- 282 Vessels Missing From NPA’s Custody
The Senate yesterday raised the alarm over the disappearance of over 282 vessels from the custody of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) within the last six years.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, Senator Hope Uzodinma, raised the alarm at an investigative public hearing on smuggling in the country.
He said the 282 vessels were missing from various terminals of the NPA.
He noted that documents in the possession of the Senate showed that the vessels disappeared between 2010 and 2016 without traces.
He said: “We want the NPA to come and explain what happened to the 282 vessels that disappeared from the terminals. We have names of the releasing officers.”
Uzodinma who described NPA as critical in the investigation, lamented that the agency failed to send any representative to the public hearing.
He said reports had detailed the colossal harm done to the country’s economy by the activities of smugglers.
He said: “Those that may imagine that this is an exaggeration should do well to refer to a recent report of the World Bank on smuggling in Nigeria.
“The report was unequivocal in stating that an astonishing $5billion or N1.45 trillion worth of different goods are smuggled into Nigeria annually through Benin Republic alone.
“Yet this is only 15 per cent of the total volume of smuggled goods through the Seme border.
“The figure of goods smuggled through the sea ports is even more mind boggling.
“The report has it that over $15billion or N4.35 trillion worth of goods are smuggled into the country each year through the sea ports. The story is the same for our international airports.
“Put together, it means that goods worth over N7trilion are smuggled into the country each year.”
He said it was more frightening to note that the annual turnover in the hands of smugglers was more than the country’s annual budget.
He said the World Bank report further showed that over 25 per cent of the total annual revenue collected by Customs was lost to smugglers each year.
“If you go by the projected revenue of the Service for this year, which is approximately N600 billion, it means the service will lose about N200 billion in revenue this year alone.’’
Illegal importation of goods into the country, he said, had equally affected local industries, leading to loss of jobs and closure of industries.
He lamented that smuggling is fast proving to be the biggest industry in Nigeria and must be fought to a standstill.
Uzodinma lamented that there were other areas of leakages, arising from miss-invoicing by international traders, abuse of free trade zone policies and temporary import permit.
He urged the stakeholders make useful submissions that would aid the committee in its investigation.
He said: “I expect that those of you who have expert knowledge or privileged information on why this cankerworm has continued to pervade our economy should equally come forward with them.
“No serious legislative arm of government will sit supine while smugglers ravage the economy and deny the government huge sums of legitimate revenue.
“This Senate is determined to put an end to this smuggling malady and this investigation is designed to facilitate that,’’ he said.
MILO Cereal Launches New Online Campaign, ‘Beast Mode – Activated’
MILO Cereal has launched its first major marketing campaign for its newly launched Protein cereal, via independent creative communications agency Connecting Plots.
Building on MILO’s brand message of fuelling active kids, the new campaign platform, ‘Beast Mode – Activated’, evolves the master brand’s focus on team sports.
This aims to celebrate how MILO Protein helps active kids unleash their own full potential, take their training to the next level and successfully compete with their peers.
The campaign launched on 16 April and will run across various social channels and online videos.
Connecting Plots creative partner Dave Jansen said the approach to the MILO Protein cereal campaign was about tapping into the teen mindset and being less overt and more authentic.
“Creating advertising that doesn’t feel like a ‘sell’ is the challenge when targeting teens,” Jansen said in a statement.
“We’ve shied away from the polished tropes of traditional, achievement driven sports ads to bring this to life in a way that hopefully gives life to a teenager’s desire to do their best, feel like they are stepping into their future adult self and showing how MILO Protein Cereal can help on that journey.”
Cereal Partners Worldwide’s marketing manager, Keara Deignan, added: “Aussies grew up with MILO cereal, it’s a staple of every Australian pantry.
“However, we’ve seen that as teens start to carve out their own identities, their consumption habits change so this product aims to keep pace with their active on-the-go lifestyle.”
Global Digital Consumer Spent $900B In 2020 – Mastercard
According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this amounted to an additional $900bn being spent in retail online around the world in 2020. Put another way: in 2020, e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019.
For retailers, restaurants and other businesses large and small, being able to sell online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer spending was disrupted.
Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution. The report draws on anonymised and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The analysis dives into what this means by country and by sector, for goods and services, and within countries and across borders.
“While consumers were stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritized digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”
Venmo Launches Cryptocurrency Trading
Venmo, owned by PayPal, is launching cryptocurrency trading for four major coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
This service set to be widely available within the new few weeks, Venmo’s 70 million+ customers will be able to buy, hold and sell crypto directly within the Venmo app. The launch is offering users access to in-app guides to help them to better navigate the cryptocurrency trading space and will encourage them to share their cryptocurrency experiences via the Venmo feed.
Venmo users will be able to buy as little as $1 worth of cryptocurrency and can use either funds from their Venmo balance or from a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.
Over 30% of Venmo customers have already begun to purchase cryptocurrency or equities, according to the company’s research into 2020 customer behavior. Of these, 20% began their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the public health and concurrent economic crisis has accelerated trends in digitization and experimentation with new financial technologies.
Support for cryptocurrency on Venmo is facilitated through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of crypto products such as its stable coin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal is also the holder of a conditional Bitlicense from the exacting New York State Department of Financial Services. Conditional licensees, such as PayPal, are required to pair off with firms that have already been granted full-blown licenses — as, in this case, has Paxos.
Just under a week ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman hinted at developments underway since the payments giant first went live with its crypto offering in the United States in November of last year. Schulman said that PayPal aims to support the use of crypto for everyday transactions and to tap into smart contracts and other, more expansive features of blockchain technology. He also pitched the company’s vision of leveraging crypto for the attainment of a more “inclusive economy,” in which “things will be done much differently than today.”
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