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Customs Seize Vehicles Worth N7.75bn in Two Years

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  • Customs Seize Vehicles Worth N7.75bn in Two Years

A total of 3,190 vehicles were seized by the Nigeria Customs Services in 2015 and 2016 as part of its anti-smuggling activities, figures obtained from the agency showed.

The 3,190 vehicles for the two-year period, according to the NCS, have a total duty paid value of N7.75bn

The figures are contained in a report prepared by the Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection Department of the NCS for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal periods.

An analysis of the report showed that 1,724 vehicles with duty paid value of N3.95bn were impounded in 2015.

In 2016, the service, according to the report, recorded 1,466 vehicle seizures with duty paid value of N3.79bn.

The NCS had in recent times taken steps to check the high level of smuggled vehicles coming into the country.

The development made the agency to come up with the controversial policy on the payment of import duty on old vehicles.

The NCS later suspended the implementation of the policy following an earlier directive by the Senate that the policy, which had generated controversies, be suspended.

The Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah, stated that the suspension of the policy would remain until the agency gets the support of the lawmakers in implementing it.

He said the agency would continue to step up efforts in ensuring that the rate of smuggling was reduced to the barest minimum.

Attah stated, “When a vehicle is intercepted by the Customs and the vehicle has no Customs duty, of course, it will be taken to the station and detained. There are times when you meet somebody and he tells you he is not in possession of documents or he claims that he paid and cannot produce the evidence; such a vehicle is detained pending the production of the valid Customs document.

“But in a case where he does not produce a valid document neither is he willing to come and pay, because as it is now, the Customs is even kind of bending backwards, and when such vehicles are intercepted, we are not too quick about seizure. If it is proven properly that the vehicle is your own and you can pay the duty, it’s left for you to go.

“But a smuggled vehicle that a smuggler has no intention to pay on is subject to seizure, because the law said it should be seized.”

In a similar development, the NCS said it had concluded arrangement to auction seized goods online.

According to the agency, this will be done through a new e-auction portal set up for disposing of seizures that have undergone the process of court condemnation.

Attah, who disclosed this recently, said that only taxpayers with the Federal Inland Revenue Service issued Tax Identification Number would be eligible to participate in the auction, adding that Customs officers and their family members were excluded from the auction.

According to Attah, the portal, www.trade.gov.ng, requires applicants to input recent passport photographs with the payment of a non-refundable administrative fee of N1,000.

The guidelines also indicate that auctioned items cannot be replaced or funds paid refunded to bidders.

Attah said the auction would take place all over the country, adding that it was aimed at enhancing transparency, reducing human contacts and congestion in the various government warehouses, and increase revenue from the sales.

Successful bidders are expected to make payments within five working days as winners who fail to pay within the period will forfeit the auctioned items to the second highest bidders.

Successful bidders will be given a period 14 days from the date of payment to remove the items from the Customs warehouses or forfeit them at expiration of the period.

Any auctioned item not removed from the warehouse within 14 days from the date of payment, according to Attah, shall revert to its pre-bidding status, which makes it open for sale again.

Winners in the auction process are expected to pay 25 per cent of the auction amount to the terminal operator, and another 25 per cent of the auction amount to the shipping line operator.

Owners of seized items are excluded from bidding for them but may, however, participate in the bidding for other items; while owners of overtime items with evidence of payment of duty and other charges have priority over successful bidders for the items provided they have not been exited out of the Customs control.

Interested persons will be expected to access what is put for sale through the NCS trade portal to bid and the system will trigger victory to the highest bidder.

Hitherto, the service had conducted auctions through issuance of documents to beneficiaries with which they approached the warehouses before making payments to designated banks.

This method was viewed as not being transparent as beneficiaries of the auctions were believed to have been selected through a non-competitive process.

The new policy is coming 19 months after the Customs auctions were suspended following the voluntary retirement of the former Comptroller-General of Customs, Dikko Abdullahi.

Seized goods amounting to billions of naira that have been condemned through court processes are reportedly lying in the warehouses.

Attah said the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), took time to entrench the new method that required deployment of Information and Communication Technology to reduce human contact and influences.

According to him, the new system is undergoing a test run for applicant acceptability before it is open to the public for access and transactions.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Economy

World Bank Lauds Kogi’s 2020 Financial Statement

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The World Bank has heaped praise on the Government of Kogi State concerning the state’s audited financial statement for 2020. The financial institution was said to have described the financial report as a standard to look up to concerning transparency and accountability in the public sector.

In a statement which was dated November 21, 2021 it was said that the bank made the commendation in a letter which was sent to the Accountant General of the state.

