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ICPC, ACTU Groom Officers On Transparency, Accountability

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The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service in collaboration with the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) on Thursday held a sensitization program for their officers tagged, “Transparency and Accountability in Public Office”.
The essence of the training was to eliminate corruption in public service and to foster inter-agency collaboration and intelligence sharing with various government agencies.
Speaking at the event, which was attended by senior officers of the Command, the Area Controller, Apapa Command, Compt Yusuf Malanta, said it was imperative to remind the officers and stakeholders of the need to be transparent and accountable for their actions and inactions in the workplace and all spheres of life.
According to him, automating the business of customs by the Comptroller General, Col Hameed Ali (rtd.) is one of the greatest achievements of the service, adding that this has encouraged accountability and transparency.
“As part of the CGC’s reform strategy, the Service is compelled to adopt diverse methods to ensure transparency and accountability, by automating exiting processes and procedures.
“Some of the technology deployed include the use of seamless port clearing procedures which differentiates between the trader and customs zones respectively; the use of Risk Management integrated tool for selectivity, based on the integrity of the importation.
“The use of artificial intelligence to select and assign examiners for cargo inspection; and use of Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NIIT) to conduct examination using High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) to determine the content of a cargo and analyse images accordingly.

He continued that others are “the use of Trade Hub Portal (THP) to disseminate information concerning import/export and transit trade; and use of e-auction sales for auctioning seized and condemned goods.

“This technology is deployed to suit our trade operating environment to encourage compliance in the trade supply chain and economic growth, while increasing transparency and taking advantage of new technologies.

“As the lead agency in trade facilitation reforms, the Service is committed to constantly reinventing its strategies and adapting to present day challenges through partnering with other relevant government agencies in the port for effective ease of doing business which has yielded unmeasurable improvements in trade efficiency.

“I would like to use this opportunity once again to commend the existing and sustained synergy with our stakeholders and government operatives in Apapa Port.

“The need for synergy as a stimulant in collaboration and coordination cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, we are all enjoined to consolidate and foster this enviable relationship which is indeed a great example worthy of emulation”, he said.

Compt Malanta charged the senior officers of the command to go back to their terminals and units and transfer the knowledge they have acquired, so that other officers can be informed.

He charged them to groom and mentor lower ranked officers to be their successors in the service.

Also speaking, Resident Commissioner, ICPC, Lagos State, Mr Kabir Elelu, commended the Apapa Command of customs for standing up to be counted in the fight against corruption.

According to him, the ICPC has seen how Apapa Customs has been striving to implement the policies put in place by the federal government in order to ease transactions at the ports.

ICPC, according to him, is also working tirelessly with the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) which was setup by the Federal Government to ease and implement the ease of doing business at the port.

Mr Elelu noted that the ICPC had initiated a policy called, “National Ethics and Integrity Policy”, which was adopted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2020.

“It is an initiative of the ICPC. The idea behind it is that, the state at which Nigeria is today in regards to the decadence and corruption is as a result of the moral decadence in the society”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Imported Goods Killing Local Production – Presidency

