- FG Reduces Documents for Import, Export
The Federal Government has approved a reduction in the number of documents needed for both exports and imports in furtherance of its Enabling Business Environment initiative.
While the number of documents needed to import goods into the country has been reduced from 14 to eight, those needed for exports have similarly been reduced from 10 to seven.
The Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment, Office of the Vice President, Dr. JumokeOduwole, stated this in Lagos on Thursday during a sensitisation workshop on ease of doing business reforms hosted by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Oduwole, who is also Coordinator of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council Secretariat, said the aim of the reduction was to make it more convenient for businesses to process their documentation for export or import.
She said that the Federal Government had been very concerned about the low ranking of Nigeria in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ratings and was determined to improve the situation.
She said the government hoped to achieve this by actively engaging stakeholders in the various sectors with a view to identifying the reforms that could be put in place to improve the business environment.
The Assistant Comptroller-General for tariff and trade, Customs headquarters, Robert Alu, said that the ease of doing business was part of the mandate of the NCS.
He said the need to ensure that there was trade facilitation informed the hosting of the sensitisation workshop, to acquaint the various stakeholders with steps being taken by the service towards actualising the enabling business environment mandate of the Federal Government.
Oduwole said the Federal Government also focused on the Small and Medium Enterprise sector to enable operators to reduce the amount of time spent in getting documentation and get access to finance.
FG Asks Customs to Ground Private Jets over Failure to Pay Import Duties
The Federal Government of Nigeria has instructed the Nigerian Customs Service to ensure the grounding of 91 private jets, which are owned by some particularly rich Nigerians, over the payment of import duties.
The individuals in question have allegedly refused to pay their import duties, which are running up to about N30 billion. This has prompted the Federal Government to make the call to ground their private jets.
The Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) has since written a letter to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) instructing the agencies to ground the concerned private jets with immediate effect.
The letter was dated November 2, 2021 and was addressed to the Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu. The same letter was also sent and addressed to the Managing Director of the FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu and the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu.
In the letter, the three addressed agencies were instructed to ground the private jets by refusing them proper administrative and operational flight clearances until further notice.
The letter went ahead to state that the indefinite refusal of administrative and operational flight clearances will be lifted once the Nigerian Customs Service has issued an Aircraft Clearance Certificate, and the certificate is provided to the agencies as evidence of cooperation.
Nairaland’s findings report that some of the private jets which are victims of the grounding order are owned by senior pastors of some Pentecostal churches across the country, Chief Executive Officers of some earlier oil companies, the Chairmen of some Tier-1 banks in the country, as well as some Tier-1 banks themselves with one of said banks owning two upmarket jets themselves.
However, some of the owners of these jets have written letters of protest to the Customs Service, stating that they cannot pay import duties because the private jets in question are under lease payments.
Seplat Energy to Acquire ExxonMobil’s Nigerian Shallow Water Business
Seplat Energy Plc, Nigeria’s leading indigenous energy company, has confirmed that it is in the process of acquiring ExxonMobil’s Nigerian shallow water business.
ExxonMobil has been selling off its businesses in Europe, Africa, and Asia in recent years to focus on a few mega-projects at home and abroad.
The statement reads, “Seplat Energy Plc, a leading Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, notes the recent press speculation and confirms that Seplat Energy, together with a partner, is in competitive discussions to acquire ExxonMobil’s Nigerian shallow water business.”
According to Seplat, there is no certainty as to the outcome of the ongoing discussions.
“Deliberations are ongoing and accordingly, there can be no certainty as to the outcome. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate, in line with regulatory requirements,” Seplat stated.
The announcement is coming a few days after Seplat Chairman, ABC Orjiako resigned from his position as the Chairman of the company following a debt scandal with Zenith Bank Plc.
Uber to Halt Services in Parts of Belgium
Uber will stop its ride-hailing service in most parts of Belgium tomorrow after a court ruling on Wednesday which extends an order given in 2015, banning its p2p (Peer to Peer) UberPop service to also cover professional drivers who provide its ride-hailing service.
Uber told TechCrunch that it is currently closely examining the details of the ruling, in order to arrive at a decision on whether or not to appeal the decision with the country’s Supreme Court.
This also follows a temporary decision to discontinue Uber’s service in Brussels, a decision which was referred to as “exceptional and unprecedented” by the tech giant. The company said that it was merely taking a step to complain about the lack of reform rules which forbid drivers from using smartphones.
After the ruling by the Brussels appeal court, private hire vehicle drivers have been obstructing a major tunnel in the capital of Belgium.
In a statement made concerning Friday’s impending shutdown, the chief of Uber in the country, Laurent Slitsagain criticized the government for not providing a reform which it has been soliciting for, stating that the decision was made depending on regulations which are now outdated as they were written before smartphones.
The company stated that the government has promised a reform but has failed to deliver said reforms for the last seven years.
According to Bloomberg, the shutdown will not be applicable to a small number of drivers who are licensed in the Flemish region of Belgium, and are therefore still permitted to use the application. Uber confirmed that the Appeal Court ruling only applies to drivers with Brussels licenses.
In another statement, Slits stated that the tech giant is hugely concerned about the 2,000 possessors of LVC licenses (rental car with driver licenses) who according to the country chief will lose their ability to generate earnings.
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