FG Loses N100bn Annually To Foreign Freight Firms
It has been observed that the Federal Government allegedly loses over N100 billion annually due to the activities of foreign freight forwarding firms doing business in Nigeria.
The observation was made by the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) chieftain and chairman, Association of Electoral Commission (ASECO), Prince Olayiwola Shittu recently in Lagos.
He said the high loss Nigeria is experiencing as a result of foreigners involvement from freight forwarding was because the foreign operators also have their bonded terminals and move any consignment from the port unchecked.
Shittu, who is also the Managing Director of Skella Group, pointed out that the N650 billion revenue target given to the management of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in 2009 was achievable but for the leakages in the system.
According to the indigenous freight forwarder, although there are leakages, NCS has been able to block some of the loopholes from which there had been revenue leakage in the past.
“Even in overseas countries leakages are always there, but the cleanest operators are the foreigners. This is because they have the money to invest in any business they want. They have their own bonded terminals and as a result, they camp cargo from anywhere and apply for their bonded terminal to receive it. On receiving that cargo, I know that it is custom officers that are the ones to do inspection because they are in charge of declaration, but everyone has a price.
“With the collusion of hungry customs officers I am telling you government will lose not less than N100 billion annually due to the involvement of foreigners in freight forwarding. This projection will continue to increase as the volume of business also increases”, he said.
According to Shittu, the average security personnel at the port gives more respect and recognition to a foreigner than a Nigerian should both of them be looking for the same thing from the officers. As a way out of the challenge, he said that there was need for all stakeholders in the maritime industry to have a new orientation in the way and manner they go about their business. This new orientation, he added, should cut across all segments in the freight forwarding business
“Every one concerned in this business, whether government officials, security agents or shipping practitioners must imbibe this new orientation to always do the right thing as it is obtainable in the developed maritime world.
Besides, government must make it a deliberate policy to make freight forwarders as part of the security network.
“Until then, there is nothing we can do. If we want to copy what is good, you must be a Nigerian before you can go into freight forwarding, whereas as I told you, our lives have been deregulated by the government. I have come to a stage in my life where I don’t need to crack my brain for the problem of Nigeria”, Shittu stressed.
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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