As said in the statement, the letter which was taken by the Kogi State Accountant General on November 2025 was signed by Deborah Hannah Isser, the Task Team Leader of the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS), Nigeria Country Office, Western and Central African Region.

SFTAS is a $750 million programme which has been set up to reward states for meeting any or every one of the indicators which demonstrate improvements in fiscal transparency, sustainability and accountability.

The indicators, which are nine in number were a byproduct of the former Fiscal Sustainability Plan of the federal government where States would be rewarded for meeting up to 22 targets.

The World Bank had previously backed the federal government to give incentives to the states in order to properly execute the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan, which has now gone under a revamp as the nine Disbursement Linked Indicators under SFTAS.

Some of the criteria on which judgement will be based on are: improvement in financial reporting and budget reliability, improved cash management, increased openness, citizen participation in the budget process, reduced revenue leakages through the execution of State Treasury Single Account (TSA), a strengthened Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud.

The World Bank commended the Kogi State government for preparing its audited financial statements in line with the basis of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Rigid Forex Policy Discouraging Investors, Fueling Inflation – World Bank

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The World Bank has blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria’s rigid forex policy for the drop in Nigeria’s capital importation and rising inflation rate.

The bank disclosed in its November report, Nigeria Development Update.

Explaining modalities for its position, the World Bank stated that there had been constant pressure on the Nigerian Naira with the current forex policy, forcing the central bank to consistently increase its nominal official exchange rate in an effort to ease some of the pressure.

This, it blamed on the rigid foreign exchange management system of the Central Bank of Nigeria, saying the system has also been responsible for the rising inflation rate in Nigeria.

The report read in part, “The government’s exchange rate management policies continue to discourage investment and fuel inflation. Exchange rate stability is a key CBN policy objective, and to preserve its external reserves the CBN continues to manage FX demand and limit the supply of FX to the market.

“Pressure on the naira remains intense, and while the CBN has raised the nominal official exchange rate three times since the start of the pandemic (by 15 per cent in March 2020, five per cent in August 2020, and seven per cent in May 2021), FX management remains too rigid to respond to external shocks. Meanwhile, exchange-rate management has emerged as one of the key drivers of inflation.”

The World Bank further stated that the central bank foreign exchange system needs to be more flexible to withstand external shocks, especially given Nigeria’s mono-product nature. It added that the NAFEX rate does not reflect the true market rate but the central bank managed rate.

It read in part, “While the CBN supplied an average of $2.5bn to the Investors and Exporters forex window in the months just prior to the COVID-19 crisis, it only supplied an average of $0.5bn in the months thereafter.

“The NAFEX rate, which is now the guiding exchange rate for the economy, continues to be managed and is not fully reflective of market conditions. The parallel market premium over the NAFEX rate reached 29 per cent in August 2021 after the CBN cut off its weekly supply of $20,000 per bureau de change. The CBN has intermittently supplied forex to BDCs since 2005, providing ample opportunities for currency round-tripping.”

The institution however advised that Nigeria adopt a more predictable, transparent and flexible foreign exchange management system in order to attract and sustain private investment flows.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Non-oil Revenue Now N1.15 Trillion – Minister of Finance

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Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, has said that Nigeria’s non-oil revenue is now N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 percent above the country’s target. This, she claimed, was a result of the federal government’s efforts at diversifying the nation’s economy.

Mrs. Ahmed disclosed this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2021 Annual Directors Conference which was held on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the event with the theme: “Creating the Future: Deepening the Corporate Governance Practice through Multi-Sectoral and Multi-Generational Collaborations,” was meant to discuss economic development.

Mrs Ahmed added that the recent development was in line with President’s commitment to further diversifying the Nigerian economy which is heavily dependent on oil. She observed that Nigeria was showing resilience in recovery from recession from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which intensely affected global economies.

The minister said the federal government alongside the private sector had implemented a wide range of monetary measures to stimulate economic recovery, growth and development, job creation and improved standards of living.

She also explained that the government was doing everything to improve and diversify Nigeria’s revenue generation.

Nigeria was quickly able to exit recession and is on her way to path of sustainable growth and we are intensifying efforts to grow and diversify our revenue sources to grow revenue from the current 8 per cent.”

“Our non-oil revenues have grown to N1.15 trillion, representing 15.7 per cent above set target. We are working on the 2021 finance bill and it’s nearing completion. Also, the recent approval of the medium-term national development plan is an important milestone of Buhari’s commitment to delivering sustainable growth and we require strong support and monitoring during implementation,” she said.

Mrs Ahmed reinforced the government’s decision to do something about infrastructure and reduce the cost of production for businesses in the country.

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