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Importers Lose Over N2bn To NCS Five Star Deactivation 

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Close to three weeks after the sudden deactivation of Five Star Logistics Terminal on the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) portal, Nigerian shippers now owe over N2 billion as demurrage to shipping lines.
Maritime Experts have also estimated the demurrage losses for Nigerian importers to exceed N2 billion, while Customs revenue is also being threatened as some shipping lines have begun rescheduling their vessels to avoid the port.
Although projected losses for the seaport terminal is pegged around N1billion, the company has expressed willingness to waive storage charges for the period.
Meanwhile, a source at the facility has confirmed that the company’s top management are still in Abuja as they have been engaging Customs leadership at the headquarters.
Speaking on the development, the President of African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics (APFFLON), Mr. Frank Ogunojemite, has asked Customs to explain what platform they will utilize in collecting unpaid duties from a terminal operator.
Otunba argued that there is no platform for a terminal operator to pay Customs duties that should have been paid by consignees.
According to the APFFLON boss, NCS is being inconsiderate by persisting with the terminal’s portal closure as Nigerian shippers are set to suffer colossal charges that would transmute into inflation in the country.
“At this point, the only beneficiary of this situation is the shipping lines who are foreign organizations. The terminal operator will have to waive the storage charges because they are responsible for this, but shipping lines will not waive demurrage.
“This means shippers will pay the demmurage and pass the additional cost to Nigerians by increasing the prices of the imported goods”, he said.
Ogunojemite also expressed worry that fast track goods and reefer cargoes are still made to suffer from Customs decision, describing the move as a huge setback for the nation.
He stated that Customs doesn’t seem to care because it would recoup its revenue whenever the portal is opened, but warned that the congestion at the ports and economic impact of the decision should make the Service reconsider its stance.
According to inside sources, two exotic brand new vehicles arrived recently with an estimated revenue of N2.5billion for Customs and several other cars were also seen at the facility because a ship had already discharged thousands of cars.
“We have had 2 vessels arrive so we are talking of about N5billion with N2.5billion per vessel.
“On containers, the revenue should be around N1.2billion. Demurrage losses can be estimated to be over N2billion.
“Five Star will lose a lot of money also, about N1billion that should have been collected as storage charges. However, they are expected to give waivers,” a source who preferred anonymity said.
With congestion looming at Tin Can Island Port, many vessels are changing their scheduled plan because of this issue and the revenue of Customs and government is threatened.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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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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