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Group Wants Extension Of Customs Licence Renewal Deadline

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A port activist group,  Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC), has urged the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance to reconsider the extension of customs licences renewal from one year to two years.
The licence in question is usually issued by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), an agency under the Ministry of Finance with 12 months expiration date.
The group also lamented the long process involved in obtaining the license despite the short duration, saying the  short live span of the license poses serious threat to trade facilitation.
National Coordinator of the group, Chief Osita Chukwu Patrick, while speaking with journalists in his office last Friday, lamented the delay occasioned by the manual process.
He maintained that electronic issuance and renewal of licenses was the order of the day in other sector even as he wondered why such could not be inculcated in the customs licensing process.
According to him, “This is a clarion call to the CG of Customs and the Federal Ministry of Finance to understand that if automation in license renewal and procurement in vehicles and insurance is tenable, why would it not work in Customs licensing?
“DPR and others have gone automated and it lasts for two years”.
Speaking further, Osita noted that “I want them to look at it and see how they can salvage the situation because it is so critical that if you pay money for renewal now, it will take up to four or five months before you get it and during the period, you cannot use the license.
“Before you apply for linking or password, it will take months again. I see this as something that is very vital and should be inculcated in our system and would help improve on the manual system.
“The cost of renewing a license is over two hundred and fifty thousand naira and obtaining a new license is over five hundred thousand naira payable aside the unreceipted fees that you will have to pay”.
Critical stakeholders in clearing subsector of the maritime industry have also called on the Ministry of Finance to digitalise the renewal of customs clearing license  to avoid unnecessary delay and the cumbersome process involved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil

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In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.

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FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.

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Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m

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The  Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s  request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects  in 2021 approved budget.
This approval  followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in  the assembly, had  moved a motion asking  the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing  a number of developmental projects.

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