Nigeria operates the costliest ports in the West African sub-region, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), says it is negotiating with shipping lines to cut down cost of freight forwarding by as much as 30 per cent.
NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, who disclosed this in Abuja, noted that Nigeria imports a lot of goods, and whatever levies are imposed on imported goods are transferred to the consumers, resulting in higher inflation rate.
Bello argued that if costs are not streamlined as soon as possible, shippers would be forced to go to other neighbouring countries that are less costly, which means Nigeria would be losing trade to other countries.
“We are talking with the terminal operators, who will talk to the carriers, government, freight forwarders, chambers of commerce, manufacturers association and other stakeholders to discuss this,” he stated.
Absolving the shipping lines of exorbitant port charges, he noted that government also has the responsibility of providing basic infrastructure at the ports such as good road network, adequate security, among others, to reduce the charges.
Bello gave instances that shipping companies collect security charges because they employ additional security for their ships despite that the Nigerian Navy, and Nigerian Maritime Security Agency (NIMASA), are doing a lot to provide security at the ports.
To this end, he said the council has been negotiating with shipping companies and hopefully, by the end of the negotiations, about 30 per cent of the shipping cost would have been reduced.
He added that African countries recently came together to see how they can negotiate the freight charges to a reasonable, justified and verified level.
Bello pointed out that the shipping companies are also interested in predictability and stability, Notwithstanding the ongoing negotiations, as none of them is levelling charges arbitrarily but due to circumstances coupled with the inefficiency in nation’s transport system.
He added that traffic situation in Apapa could trigger charges, adding that the government is becoming more responsible, as there is a sense of order at the ports and cases of strangulation are disappearing.

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Foreign Exchange Traders Resume Business After Protest

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Normalcy has returned to the foreign exchange market along the Hotel Presidential, Aba/Port Harcourt expressway, Port Harcourt, following the protest staged on Tuesday by the foreign exchange traders over the death of their colleague, Yusuf Lada.
Lada was allegedly killed by the personnel of the Rivers State Task force on Illegal Street Trading, Motor Parks and Mechanics.
Speaking to The Tide yesterday, the spokesman of the traders, Jubril Isa, said the road was blocked on Tuesday to protest against the alleged killing of their member by the personnel of the state task force.
He accused members of the task force of regularly extorting money from them.
He said, “we protested because of our Muslim brother, we can no longer allow members of the task force to be extorting money from us. Sometimes, they will come and arrest about 12 of our members and ask them to pay N120,000 each for their release.
“In about two weeks they will come again and arrest sometimes about 22 persons and ask them to pay N8,000 each to be released. Some of them may not have the money. The late man was whisked away and was brought back after 30 minutes and in about 15 minutes, he fainted and died.”
Reacting to the allegation, the chairman of the task force, Hon. Bright Amaewhule, explained that “the traders use the bus stop stand at Presidential Hotel as a restaurant, a kind of “mama put” to transact illegal trading business. The zonal team leader of that area went there and arrested some people, and took them to court. The policemen found out that the man was not in a stable condition, so they allowed him to go and cautioned him not to go back to the place again.
“Upon that police advice, they put him back in to vehicle and returned him where he was arrested; the man came down from the car and moved his way. Just about 15 minutes after disengagement with him, he slumped down and that led to his death. So there was no fracas, no fighting, no hijacking or dragging between my task force and the people.”
Meanwhile, the chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum, Rivers State Chapter, Musa Saidu, has demanded that the task force agent that allegedly masterminded the death of their colleague be brought to book, because the task force’s mandate, according to him, was to decongest the road in the state and not to take life.
He urged the law enforcement agent to act fast to ensure that the perpetrators of the act were prosecuted.
Saidu enjoined their members to remain calm and go about their lawful business and ensure that they operated within the ambit of the law of the land, while the police carry out their investigation into the matter.
Also, the spokesman of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Salami Ibrahim, has also condemned the alleged killing of the forex trader, urging the police to investigate and arrest the masterminds of the man’s death.
A cross section of foreign exchange traders who spoke to our correspondent alleged that the task force men always made demands from them.
A trader, Abu Danladi, said, “we want to sit down with the Rivers State Government and talk; sometimes, the task force used to arrest 10, 15, 20 of our people at a stretch, and each will pay N120,000 for their release. Sometimes, they carried them to main office, sometimes on the main road.
“They search you and whatever they see in your pocket, they collect; both dollar or naira, they will seize it before you are released. Government should check the excesses of the task force before they create problem that may lead to so many things unforeseen.

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FG Shortlists Ethiopian Airlines, Others For Aircraft Maintenance 

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The Ethiopian Airlines and a consortium of A.J. Walters/Glovesly/Egypt Air have been shortlisted by the federal government for the proposed aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility.
Also, the A.J. Walters/Gloversly/ Egypt Air consortium has also been shortlisted as the best and preferred bidder for the Aviation Leasing Company.
This was contained in a statement made available to aviation correspondents yesterday, by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu.
The statement explained that the processes for establishing the facilities were jointly among stakeholders.
“The processes for the establishment of both the aviation leasing company and the Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) facilities were components of the federal government’s aviation sector roadmap.
“The companies were selected during a process that involved officials of the ministry of aviation, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), infrastructure concession regulatory commission, federal ministry of finance, aviation labour unions, transaction advisers and prospective investors.
“At the end of the conference, one company; a consortium of A.Walter/ Gloversly/Egypt Air was shortlisted for the aviation leasing company, for the maintenance, repairs and overhaul facility.
“Two companies, namely A.J Walters/ Gloversly/Egypt Air and Ethiopian Airlines were shortlisted out of seven that expressed interest”, the statement explained.
The Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Alhaji Muhammed Shehu, who is also the chairman of the project delivery team was also quoted in the statement to have said that the process marked another phase of the Federal Government’s determination to ensure the realisation of the MRO project in the country.

 

Corlins Walter

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Mining Firms To Pay Higher Royalties Soon – FG

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The Federal Government has said that mining companies in the country will soon start paying ‘accurate’ mineral royalties from the proceeds of their operations.
Mineral royalty is tax paid to the government by miners based on a portion of earnings from production. It varies depending on the type of mineral and market conditions.
Operators in the mining sector, who are worried over the plan, had urged the government to come up with interventions to boost production capacity in the industry before increasing the taxes.
However, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, said the federal government would soon come up with a new policy to ensure that accurate royalties were paid by the miners.
Ogah spoke during a tour of two mining companies, Venus Mining Company and Corner Stone Quarry, located in Dutse, Bwari Area Council, in Abuja.
Nigeria’s mineral rates, currently pegged at 3.5 per cent, is believed to be among the lowest in the world.
The minister explained that mining companies would be required to submit the printouts of their Weigh Bridges to the ministry “so that the exact royalties based on their sales record could be accurately calculated and paid to the government”.
According to him, payment of accurate royalties to government will help to provide much needed funds for infrastructural development in the country.
Ogah enjoined the managements of the companies to ensure that they have functional licences, and that their operations adhered to mining regulations.
He assured that the Federal Government was committed to the provision of an enabling environment for investors in the mining sector.

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