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Clearing Agents Call Out Nigeria Customs over Reintroduction of 15 Percent Levy on Imported Vehicles

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Nigeria Customs Service

Clearing agents operating in the nation’s maritime sector may withdraw their services following the reintroduction of a 15 percent National Automotive Council levy on imported used vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service.

In 2011 NAC had proposed 35 percent duty differentials between imported fully-built units and locally assembled cars. The proposal reportedly failed later.

However, few years after the introduction of the levy, the Nigeria Customs Service on Saturday reintroduced 15 percent NAC levy on used imported vehicles.

Speaking on the development, the Chairman of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited chapter, Abayomi Duyile, said the move could have an adverse effect on the sector.

He said, “As I speak to you now, the NCS has reintroduced the NAC levy, which is a 15 percent payment on used imported vehicles. That is a major issue; it means an additional 15 percent on the duty we are paying currently”

Duyile said he was surprised the service was coming up with the levy in the second quarter of this year.

“We will meet tomorrow and when we do, we will make our views known to the government. What we have in Nigeria are assembly plants, it is not as if we produce any vehicles completely in Nigeria. I am surprised now that towards the second quarter of 2022, the Customs is coming back again with the NAC levy.

“Why should the NAC levy be on used vehicles? I don’t know why they are coming up with the NAC levy again now. The Customs didn’t inform us, so we have been advised to stop the process of duty payment until this is sorted out. This is everywhere for now and anywhere you are clearing used vehicles, you will face the same problem.”

Also speaking, the Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, PTML Chapter, George Okafor, said the outcome of the association’s meeting with its members will determine whether the agents would embark on the proposed strike or not.

“This is wrong because there is no way Customs can calculate NAC levy on used vehicles. It should be for new vehicles. The levy is for new vehicles, and not old or used vehicles. We will have to meet with the Customs command to determine the next line of action.”

Meanwhile, the National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Timi Bomodi, said the move was in line with the Economic Community of West African States Common external tariff, 2017-2021.

Bomodi said in a statement that the service in April migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS CAT to the new version, adding that this was in line with the World Customs Organisation’s five-year review of its nomenclature.

“On Friday, April 1, 2022, the Nigeria Customs Service migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (2017- 2021) to the new version (2022- 2026). This is in line with WCO’s five years’ review of the nomenclature. The contracting parties are expected to adopt the review based on regional considerations and national economic policy.

“The nation has adopted all tariff lines with few adjustments in the extant CET. As allowed for in Annex II of the 2022-2026 CET edition, and in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive Policy, NCS has retained a duty rate of 20 per cent for used vehicles as was transmitted by ECOWAS with a NAC levy of 15 per cent. New vehicles will also pay a duty of 20 per cent with a NAC levy of 20 per cent as directed in the Federal Ministry of Finance letter ref. no. HMF BNP/NCS/CET/4/2022 of 7th April 2022”

He added that the decision took immediate effect.

“In Chapter 98 of the current CET – bonafide assemblers importing Completely Knocked Down and Semi Knocked Down are to enjoy a concession of zero per cent and 10 per cent duty rate, respectively. While within ECOWAS, duty rates for the same items are five per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. Incentivising their efforts through policy interventions guarantees a win-win situation for the nation in the long run. Implementing the current CET takes immediate effect, please,” the statement added.

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First Bank of Nigeria Appoints Olusegun Alebiosu as Acting CEO Following Resignation of Dr. Adesola Adeduntan

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Olusegun Alebiosu

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings PLC, has announced the appointment of Mr. Olusegun Alebiosu as its Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

This decision comes in the wake of the resignation of Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, who has led the bank for the past nine years.

The appointment, which takes immediate effect, is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), reflecting the bank’s commitment to regulatory compliance and governance standards.

Mr. Alebiosu, a seasoned banking professional with over three decades of experience, is well-prepared to take on the responsibilities of leading First Bank Nigeria during this transition period.

Having served as the Executive Director and Chief Risk Officer, he played a pivotal role in the transformation and growth of the institution over the past eight years.