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The Presidency has frowned at the rate of consumption of imported goods in the country, and has urged Nigerian consumers to change their mindset and patronise locally-produced goods, especially in the agricultural sector, to boost revenue and job creation.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this while speaking at a one-day seminar/exhibition with the theme, “Re-orientation towards ensuring preference and consumption of domestic agro-allied products”, which was organised by Zakclair Investment Limited.
Adesina, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said more Nigerians would be financially empowered when people patronise locally manufactured goods.
He explained that no nation could truly develop its production capacity when its economy was based on imported products.
The presidential spokesperson observed that most developed nations of the world were those whose economies were based on the local production of goods.
He said the unbridled importation of products was weighing heavily on the country’s foreign exchange reserve.
“We must also be willing to innovate with our local products in ways that can get us a wider audience.
“Instead of expending scarce resources and importing goods and services, we can channel them to create jobs for people. We need to believe more in the value of what is indigenous to us, as a people.
“When we consume locally made products, there will be less pressure on our foreign exchange. In the same breath, the value addition that happens locally means jobs.
“The economic value of consuming locally made goods is in all the jobs that will be created.
“I think that with the kind of market that we have in Nigeria, 200 million people, you can see there is a lot that we can do with domestic products”, Adesuna said.
Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Prof. Garba Sharabutu, urged stakeholders to stop paying lip service to the efforts to drive the consumption of made-in-Nigeria products, saying “we need to take it from words to action”.
Earlier, the CEO of Zakclair Investment Ltd, Adelabu Abdulrazak, explained that with the country’s ailing economy, there was a need to direct attention to preference and consumption of locally-made products.
“Consequently, we believe there is a need for a discourse in this aspect of our national life with the aim to infuse patriotism, encourage policies that tackle this lifestyle, reorientate our citizens and massively stimulate the growth of our economy,” he said.

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Commission Extends Deadline For Digital Money Operators’ Registration

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has announced the extension of deadline for registration of online money lenders and operators, otherwise known as Digital Money Lenders (DML).
Making the registration extension known in a statement that was made available to The Tide at the weekend, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, said the process has been extended to March 27, 2023.
The FCCPC boss stated that the extra time was to ensure that the registration of DML whose registration was still in process was adequately achieved, and to also prevent significant market disruptions.
It is the third time the commission has postponed the deadline for registration, since it enforced compulsory registration in August 2022.
“On December 6, 2022, in furtherance of the collaboration of the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force, the FCCPC extended the deadline for the registration of DML to January 31, 2023.
“This was to ensure the registration of DMLs whose registration was still in process and to prevent significant market disruptions.
“The Commission noted, however, that several DMLs have not yet provided all relevant documentation to complete their registration process.
“To this end, the Commission is further extending the registration deadline to Monday, March 27, 2023″, The statement read in part.
The FCCPC recently released a limited interim regulatory and registration framework for digital lending in order to curb unethical interest rates, violation of consumer privacy, and other unethical lending practices perpetrated by unchecked digital lenders in the country.

By: Corlins Walter

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Manager Clarifies PH Airlines Building Occupancy Issues

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The Port Harcourt Airport Manager, Mr Felix Akinbinu, has given reasons for the delay by airlines operating at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in occupying the newly commissioned Airport Building.
Noting that airlines still operate from the Terminal building, he said the nature of business operations of airlines is such that makes them operate from the terminal building in order to meet the boarding requirements for passengers.
Akinbinu, who disclosed this while interacting with aviation correspondents, stated that the newly commissioned airlines building is not just for airlines alone.
He said it’s office space for any group or individuals to use, though it bears the name, “Airline Building”.
According to him, the airlines will still operate from the terminal building because the newly commissioned airlines building is to provide additional office space for airlines to accommodate their other activities and staff.
“To be frank with you, what we have in the new airlines building is just eight office space accommodation, and it is not only for airlines, it is open to everyone or group that need an office space.
“It is not that we are ordering the airlines to leave the terminal building, not at all, because they are to operate at the terminal building for the ease of their business and passengers facilitation.
“It is also not an issue of disobedience on their side for still operating at the terminal building. All they will do is to acquire additional office space for their staff and operations”, Akinbinu said.
The Tide’s check earlier showed that the new airlines building is sited at a distance place from the terminal building, which makes it difficult for airlines to easily access, considering their style of business operations.
Some officials of airlines The Tide interacted with stated that they will not operate from the new airlines building because it was sited across the airport major road, distant from the terminal.
They, therefore, urged the airport management to consider the nature of their operations, and make alternative for them.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Salisu Yadudu, represented by the Director of Operations, Murktar Munye, had at the commissioning ceremony of the airlines building, early December last year, directed the airport manager to ensure that airlines occupy the building immediately.
This, he said, was to decongest the terminal building. But the building is yet to be occupied.

By: Corlins Walter

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