- 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.
Manufacturing Firms Borrowed N570bn from Banks in 2020 – CBN
Manufacturing firms borrowed a total of N570bn from Nigerian banks last year amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Banks’ credit to the manufacturing sector rose to N3.19tn as of December 2020 from N2.62tn at the end of 2019, according to the sectoral analysis of banks’ credit by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The sector received the second biggest share of the credit from the banks after the oil and gas sector, which got N5.18tn as of December.
“The manufacturing sector, which is the engine of sustainable growth, is still struggling with the debilitating impact of the pandemic and is yet to recuperate,” the Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said in January.
MAN, in a January report, revealed that most manufacturers said commercial banks’ lending rates were discouraging productivity in the sector.
The report said 71 per cent of Chief Executive Officers interviewed “disagreed that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector.”
It said the cost of borrowing in the country remained at double digits even amidst the reforms meant to culminate in lower rates to engender the country’s economic recovery process.
The report said, “Special single digit loans offered by development banks are still hard to leverage as conditionalities to assess the loans through commercial banks are often overwhelming and laden with additional charges that will eventually make the interest rate double digit.
“Seven per cent of respondents were, however, of the opinion that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector while the remaining 22 per cent were not sure of the impact of the rate of lending on productivity in the manufacturing sector.”
The report showed that 64 per cent of respondent disagreed that the size of commercial bank loan to manufacturing sector had encouraged manufacturing productivity.
It said the very high presence of the government in the money market, particularly through the sale of treasury bills, had been crowding out the private sector from the market.
Nigeria Earns Extra N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel
FG Generates Additional Income of N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel
The Federal Government earned an additional N318.36 billion in February following the surge in crude oil price above $60 per barrel.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, average $60 throughout the month of February.
In March, it rose to $67 per barrel.
According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s crude oil price was retained at $40 per barrel for 2021.
However, she said the nation is presently producing below its 2.5 million barrel per day capacity at 1.7mbpd. This, she said includes 300,000bpd condensates.
“Although Nigeria’s total production capacity is 2.5mbpd, current crude production is about 1.7mbpd, including about 300,000bpd of condensates, which indicates compliance with OPEC quota,” the finance minister stated.
Going by the number, Nigeria is producing 1.4mbpd of crude oil without condensates, but with an additional $20 revenue when compared to the $40 per barrel benchmark for the year. It means the Federal Government realised an additional income of N318.360 billion or $20 X 1.4mbpd X 30days in the month of February.
Crude oil jumped to $68.54 per barrel on Friday following OPEC+’s decision to role-over production cuts.
Nigeria, Morocco sign MOUs on Hydrocarbons, Others
The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Morocco have signed five strategic Memoranda of Understanding that will foster Nigerian-Morocco bilateral collaboration and promote the development of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and commerce in both countries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, led the Nigerian delegation to the agreement signing ceremony on Tuesday at Marrakech, Morocco, while the Chief Executive Officer of OCP Africa, Mr Anouar Jamali, signed for the Kingdom of Morocco, according to a statement by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
Under the agreement between OCP, NSIA and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria will import phosphate from the Kingdom of Morocco and use it to produce blended fertiliser for the local market and export.
The statement said Nigeria would also produce ammonia and export to Morocco.
“As part of the project, the Nigerian Government plans to establish an ammonia plant at Akwa Ibom State,” it said.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, were part of the delegation and they confirmed that their organisations would take equity in the ammonia plant when the Final Investment Decision would be taken, the statement said.
Sylva said the project would broaden economic opportunities for the two nations and improve the wellbeing of the people.
He added that the project would also positively impact agriculture, stimulate the growth of gas-based industries and lead to massive job creation.
He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and it agencies and other government agencies to give maximum support for the project.
“He mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” he added.
According to the statement, the MOUs were for the support of the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; Shareholders Agreement for the creation of the joint venture company to develop the multipurpose industrial platform and MOU for equity investment by the NNPC in the joint venture and support of the gas.
Other agreements are term sheet for gas sales and aggregation agreement and MOU for land acquisition and administrative facilitation to the establishment of the multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation agreement.
The NCDMB boss described the bilateral agreement as significant to the Nigerian economy as it would accelerate Nigeria’s gas monetisation programme through establishment of the ammonia plant in the country.
The agreement would also improve Nigeria’s per capita fertiliser application through importation of phosphate derivatives from Morocco, he added.
Wabote challenged the relevant parties to focus on accelerating the FID, assuring them that the NCDMB would take equity investment for long-term sustainability of the project.
He canvassed for the setting up of a project management oversight structure to ensure project requirements and timelines are met.
“There is also need to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programmes that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex,” he said.
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