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Shipping Firms Plan N30b Refund to Importers, Agents

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  • Shipping Firms Plan N30b Refund to Importers, Agents

On-going negotiations between shipping companies and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) will lead to refund of over N30 billion to importers and clearing agents, it was learnt at the weekend.

The negotiation, it was gathered, was based on the fear that the Supreme Court may rule in favour of the Council in a suit challenging the alleged imposition of arbitrary charges on users of shipping services.

No less than N600 billion may be refunded by the shipping firms, being accumulated levies collected over the years.

The Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court had earlier given judgment in favour of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and slammed a N1 trillion fine on the shipping companies and terminal operators.

Speaking in relation to the meetings, the Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr Kayode Farinto, said the Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, remains committed to protecting the interests of users of shipping services in Nigeria. On the allegations of unauthorised levies imposed on shippers by terminal operators and ship owners, Farinto said the justice system in the country works slowly, but added that the shipping companies are making moves to shield themselves from the sledge hammer of the law. He expressed confidence that the negotiation will lead to resolution of issues.

Although the ANLCA chief lamented the slow dispensation of justice in Nigeria, he said the delay was responsible for the inability of the NSC to speedily resolve issues bordering on reversal of illegally collected charges.

Farinto reiterated that the court of first jurisdiction had awarded a charge of N1 trillion against the operators and shipping companies on the excess charges collected from importers and agents within the period they increased terminal charges and shipping fees without due consultation with relevant government agencies.

“The justice system is very slow. The court had determined at the first instance that the illegal levies amounted to over N1 trillion and money was to be paid to the system before it went to the Court of Appeal. While the case is still pending, the amount of the illegal levies collected so far is in the region of N7 trillion.”

Shippers Council, he said, was not the one that went to court; they took the agency to court. “I do agree that the amount to be paid by the shipping companies can be negotiated through consultation and dialogue because there is no way you can unilaterally or arbitrarily impose charges and say this is my charge, it must be negotiated and approved by the agencies representing the government at ports,” he added.

A senior official of NSC, who craved anonymity, said the council was open to out-of-court settlement, but added that the most important thing is for the stakeholders to be carried along and the need for the shipping companies to obey the laws of the country.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had in a 2014 judgment declared that the Shipping Line Agency Charges (SLAC) levied and collected from Nigerian shippers by shipping companies since 2006 was illegal.

“The Court, therefore, ruled that the shipping companies should account and pay to Nigerian shippers all monies or fees charged and collected since 2006 as SLAC from shippers or users of shipping/port related services from 2006 to date, which ran into several billions of naira.

“In a landmark judgment by Justice Buba Ibrahim, sitting at the Federal High Court, Lagos, in Suit No. FHC/CS/1646/2014 – Alraine Shipping Agencies (Nig) Ltd & ORS Vs Nigerian Shippers’ Council and Suit No. FHC/CS/1704/2014 – Apapa Bulk Terminal Ltd & ORS Vs Nigerian Shippers’ Council, he affirmed the appointment of the Nigerian Shippers Council as the Economic Regulator of the ports and dismissed the claims of shipping companies and the terminal operators.

“Pursuant to the appointment of the Nigerian Shippers Council as the Economic Regulator Government, in line with the executive powers of the president in February 2014, the NSC issued notices to both the shipping companies and terminal operators to reverse all illegal charges levied on Nigerian shippers,” the official said.

Dissatisfied, the shipping companies and the concessionaires, he said, filed an appeal against the council at the Appeal Court in Lagos in 2015.

“The Court of Appeal also dismissed the case brought against the Nigerian Shippers Council by the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria concerning shipping charges hence, the current out-of-court negotiation by the shipping companies with NSC.

“They have over N600 billion to refund, but the amount they have to pay may not be more than N300 billon or more,” the NSC official said.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Peter Obi Advocates for Full Government Backing of Dangote’s $21bn Refinery Project

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Peter G. Obi

Peter Obi, a prominent Nigerian politician and public figure, has called for unwavering support for the Dangote Refinery amid recent conflicts between Dangote Industries and government agencies.

In a passionate appeal, Obi said the current disputes extend beyond political and personal differences, touching upon the broader interests of Nigeria’s economy and its future prosperity.

In his statement on X.com, Obi highlighted the refinery’s immense potential to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities.

With an estimated annual revenue potential of approximately $21 billion and the capacity to generate over 100,000 jobs, the Dangote Refinery represents a cornerstone of Nigeria’s industrial advancement and economic stabilization.

“The recent challenges faced by Dangote Industries should not overshadow the vital role this enterprise plays in our national economy,” Obi asserted.

“Alhaji Dangote’s contributions are monumental, and it is essential that we rally behind his ventures, particularly the refinery, which is set to make a significant impact on our fuel crisis and foreign exchange earnings.”

