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Challenges Of Destination Inspection

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Destination Inspectors in Nigerian Ports, otherwise known as Service Providers like the SGS and other risk management and scanning service providers are faced with a lot of challenges in the course of their service delivery.
These challenges which are manifested on the day to day running of their businesses at the nation’s port ranges from Risk Assessment Report (RAR)/Risk Management and price verification and classification of information to cargo scanners and scanning services, as well as training courses and complete handover to the Nigerian Custom Service (NCS).
The aim of the Destination Inspection Policy of the Federal Government was primarily to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) by replacing pre-shipment inspection in exporting countries with inspection on arrival in Nigeria using the latest technology tools.
This objective was envisioned to take care of notable irregularities which had characterised the Nigerian Maritime business as the case may be.
Other reasons for the destination inspection include the facilitation of trade through risk management and the use of non-intrusive inspection (x-ray scanning) of selected imports prior to Customs clearances thereby minimising the need for physical examination, as well as to enhance regulatory compliance and collection of import duties/taxes.
In a move to meet the objectives, the Federal Government engaged the services of some service providers like the SGS scanners to assist NCS with the implementation of the Destination Inspection Service (DI).
The three service providers commissioned for the job are SGS, Global Scan and Cotecna, and the function of the service providers are splited into three: port/point of arrival and entry into Nigeria.
SGS zone covers the Port Harcourt main port and airport, Onne Port, Idiroko border post, and the Ilorin International Airport.
Other service providers like the Global Scan covers Calabar Port, Warri, Lagos Airport, and Service Border Area, while the Cotecna canner covers the Apapa Port, Tincan Island Port, Abuja Airport, Kano Airport, as well as the Jibiya and Banki border posts.
In an effort to meet up the stated objectives in their zone, the SGS on their part has said that it has provided both classroom and on the job training for NCS, in all Destination Inspection (DI) aspects, to enable them complete the handover process to NCS at the end of the contract.
Like other service providers might have done, the SGS also said that it has deployed a Risk Management System and X-ray Cargo Scanning Machines to facilitate trade, which have minimised need for physical inspection.
This has also helped to identify suspected containers with contraband goods thereby enhancing the clearance of cargoes as well as reducing the delay caused by physical inspection.
The Managing Director of SGS, Mr Nigel Balchin who dropped the hint when the House of Representative Committee on Customs visited Port Harcourt recently, also posited that the interlink between the service providers system and NCS ASYCUDA system, which is the electronic Customs (e-Customs) and Direct Trade Input (DTI) introduction has helped in compliance and proper accountability.
The ASYCUDA (e-CUSTOMS) which was implemented at Onne Port in November 2007, was later implemented in Port Harcourt in June 2009, which has facilitated documentation/transactions.
Inspite of this progress recorded by SGS, there are other issues that have impeded the smooth sail of the DI activities which have translated to delay in cargo clearing process.
Transmission of documents to service provider(s) is one of such challenges in the DI operations. The guideline requires that Form “M” and other final shipping documents must be received from the bank in Lagos.
The guideline for DI also requires that duly completed and approved form “M” should be submitted to the office of the respective scanning and Risk Service Provider in Lagos not later than five working days after the approval.
According to SGS, this policy has placed importers, particularly those at Eastern ports at a disadvantage as the form “M” application is still in hard copy and has to be sent by courier by the importer’s local bank branch to the bank’s head office in Lagos for approval.
From the SGS presentations, an importer who completes and submits Form “M” in Port Harcourt to his bank, the form has to go by courier to the bank’s office in Lagos, who also will in turn send this document to SGS office in Lagos, which may take up to three days before getting to SGS.
By estimate, a document returned for submission will take six days on the journey, and this will result to delay in cargo clearing process.
Transmission of copies of Risk Assessment Report (RAR) to importees has posed big challenge to service provider like the SGS.
Making a presentation at the seminar organised by maritime reporters in Port Harcourt, Mr Oyebode Joseph of SGS stated that the issue of sending RAR in hard copy to head offices of banks has posed challenges to quick service delivery.
He said RAR contains vital information about the value, and classification for the guidance of NCS to facilitate the final determination for clearing.
According to Mr Joseph, experience has shown that cargoes are not normally presented for scanning by the clearing agents on time. This puts pressure on the scanning operators to cope with the rush at closing time.
The possibility of training Customs officers that will man the scanning and e-Customs services is another challenge facing SGS and other DI contractors before the end to their contract period.
Apart from operating, the maintenance is also vital as well as getting acquainted with the latest technology on scanning and ASYCUDA, before termination of contract.
For the 48 hours cargo clearing process to be effective, the processes of documentation and inspection which have posed challenges to service providers have to be addressed.
As part of solutions to the challenges, Mr Oyebode of SGS has stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is rolling an electronic Form “M” project in the near future and this will assist importers outside Lagos.
Also, SGS is positioning to begin to send copies of RAR by e-mail to bank branches that opened the Form “M”.
On the delay on presenting cargo for scanning, clearing agents are being encouraged to make use of the mornings when cargoes can be cleared without delays so as to leave the port in good time.
Also, the SGS has maintained that it will adopt the train the trainer method for Customs officers, who will in turn train others, and this will be done in batches.
When these challenges are taken care of then cargo clearing process could be easier, and there is hope that 48 hour clearing will be achievable, even outside the Lagos ports environs.

