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
UNDP, IGP Seek Partnership On Police Reforms
UNDP made the call during a meeting led by its Resident Representative, Mohammed Yahya, with the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, and members of the Force Management Team in Abuja, midweek.
Yahya’s entourage included representatives of the German Government at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, as part of the Presidential Committee on Police Reforms Agenda for the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the spokesman of the police, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, “During the meeting, the UNDP Resident Representative discussed areas of further collaborations with the Nigeria Police Force to achieve the Presidential Action Plan for Police Reforms in the country.
The areas considered and deliberated upon included training and retraining, support in acquisition of logistics such as ICT-based gadgets and intelligence networks, welfare, in line with the President’s approved road map.
“The IGP expressed the willingness of the Force under his Command to support the UNDP, international community and other relevant agencies under the Presidential Committee on Police Reforms.
He discussed some projects that have been completed under his watch in line with the Police Reform Agenda, such as the completion of more than 120 model police stations across the country, and construction of modern NPF Resource Centres.
Also include in the projects are Provision of barrack accommodation to some officers and men of the Force, health facilities, and other developmental projects across the country, as well as the yearly recruitment of 10,000 Police Constables to boost the manpower drive of the Nigeria Police Force, which, he said, “are all catalytic to improved service delivery of the NPF”.
In the same vein, the IG appreciated the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, for its continuous support in all areas to reposition and boost the police for effective and efficient service delivery in Nigeria.
He reiterated the commitment of the Police Force to improving its services at all levels in order to have better security and public safety in Nigeria.
Trafficking: NAPTIP Holds Peer Review For Member States
The five-day North/South boot camp organiaed in partnership with Expertise France, International Organisation Migration (IOM), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and others, was aimed at deepening engagement of members of states taskforce in fighting human traffickers.
In her opening remarks, the Director – General (DG) NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, appreciated Expertise France, IOM, UNODC and others for their support towards organising the boot camp.
Waziri-Azi said the collaboration would provide avenue to holistically assess the level of progress made by the inaugurated taskforces across the country.
The NAPTIP DG said although the trends and proportionality of human trafficking might differ, statistics revealed that no state was free from human traffickers.
“NAPTIP’s statistical analysis from 2019 – 2022 revealed that 61 per cent of human trafficking cases in the country occurred internally while 39 per cent was across our borders.
“It is an undisputable fact that what anti-human trafficking stakeholders have in their hands now is a national crisis.
“This is major reason this forum is imperative for in-depth interactions among state and non-state actors,” she said.
The DG, who was represented by Mr Olubiyi Olusayo, Director of Intelligence, Research and Programme Development, NAPTIP, said the second phase of the boot camp was organised for 12 states.
“It would enable NAPTIP to take stock of the impact of the taskforces at the subnational levels.
“The states included Edo, Ogun, Oyo, Enugu, Rivers, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Borno, and Jigawa,” she said.
According to her, there is no doubt that human trafficking is a dynamic and emerging crime.
She urged the taskforces to present and maintain a clearer picture of how human trafficking affected their communities and how traffickers were changing their tactics.
“NAPTIP would be looking forward to receiving and studying the report that would emanate from this five-day meeting,” she stressed.
The NAPTIP boss further commended partner organisations for their support in making the camp boot a reality.
New CJN Debunks Rift Among Justices
Ariwoola reacted to the leaked memo suggesting that Supreme Court justices were at each other’s jugular when he appeared before Senators at the red Chamber for his confirmation to take over from the former CJN, Mohammed Tanko, in Abuja.
Recall that Tanko had resigned over health issues.
Ariwoola in his response to questions by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Senate Committee Chairman on Judiciary and Legal Matters, Michael Bamidele Opeyemi, and other Senators expressed concern that petitions were allegedly written against the erstwhile Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Tanko, by 15 other Supreme Court justices without recourse to the procedure.
He clarified that Supreme Court Justices didn’t write petitions to or against Justice Mohammed Tanko as CJN then but an internal memo on how to address challenges being faced by them as regards welfare and an unconducive working environment.
“Justices of the Supreme Court didn’t write petition to or against Justice Mohammed Tanko as CJN few months back, but memo where issues relating to welfare of each of the Justices and unconducive working environment of Justices at the Supreme Court generally were raised.
“We, the Justices were embarrassed when we read the content of our memo in the papers.
“It was never intended to be for public consumption since the motive behind the memo was not to fight or bring down anybody.
“When the handwritten memo was signed by all the Justices, we didn’t allow anybody to see it, making its leakage to the media to be like a miracle to us”, he said.
He, however, said most of the issues raised in the memo are still not attended to, due to paucity of funds and poor funding of the Supreme Court in particular and Judiciary in general.
According to him, Justices who were appointed in 2020 have not had official accommodation, making them come to the office from Satellite towns within the FCT.
After the screening by the Committee of the whole, he was confirmed by the plenary which was presided by the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan.
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