FG Slashes Import Duty On Rice
The federal government has step down import duty payable on rice in what government sources said was necessitated by the need to discourage smuggling and under cutting.
The new rate of duty according to The Tide sources is $683 per tonne, down from the former rate of $800 and it is already been implemented at the various entry points across the nation’s seaports and border stations.
The Tide investigation revealed that the new duty was recommended by the Federal Governments special committee on trade malpractices.
It was discovered that some unscrupulous importers were under cutting their competitors denying the government of accruable revenue, hence government’s decision to review the benchmark.
According to unconfirmed reports, Nigeria top the list as the Africa’s largest importers of rice, importing an average of about 500,000 metric tonnes annually.
Worst still is the desperate moves by the unscrupulous importers at border stations where smugglers prefer to ferry the products into the country through creeks and waterfronts. Sources said most of the rice smuggled into the country were done through Seme bush parts and waters ways, where they have found it more attractive to carry one or two bags than to pay duty resulting in loss of revenue to the government.
With the reduction in benchmark, sources said no one is allowed to carry even one bag of rice across the borders and that Customs authorities at the Command have demonstrated seriousness in enforcing the new law.
The Customs Area Controller, Seme Border Command, Comptroller Samuel Aneke, while addressing journalists at Seme border recently said the Seme border of the Nigeria Customs Service Command is a no-go area” for smugglers, adding that, the officers and men of the area command have intercepted and smashed a smuggling gang which has terrorised the area. Six of the suspects are presently in detention awaiting to be prosecuted by the appropriate authority, sources told The Tide.
The customs boss, further noted that “the smugglers have abandoned the roads and have gone further into creeks, making an in-road of about 10 kilometer into Badagry and Ajegunle water routes and we have been trailing them.”
Aneke, who lamented the Commands lack of operational jeep, appealed for about 10 Hilux jeep, to enable the Command effectively checkmate the antics of smugglers, pointing out that the two operational Jeep; were borrowed from Federal Operation Unit (F.O.U) Ikeja.
Plastic Pollution, Threat To Mangroves In N’Delta – HYPREP
The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) has expressed concerns that plastic pollution was an emerging threat to mangroves in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
It stated it would soon commence the shoreline clean up and mangrove restoration of oil-impacted areas in Ogoniland.
The Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Prof Nenibarini Zabbey, in his address to mark the 2023 World Environment Day, expressed regrets that plastics do not only suffocate and kill mangrove biodiversity, but also impact local livelihoods and compromises mangroves’ capacity to sequester and mitigate climate change.
According to him, a project with a mandate to remediate and restore oil-polluted ecosystems, HYPREP, was positioned to offer solutions to plastic pollution, which synergistically mitigate the effects of hydrocarbon contamination.
“The 2023 WED commemoration, which also marks the 50th World Environment Day celebration, presents a golden opportunity to deploy science, adapt innovation, and develop sustainable policies towards addressing environmental problems.
“HYPREP is about to commence shoreline cleanup and mangrove restoration in Ogoniland. Recently, plastic pollution has been identified as an emerging threat to mangroves in the Niger Delta”, he noted.
In proffering solutions to plastic pollution flex in line with the 2023 WED theme, the HYPREP boss recommended a reduction in plastic production and consumption, and the promotion of sustainable alternatives and reusable products.
ICAN Urges Accountant General To Prioritise Financial Stability
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has called on the new Accountant-General (AG) of the Federation, Dr Oluwatoyin Madein, to ensure financial stability, transparency, and accountability in the country’s financial sector.
According to a statement, the President of ICAN, Dr Innocent Okwuosa, gave the admonition in Abuja, Tuesday, when he paid the new Accountant-General of the Federation a courtesy call in Abuja.
“The position of the Accountant-General of Nigeria carries immense responsibilities, especially now that Nigeria stands at a pivotal juncture, facing a rapidly evolving economic landscape, changing regulatory frameworks coupled with endemic corruption.
“As the Accountant-General, you have the responsibility for maintaining the financial stability, transparency and accountability of the nation as a whole”, he told the AG.
He, however, assured her of ICAN’s continued support to her office to ensure effective management of government finances, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the country’s budget and other fiscal management obligations.
“We understand the enormity of your responsibilities and we will continue to encourage you and all our members in the public service and private sectors to adhere to the profession’s ethics to succeed”, he continued.
Okwuosa also used the opportunity to appraise the AGF of the ICAN Accountability Index, one of the institute’s innovations to contribute to the promotion of accountability and transparency in the Federation.
According to him, it is a novel and first-of-its-kind Index developed to assist the adoption of best practices in Public Financial Management in all tiers of government.
He added that the ICAN-AI had been ratified by several national and international organisations such as the World Bank, the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability and the International Federation of Accountants as an equitable and professional way of monitoring Public Financial Management practices.
In her response, the Accountant-General conveyed her appreciation to the ICAN team for the honour bestowed upon her.
NNPCL To Cut Fuel Import From August
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) says once the Dangote Refinery starts pumping out refined petroleum products from late July or early August, the NNPCL will cut down on its imports of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
NNPCL is currently the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, a task which it had shouldered for several years. Other oil marketers stopped importing petrol due to their inability to access the United States dollars at the official rate.
NNPCL also owned 20 per cent stake in the Dangote Refinery. The 650,000 barrels per day crude oil processing refinery was inaugurated on May 22, 2023 by former President Muhammadu Buhari, who described the facility as a game-changer.
Also at the inauguration, the Founder/Chairman, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the facility would put an end to the inflow of toxic substandard petroleum products into Nigeria, adding that the refinery would meet 100 per cent of Nigeria’s fuel needs.
Dangote also stated that the refinery would start delivering refined products to the Nigerian market from late July or Early August this year.
According to the spokesman of NNPCL, Garba-Deen Mohammed, immediately Dangote Refinery begins to push out products in August, it would change the NNPCL fuel imports programme.
He said, “NNPC Limited is bringing in products from outside Nigeria as a matter of necessity, not as a matter of choice. We would have preferred that we produce here, refine here and we sell and provide the energy security that the country needs.
“Because of the circumstances that surround our refineries, we cannot allow the country to be grounded. So we have to buy wherever we can get and sell. So if Dangote products are available, why should we not buy from Dangote?
“There is absolutely no reason. And that is the reason why we are interested in the Dangote Refinery. We are co-owners, shouldn’t we do business with our partners rather than do it with other people?”
Muhammad stated that the NNPCL would be supplying crude oil to the Dangote Refinery based on business agreement between both parties, and that this would be in accordance with the international price of crude.
“NNPC owns 20 per cent of that asset and we have an agreement with Dangote that we will supply the refinery with crude. So as soon as Dangote begins to request for crude to pay for it, NNPC is prepared to supply the crude as a business transaction.
“We have been selling crude to different parts of the world for decades, and it is not whether we will sell it to Dangote, for why won’t we sell to Dangote when we are selling to other refineries and countries?
NNPCL Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, recently stated that the supply of 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day by the national oil firm to the Dangote Refinery would start once the facility commenced operations.
to be produced by the Dangote Refinery would not be known at the moment until the refinery released its pricing template.
They expressed hope that the refinery would improve the petroleum products’ supply situation in Nigeria, but noted that the cost of white products would only be determined by the pricing template of the facility.
The Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, said, “By the time it starts producing, we would see how implementation is going to be and his template.
“We cannot say much about the refinery until it starts. So let us see the mode of production, how it is going to look like in terms of its pricing template”.
Also speaking, the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said the pricing template from the new refinery would guide operators on what would be the cost of refined petroleum products from the facility.
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