- Terminal Operators blame Smuggling on High Tariffs
The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STAON) has blamed the huge volume of vehicles smuggled into the country on high import tariff on imported vehicles.
STOAN’s spokesperson, Mr. Bolaji Akinola said this in a statement signed by its spokesman, saying the rate of smuggling in Nigeria especially of vehicles is alarmingly high.
He also said the introduction of the new Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) scheme announced earlier this week by the Federal Government, will not be effective in checking smuggling if tariffs remain unchanged.
“This is essentially due to the high and prohibitive import duty on vehicle which is more than twice what obtains in other countries in the sub-region.
While the VIN scheme sounds like a good idea, it may not do much to check smuggling.
“The main antidote to smuggling is the reduction on Customs duty on vehicles to bring it to the level obtainable in other West African countries.
“The duty should not be more than 10 per cent. Why exactly are people landing their vehicles in the ports of neighbouring countries and smuggle into Nigeria? It is to avoid the high Customs duties at the port.”
Akinola said it is difficult to check smuggling through the land borders because of the preponderance of illegal entry roués into the country.
He said, “There are more than 1,600 illegal entry routes into Nigeria. The borders are porous. It will be difficult for any agency of government to effectively patrol and check the influx of goods and persons through those porous entry points. There is a need to mount barriers and build strong high walls or electric fences at most of those entry points. Most importantly, government must deploy technology to secure our borders.”
He argued that the high rate of import duty on vehicle has made the prices of vehicles rise beyond the reach of many Nigerians as “the prices of vehicles have doubled over the past 18 months”.
“This is due to the high Customs duty, which is 35 per cent plus an additional surcharge of 35 per cent bringing the total government tariff to 70 per cent. This is way too high and when you place it side by side the high rate of foreign exchange, you see why Nigerians are paying more to acquire cars. The ban on importation through land borders is not enough to check smuggling and bring down the prices. Only a reduction on Customs duty will achieve that,” he added.
The STOAN Spokesman also said that there are too many government agencies operating at the port. This, he said, is contributing to the high cost of doing business at the port.
“The high cost of doing business at the port, which many allude to, is not because of high charges by operators but due to high Customs tariff and multiple checks by government agencies.
“Reduce Customs duty, reduce the huge crowd of government agencies operating at the port and automate the Customs clearing process, which is way too manual and regressive. Someone described the Customs clearing process as archaic and way too expensive. There are multiple checks within and outside the port, which must be tackled by government. Former Finance Minister Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ejected the agencies a few years ago but they are all back in their multitude,” he said.
Akinola added that Nigerian ports have ample capacity to handle both import and export and to support the federal government’s revenue diversification drive.
Farmforte, Others Signs MoU To Strengthen and Sustain Growth in Agricultural Sector
Farmforte Limited has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with the Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria; HYBR, a pan-African innovation firm; and ALTS, a consulting and strategy development firm.
The firm said in a statement on Sunday that the partnership would strengthen common interest cooperation and stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth within the agricultural sector, by capitalising on the synergy and comparative advantage offered by each organisation.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Farmforte Co-Chief Executive Officer, Osazuwa Osayi, said, “Our mid to long-term strategic goals are further reaffirmed, as this partnership will facilitate the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and expertise across the agricultural sector.
“We will collectively address initiatives and approaches concerning agricultural investments, food security, and the overall robustness of the value chain.”
He said the collaboration would also unlock the full potential of the sector and place it on a renewed path for success, especially within a post-pandemic economy.
The President of AFGEAN, Tajuddeen Dantata, said, “By creating dialogue and fostering investment in the horticulture sector, this partnership will endeavor to support Farmforte in its exporting efforts by improving operational efficacy and cost-savings, while ultimately driving socio-economic growth in the country.”
The Chief Executive Officer, HYBR, Charles Ojei, said to drive inclusion, sustainability, job creation, and Nigeria’s overall economic growth, the optimisation of the agriculture value chain was critical.
“This collaboration is a fusion of the complementary capabilities of all partners to move a bigger agenda forward.”
The Managing Partner, ALTS, Akintunde Sawyerr, said, “The goal of this partnership is to support Farmforte’s vision of becoming the largest agribusiness by 2035 via scalable and world-class innovation across its enterprise.”
OctaFX Launches Dual Life Campaign
International Forex broker, OctaFX has launched a socially conscious marketing campaign called Dual Life aimed at simplifying forex trading and helping Nigerians create wealth.
A statement by the organisation on Monday said that the marketing campaign would celebrate the superpowers of Nigerians who committed their time and efforts to two or more jobs and were successful at each one of them.
It stated that the #DualLifewithOctaFX campaign had influencers in the Nigerian lifestyle and entertainment space such as Toke Makinwa, Bovi, Denola Grey, Timini Egbuson, and others at the core of the engagements, establishing the other sides of the celebrities and influencers as entrepreneurs.
While speaking about the campaign, the Marketing Manager, EMEA, OctaFX, Ali Nwadike said, “We wanted to position forex trading as that activity young Nigerians and everyone else, can engage in, even while focusing on their careers.
“From findings, most young Nigerians today work two or more jobs to pay the bills and attain financial freedom. But, we don’t get to talk about this often or appreciate the efforts, hence the #DualLifewithOctaFX campaign.
“While some see their jobs as a burden, we want people to see it as an achievement; and promote the school of thought that says one, two, many jobs is not bad especially when you are trying to create wealth.”
Nwadike added that more Nigerians would be exposed to the beauty of keeping their regular jobs and careers while making more money from forex trading with the OctaFX Trading App.
The statement also affirmed that OctaFX had made necessary arrangements from assembling forex experts and compiling training guides in the simplest and relatable form.
AfDB Appoints Dr. Beth Dunford as Vice President
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced the appointment of Dr. Beth Dunford as its Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development. The appointment becomes effective from July 1, 2021.
A statement explained that Dunford, a national of the United States of America, brings extensive experience to this role. She has held senior-level leadership positions in the US government, where she managed large and complex programs, working with the private sector, civil society, and multilateral and bilateral institutions, as well as with African governments, to deliver agricultural, social and human development impact at scale.
Prior to her appointment, Dunford worked as the Assistant to the Administrator in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, as well as the Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
“In this dual role, she coordinated Feed the Future across multiple U.S. government agencies, oversaw a $1 billion annual budget and leveraged millions of direct private sector investment annually. In this capacity, she also coordinated a $2.3 billion Feed the Future presidential initiative across 11 US government agencies and forged partnerships within the private sector and civil society targeted at reducing hunger and poverty.
“She also led USAID’s technical and regional expertise focused on improving agriculture-led growth, resilience, nutrition and water security, sanitation and hygiene,” the statement added.
President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said he was delighted to appoint Dunford as Vice President to lead the Bank’s work on Agriculture, Human and Social Development.
“Beth is a strategic and effective leader with deep knowledge and impressive track record in designing and delivering highly impactful large-scale programs that have helped in lifting 27 million people out of poverty in 36 countries,” he added.
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