The refinery, with its strategic importance, stands as a beacon of hope for Nigeria’s fuel supply and overall economic development.

It is poised to address long-standing issues in the energy sector, provide substantial revenue streams, and enhance the country’s economic resilience. Given these benefits, Obi stressed that any actions hindering the refinery’s operation would be counterproductive.

Obi also commended Alhaji Dangote for his remarkable achievements across various sectors, including cement, sugar, salt, fertilizer, infrastructure, and more.

“Alhaji Dangote embodies patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s growth. His extensive industrial activities are not only a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit but also a vital contribution to Nigeria’s economic landscape,” he added.

Despite the challenging business environment, Dangote’s diversified industrial investments demonstrate a commitment to Nigeria’s industrialization and job creation.

Obi urged the Federal Government and its agencies to offer full support to Dangote Industries, recognizing the broader economic benefits and the positive impact on national welfare.

“The success of Dangote Industries is intrinsically linked to the success of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. We cannot afford to let such a crucial enterprise falter,” Obi warned. “Every sensible and patriotic government should view enterprises like Dangote Industries as national treasures that deserve robust support and protection.”

Obi’s appeal underscores the critical need for collaboration between the government and private sector leaders to ensure the successful operation of key projects like the Dangote Refinery.

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Dangote Accuses NNPC and Oil Traders of Secret Operations in Malta

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Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, has leveled serious allegations against personnel from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and certain oil traders.

Speaking at a session with the House of Representatives, Dangote claimed that these parties have established a blending plant in Malta, raising concerns about the integrity of Nigeria’s fuel supply.

Dangote described the blending plant as lacking refining capability, instead focusing on mixing re-refined oil with additives to produce lubricants.

“Some of the terminals, some of the NNPC people, and some traders have opened a blending plant somewhere off Malta,” he stated.

He emphasized that these activities are well-known within industry circles.

Addressing the drop in diesel prices, Dangote argued that locally produced diesel, with sulfur content levels of 650 to 700 parts per million (ppm), is superior to imported variants.

He linked numerous vehicle issues to what he described as “substandard” imported fuel.

He called for the House of Representatives to set up an independent committee to investigate fuel quality at filling stations.

“I urge you to take samples from filling stations and compare them with our production line to inform Nigerians accurately,” Dangote insisted.

The accusations come amid an ongoing dispute between the Dangote Refinery and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

Farouk Ahmed, NMDPRA’s chief executive, had previously claimed that local refineries, including Dangote’s, were producing inferior products compared to imports.

Also, the House of Representatives has initiated a probe into allegations that international oil companies are undermining the Dangote Refinery’s operations.

In response to the escalating tensions, Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, intervened by meeting with key stakeholders including Dangote, Ahmed, and other top officials from the Nigerian petroleum regulatory bodies.

The discussions aimed to address claims of monopoly against Dangote, which he has strongly denied, and to ensure that all parties operate transparently and fairly.

This development highlights the complex dynamics within Nigeria’s oil industry. The allegations and subsequent investigations could impact market stability and investor confidence.

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Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote Ready to Sell Refinery to Nigerian Government

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Dangote refinery

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest entrepreneur, has announced his willingness to sell his multibillion-dollar oil refinery to Nigeria’s state-owned energy company, NNPC Limited.

This decision comes amid a growing dispute with key partners and regulatory authorities.

The $19 billion refinery, which began operations last year, is a significant development for Nigeria, aiming to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

However, challenges in sourcing crude and ongoing disputes have hindered its full potential.

Dangote expressed frustration over allegations of monopolistic practices, stating that these accusations are unfounded.

“If they want to label me a monopolist, I am ready to let NNPC take over. It’s in the best interest of the country,” he said in a recent interview.

The refinery has faced difficulties with supply agreements, particularly with international crude producers demanding high premiums.

NNPC, initially a supportive partner, has delivered only a fraction of the crude needed since last year. This has forced Dangote to seek alternative suppliers from countries like Brazil and the US.

Despite the challenges, Dangote remains committed to contributing to Nigeria’s economy. “I’ve always believed in investing at home.

This refinery can resolve our fuel crisis,” he stated, urging other wealthy Nigerians to invest domestically rather than abroad.

Recently, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority accused Dangote’s refinery of producing substandard diesel.

In response, Dangote invited regulators and lawmakers to verify the quality of his products, which he claims surpass imported alternatives in purity.

Amidst these challenges, Dangote has halted plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry, citing concerns over monopoly accusations.

“We need to focus on what’s best for the economy,” he explained, emphasizing the importance of fair competition and innovation.

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the potential sale of Dangote’s refinery to NNPC could reshape the nation’s energy landscape and secure its energy independence.

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