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Customs Loses  N2.3bn Daily To COVID-19

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The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) says the lockdown in Lagos State, arising from the Coronavirus pandemic has caused the service to lose its daily revenue of N2.3 billion in the state.
The lockdown was imposed by the Federal Government on Lagos State to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in a statement by NCS Public Relations Officer,  Apapa Area Command, Nkiru Nwala.
Nwala  disclosed that the Customs’ top three revenue generating commands namely the Apapa Area Command, Tin Can Island Port Area Command and PTML Area Command were collectively losing N2.3 billion daily to the lockdown.
She said the Apapa Area Command, which she described as the highest revenue collecting command of the NCS, recorded an average collection of N900 million daily as against its daily target of N1.8 billion.
Nwala noted that the effect of the lockdown would have been minimal on the command’s revenue generation if the banks had opened for operations.
“As you know, none of the activities in the port was stopped but the major issue here are the banks and there is little we can do without the banks. Duty payment is beyond online transaction, it has a whole lot of documentations that is required more than transfer.
“On Wednesday, we got N949million. If the banks were open, it would have been a bit different but I learnt the banks have been asked to open. Since the bank will be opened by weekend, I am sure the revenue will improve”, she said.
The Tin Can Island Port Command, which is the second highest Customs revenue collecting command, has also been recording a shortfall of N700million daily in its revenue collection since the lockdown, according to its spokesman, Uche Ejesieme.
“Before now, we are on the average of N1.5 billion to 1.7 billion daily but I don’t think we are making that much now. For now, we are between N800 and N900 million daily collections since the lockdown.
“We hope that by the time the bulk operators that pay in bulk come in, it is going to boost our revenue.
“The major problem is because the banks are not working despite the directive that they should work. The agents confirm that they can’t even do a single transaction in the banks. The jobs are interwoven; one agency cannot operate without the other. The situation expectedly has affected revenue generation.
“Beyond the fact that some of the agents cannot go to the banks to pay, some are actually doing e-payment but if you look at the percentage of e-payment and manual, the difference is huge. We are hoping that sooner than later, some of the challenges will be ameliorated.
Also speaking,  spokesman, PTML, Area Command, Tin Island Port Complex Yakubu Muhammed, said the lockdown has negatively impacted the revenue generation of the command as most of the agents cannot come over to lodge their declarations.
He said the command’s revenue declined from a daily collection of N900million to N189 million while number of declarations also dropped from 1300 daily to 100.
“Our daily official revenue target is N1 billion but on the average, we collect between N600 million and N900 million. If you look at what we have from Tuesday (last week) when the lock down started, the rate has really dropped”, he said.

 

Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Navy Rescues Crew From Burning Fishing Vessel

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The Nigerian Navy Command says its gallant personnel rescued three Beninoise nationals from a burning fishing vessel that caught fire at the Lagos anchorage, recently.
Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, made this known in a statement.
The FOC said the crew members were rescued by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BINI after a distress call was sent out past midnight, on April 21.
According to him, on arrival at the scene, the fishing boat was completely engulfed by fire with one of the rescued crew members, Yoes Senovou, severely burnt in the incident.
He said the crew members who could not communicate in English were given first aid at the Naval Base where they were stabilized, while Senovou was taken to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Ojo, for treatment.
“NNS BINI, while on routine patrol, responded to a distress call from a boat with call sign Sport Tail shortly after midnight on 21st April 2020 within the Lagos anchorage area.
“On arrival at the scene, a fishing boat was completely engulfed by fire. Three crew members, all Beninoise nationals, were rescued from the water and handed over to NNS Beecroft. They were given first aids at the Naval Base and stabilized.
“But one of the rescued crew members, Mr. Yoes Senovou, was badly burnt in the fire incident. He was promptly taken to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Ojo, where he was treated.
“It was not immediately clear why they were fishing in Nigerian waters, if indeed they were truly fishing. Although none of the crew members could communicate in English, they gestured that they had machinery failure and drifted into Nigerian waters”, the FOC said in the statement.
Daji said efforts were ongoing to hand over the rescued persons to the Benin Republic Consulate in Lagos, if they are not implicated in any criminal activity.

 

Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Unpaid Allowances:Dock Workers Shut Operations At PTOL

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Aggrieved members of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Wednesday shut down operational activities at Ports Terminal Operators Limited (PTOL) located at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Port Harcourt Complex, over unpaid allowances.
The angry protesters also demanded for the removal of the Acting General Manager of the company, Mr. Mac Pherson, due to his alleged insensitivity to the plights of casual workers.
The protest which started at 8.am saw the gate of PTOL besieged by angry dockworkers who carried placards with bold inscriptions: “Pay us our allowances and we want the AGM removed”.
The protest forced the firm to shut down operations as over 100 dockworkers stormed the company’s premises, chanting labour slogans.
Our correspondent, who monitored the protest reports that the aggrieved workers forced their way into the company’s premises and disrupted its operations.
The angry workers blocked the main gate of the firm and prevented movement of persons and vehicular activities to and from the company.
There was, however, huge presence of armed policemen to prevent any breakdown of law and order.
Although the protesting workers declined to speak to the press, they insisted on the payment of their allowances and the removal of the company’s acting general manager.
Attempts to also speak with the management of the firm proved abortive as none was handy to comment on the development.

 

Stories by Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

‘Pirates Abduct 22 Seafarers, Attack 37 Vessels In Four Months’

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A global  maritime reporting centre, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), said a total of 22 seafarers were abducted by pirates and  37 vessels attacked in the first quarter of 2020.
The Bureau said it received reports of 47 attacks in the first three months of this year, with the Gulf of Guinea remaining the world’s piracy hotspot.
This is  as IBM said, many incidents remain unreported even as  seafarers were advised to remain vigilant at all times.
The Bureau’s 24-hour Piracy Reporting Centre disclosed this in a statement made available to The Tide.
The centre said, it recorded 21 attacks in the Gulf of Guinea in the first three months of this year, explaining that 12 were on vessels underway at an average of 70 nautical miles off the coast.
Armed perpetrators are targeting all vessel types. They approach in speedboats, boarding ships in order to steal stores or cargo and abduct crew members to demand a ransom, IBM said.
The Bureau explained further that the 17 crew members were kidnapped in three incidents in the Gulf of Guinea waters, at distances of between 45 and 75 nautical miles from the coast; 10 vessels were fired upon worldwide for the whole of 2019, with four already reported being fired at within Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the first quarter of 2020.
This, according to IBM, includes a container ship underway around 130 nm southwest of Brass.
The report said another container ship was boarded by pirates in another incident around 102 nm northwest of Sao Tome Island.
Speaking on the report, IMB Director, Michael Howlett, said: “Navy patrols, onboard security measures, cooperation and transparent information exchange between authorities, are all factors which help address the crimes of piracy and armed robbery.
“The threat to crew is, however, still real – whether from violent gangs, or opportunistic armed thieves inadvertently coming face-to-face with the crew. Ships’ masters must continue to follow industry best practice diligently and maintain watches.
“Early detection of an approaching pirate skiff is often key to avoiding an attack.”
The piracy report shows zero hijackings in the last two quarters and no incidents around Somalia.
In Indonesia, five anchored vessels were reported boarded by pirates, and five ships boarded while underway in the Singapore Straits.

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