Corlins Walter

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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also confirmed for appointment as members of the MPC yesterday, include, Muhammad Abdullahi, (CBN deputy governor), Bala Bello (CBN deputy governor), Emem Usoro (CBN deputy governor), Philip Ikeazor (CBN deputy governor), Lamido Yuguda, (DG Securities and Exchange Commission) and Jafiya Lydia Shehu, (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance).

Others are Murtala Sabo Sagagi (CBN director) Aloysius  Ordu, Aku Odukemelu, Mustapha Akinwunmi, and Bamidele Amoo.

President Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday named Cardoso as the chairman and 11 others as members of the MPC.

Tinubu in his letter of nomination to the Senate, said his action was in line with the provisions of Section 12 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.

The President had about a week ago asked the Senate to confirm Cardoso, as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank.

CBN MPC will hold its first policy meeting for the year on February 26 and 27.

The Senate had , on Wednesday, screened the nominated members of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee, questioning them on the lingering foreign exchange and food crises.

 

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‘Unemployment Rate Hit 0.8% In 2023 Q3’

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The unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 0.8percent in the third quarter of 2023.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this was a significant rise, adding that the unemployment rate rose from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0 percent in Q3 2023.
The NBS, the custodian of official statistics in the country, disclosed this in a report it published last Monday titled “Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023”.
“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.
“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.
“About 87.3 percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023. The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 percent. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from Q2 2023.
“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023”, the report stated in part.
It added that the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years was recorded at 8.6 per cent in Q3 2023 while the informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3 per cent.
The report added, “The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0 percent percentin Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from Q2 2023.
“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3 percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.
“4.1percent of the working-age population was in subsistence agriculture in Q3 2023. Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.
“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training was 13.7percent in Q3 2023”.
Recall that Nigeria’s inflation rate last Thursday climbed to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The 0.98 percent increase shows that the inflation rate in the country is yet to slow down.
The NBS revealed this in its ‘Consumer Price Index’
The development adds more pressure on the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee to sharply raise interest rates at a February  26-27 meeting its first in seven months.

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Merchant Navy Lauds NIWA Over Staff Welfare

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The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) has expressed optimism that the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, will prioritise workers welfare for optimal performance of the agency.
Jibril Darda’u, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, in a statement over the weekend, disclosed that the seafarers’ union’s remarks are one of the highlights of the meeting between the Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group and management of the agency.
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NMNO/WTSSA, Comrade Suleiman Danjuma, as commending the Managing Director of NIWA for the good initiative of the kind of interaction that brings the staff closer to the management.
“This will definitely boost the morale of the staff and pledge their loyalty and confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership style”, Danjuma stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIWA promised to build on the progress already achieved at the Lokoja River Port, Kogi State.
The MD disclosed this when he went on a familiarisation tour of NIWA’s facilities in Lokoja.
According to the MD, the importance of Lokoja River Port being in the confluence State is to boost the economic viability of the State and Nigeria at large.
“We are here for facility tour to see for ourselves what is on ground at Jamata Port, Lokoja. It is important we come here to assess the facilities to see, at least, how we can move the facilities forward”, he stated.
Recall that in continuation of his familiarisation tour, the Managing Director’s visited the NIWA Lokoja Area office to inspect the Dockyard facilities.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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