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Bigger Showdown Looms After ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal

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President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans looked ahead on Wednesday toward the next round of even bigger budget fights after reaching a hard-fought “fiscal cliff” deal that narrowly averted potentially devastating tax hikes and spending cuts, Reuters reported.

The agreement, approved late on Tuesday by the Republican-led House of Representatives after a bitter political struggle, was a victory for Obama, who had won re-election on a promise to address budget woes in part by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

But it set up political showdowns over the next two months on spending cuts and on raising the nation’s limit on borrowing. Republicans, angry the deal did little to curb the federal deficit, promised to use the debt ceiling debate to win deep spending cuts next time.

“Our opportunity here is on the debt ceiling,” Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said on a US television network, adding Republicans would have the political leverage against Obama in that debate. “We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown, which is what that could mean.”

Republicans, who acknowledged they had lost the fiscal cliff fight by agreeing to raise taxes on the wealthy without gaining much in return, vowed the next deal would have to include significant cuts in government benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid health care for retirees and the poor that were the biggest drivers of federal debt.

“This is going to be much uglier to me than the tax issue. This is going to be about entitlement reform,” Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said on another TV network.

“This is the debate that’s going to be far more serious. Hopefully, now we have this other piece behind us – hopefully – we’ll deal in a real way with the kinds of things our nation needs to face,” he said.

Obama urged “a little less drama” when the Congress and White House next address thorny fiscal issues like the government’s rapidly mounting $16 trillion debt load.

The fiscal cliff showdown had worried businesses and financial markets, and US stocks soared at the opening after lawmakers agreed to the deal.

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Western Marine Command Intensifies Anti-Smuggling Operations … Intercepts N8.75m Worth PMS

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For officers and men of the Western Marine Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the battle is not over until smuggling is over.
In the wake of Wednesday May, 8, 2024, the ever vigilant officers, acting on a tip-off, intercepted 177 sacks and 61 kegs of 25 litres containing petroleum products, valued at about N8.750,000million.
The items were intercepted along Isalu Creek, Badagry Waterway en-route Benin Republic.
While briefing newsmen, the Command’s Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Paul Bamisaiye, said: “This seizure is most economically significant to the Command at this period of scarcity of Petroleum Products, especially Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in our cities, and shows the anticipatory posture in our response to economic saboteurs.
“At about 2:330hrs on Wednesday 8th May 2024, while on joint patrol by teams in the Command, credible intelligence was received of the movement of 2 boats laden with what was suspected to be petroleum products concealed in sacks. Upon receipt of the information, the team moved into Isalu creeks, Badagry waterway.
“On sighting the approach of the Officers, the smugglers took to their heels through the shore of the Creek. The loaded boats were then towed to the station at Badagry where preliminary examination was conducted and transferred to Western Marine Command Headquarters, Ibafon, Apapa, Lagos.
“Careful examination at the Command Headquarters revealed that the arrest was found to contain One Hundred and Seventy Seven (177) Sacks and Sixty One (61) Kegs of 25 Litres Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) containing Twelve Thousand Five Hundred (12,500) Liters with a total Duty Paid Value standing at Eight Million Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N8,750,000) only”.
Bamisaiye noted that the action of the smugglers is a contravention of Section 245 & 254 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 which the service, through Western Marine Command, is responsible for enforcing.
“The Command, under the leadership of Compt. PK Bamisaiye, is poised more than ever to rid the waterways of all acts of smuggling and economy sabotage for the benefit of the growth of economy of Nigeria”, he said
Bamisaiye said so far, no suspect was arrested in the Command’s anti-smuggling operations.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Illegal PMS Trading Booms In Lagos

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Petroleum products  being sought by motorists have disappeared from virtually all filling stations within Lagos and its environs, but are now booming in business in retail outlets.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that while the product could not be got at some of the petrol service stations, activities are in top gear in the local retail outlets where the price has gone beyond the reach of users.
It was also gathered that in some filling stations supplied with the products, preference are often given to retail outlet operators by petrol attendants against the consuming public.
A source, directly involved in the business, said some petrol dealers are cashing on the irregular supply to divert the products to retail outlets where they could easily make their gains.
It was also gathered that some sales representatives in the service of major oil marketing firms indulged in the diversion exercise because of their personal interest.
At the retail outlets a liter goes for N950,00 against the normal N760,to N800 at some stations.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Customs Board Appoints Five DCGs, Eight ACGs

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The Nigeria Customs Service Board (NCSB) has confirmed the appointment of five Deputy Comptroller-Generals (DCGs) and eight Assistant Comptrollers-General (ACGs) of Customs during its 59th regular meeting.
The meeting, chaired by the Honorable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, was held at the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters in Abuja last Tuesday.
National Public Relations Officer of the Service, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, gave details of the confirmed appointments as: O.O. Peters (DCG /Commander, Training and Doctrine Command (rtd); B.M. Jibo (DCG Enforcement Inspection & Investigation); and B.U. Nwanfor (DCG Excise, Free Trade Zone & Industrial Incentives).
Others are: S.A. Bomia (DCG, Commander Training and Doctrine Command); and C.K. Niagwan (DCG, Tariff & Trade).
The Assistant Comptrollers General (ACGs) are: B. Imam (ACG Board); A.A.S. Oloyede (ACG, Trade & Tariff); S.K. Dangaldima (ACG/Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘B’); A. Abdul Azeez (ACG/Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘D’); S.A. Yusuf (ACG, Human Resource Development); N.P. Umoh (ACG, Training and Doctrine Command); C.O. Obih (ACG/Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘C’); and S. Chiroma (ACG, Strategic Research and Policy).
The new appointments, according to the statement, were made to fill the vacancies created by some senior officers who recently retired from the Service, noting that the principles of federal character, seniority and merit guided the appointments approved by the board.
“These appointments are a testament to the officers’ exemplary services and dedication to the Nigeria Customs Service. The NCSB remains committed to providing strategic leadership to ensure effective and efficient service delivery for optimum performance”, he said.
While thanking the retired members of the management for their meritorious services, the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, congratulated the newly confirmed officers and charged them to redouble their efforts to ensure the service attains greater heights in its mandates of revenue generation, suppression of smuggling, and trade facilitation amongst others.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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