- Customs May Lose 50% Revenue to Ban on Vehicles Importation
Following the federal government ban on the importation of vehicles through the land borders, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Seme Command, is set to lose 50 per cent of its monthly revenue valued at about N13 billion.
The Seme command of the NCS rakes in between N25 billion to N28 billion monthly with 50 per cent of that amount coming from vehicle importation.
The federal government had last year prohibited the importation of vehicles, new and old, through land borders, restricting all vehicle imports to Nigeria Sea Ports only.
However, Customs Area Controller of Seme Border, Victor Dimka said: “You will agree with me that over 50 per cent of our revenue comes from vehicles importation in this command, so that is going to be completely removed and what is left is what we should expect but we will create a very friendly environment just as we have been doing. You will also agree with me that the trade between Nigeria and the countries of the corridors are more or less informal, we will try to perfect on this relationship so as to make the place more business friendly.
“We will have flyers all over the places, we have help desk as you can see, our officers will tell people what must be done and what must not be done. So when you have two or more sources, two are removed, the one remaining we will guide Jealously, so importation on General goods from Benin Republic and other countries of the corridors to see we maximize revenue collection optimally.”
He said the Seme Command raked in over N1 billion a few working days to the take off of the ban following the rush to bring in vehicles into the country by importers.
He said the ban on vehicles as was announced by the federal government meant that the command will re-tighten its belts, “because it very difficult to see vehicles being smuggled through Seme even before the ban. So what is going to happen just to tighten what we have, make sure we deploy officers to all the likely routes they will follow. We have also discovered through intelligence new routes they are creating but by the time we finish, we are going to move officers there permanently.
“Of course there is going to be a combined force from the Command, Federal Operations, Compliance Team and even the military to ensure total blockage. Believe me, the war is going to be fierce because you know most of them in this vicinity see smuggling as a birthright, so they will want to try but we will resist them.
“They attempt justifying the act by saying its buying and selling. For them, it is merely traveling from one end to buy or trade at the other end. They even argue that their fathers have been trading between the Nigerian area and Benin Republic, so stopping them is like stopping what they have known to be doing for hundreds of years.” he said.
He added, “Those at the Nigerian end of the border share lingual, cultural and historical similarities with some communities in Benin. In fact, some Nigerian families have branches in Benin. As a customs officer, I have seen them celebrate, worship and mourn together as one. We tell them daily that what they enjoy is the ECOWAS treaty on free movement and that the family houses they claim to be going fall within the territory of a different state.
“This is where enlightenment comes in. I am regularly educating the people on Nigerian side that the Benin Republic is a different country from Nigeria and the dont share uniform economic policies. I keep telling traditional rulers and youths that every country like Nigeria has policies to protect their economies and import prohibition lists are part of these policies. This is the thrust of our Customs Community Relations efforts. We keep telling them not to see smuggling as a right or a legitimate source of livelihood.”
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday
Brent Crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, rose from $54.46 per barrel on Monday to $55.27 per barrel as of 9:03 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.
Last week, Brent crude oil rose to 11 months high of $57.38 per barrel before pulling back on rising COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in key global economies like the United Kingdom, Euro-Area, China, etc.
While OPEC has left 2021 oil demand unchanged and President-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, experts are saying the rising number of new cases of COVID-19 amid poor vaccine distribution could drag on growth and demand for oil in 2021.
On Friday, Dan Yergin, vice-chairman at IHS Markit, said in addition to the stimulus package “There are two other things that are going with it … one is of course, vaccinations — in the sense that eventually this crisis is going to end, and maybe by the spring, lockdowns will be over.”
“The other thing is what Saudi Arabia did. This is the third time Saudi Arabia has made a sudden change in policy in less than a year, and this one was to announce (the) 1 million barrel a day cut — partly because they are worried about the impact of the surge in virus that’s occurring,” he said.
Also, the stimulus being injected into the United States economy could spur huge Shale production and disrupt OPEC and allies’ efforts at balancing the global oil market in 2021.
Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus
Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.
On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.
OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”
“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”
Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.
“The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.
Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.
But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.
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