His extensive experience spans various aspects of the banking and financial services industry, including credit risk management, financial planning, corporate and commercial banking, and project financing.

Before joining First Bank Nigeria in 2016, Mr. Alebiosu held key positions in renowned financial institutions such as Coronation Merchant Bank Limited and the African Development Bank Group.

Expressing gratitude for Dr. Adeduntan’s exemplary leadership, the Board of Directors acknowledged his significant contributions to the bank’s growth and success during his tenure.

Dr. Adeduntan’s departure marks the end of an era characterized by remarkable achievements and milestones for First Bank Nigeria.

As Acting CEO, Mr. Alebiosu is poised to build upon the bank’s legacy and steer it towards continued growth and profitability. With a strong focus on strategic objectives, he aims to uphold First Bank Nigeria’s reputation as a leading financial institution in Nigeria and beyond.

In his new role, Mr. Alebiosu will work closely with the Board of Directors and management team to ensure seamless operations and uphold the bank’s commitment to delivering exceptional services to its customers.

As the banking industry undergoes rapid transformation and evolving regulatory landscape, First Bank Nigeria remains committed to maintaining its position as a trusted financial partner for individuals and businesses across the country.

With Mr. Alebiosu at the helm, the bank looks forward to a new chapter of innovation, resilience, and sustainable growth.

The appointment of Mr. Olusegun Alebiosu underscores First Bank Nigeria’s commitment to continuity and stability amidst leadership changes, signaling confidence in his ability to lead the bank through its next phase of growth and development.

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Transcorp Hotels to Launch 5,000-capacity Event Centre, Eyes Pan-African Presence

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Transcorp hotel

Transcorp Hotels is gearing up to launch a massive 5,000-capacity event centre and further its ambitious expansion plans both across Nigeria and Africa.

Dupe Olusola, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels, unveiled this plan during an investor call on Friday.

This announcement follows the recent divestment of its 100% stake in Transcorp Hotels Calabar Limited to Eco Travels and Tours, an indigenous hospitality firm, as revealed in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited.

Olusola outlined the company’s vision for expansion, emphasizing its commitment to establishing a stronger presence not only in Abuja but also across Nigeria and eventually transitioning to the African continent.

She expressed excitement about the upcoming launch of the event centre, slated for the third quarter of this year, which is expected to accommodate thousands of guests.

“We are very confident that this would encourage and attract further business that goes outside of Nigeria to us,” remarked Olusola, highlighting the potential of the event centre to attract international clientele.

Olusola also disclosed plans for the development of a new five-star hotel in Ikoyi, Lagos, underscoring the company’s strategic focus on growth and diversification.

The key drivers of Transcorp Hotels’ performance were also outlined during the investor call. Olusola emphasized the importance of leveraging digital platforms, such as Aura, to revolutionize bookings, engage with guests, and drive revenue.

Also, the company aims to upgrade its technology and enhance guest experiences while optimizing operational costs without compromising quality.

Despite regulatory constraints delaying the Ikoyi project, Olusola assured investors that progress is being made, with the acquisition of additional land and ongoing negotiations with vendors for construction and fundraising.

Meanwhile, Oluwatobiloba Ojerinde, the Chief Financial Officer of Transcorp Hotels, provided insights into the firm’s financial performance for 2023.

Ojerinde highlighted a remarkable 72% growth in gross profit and attributed the increase in operating expenses to improved operational activities.

Despite challenges posed by inflation and currency devaluation, Transcorp Hotels demonstrated resilience by maintaining an income-to-cost ratio of 85%, reflecting the company’s commitment to operational efficiency and cost-saving strategies.

With its strategic expansion initiatives and robust financial performance, Transcorp Hotels is poised to strengthen its foothold in the hospitality sector, both domestically and across the African continent, positioning itself as a formidable player in the global hospitality landscape.

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Computer Village Traders Demand Refunds as Lagos State Cancels Katangowa Project

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Traders at the renowned Computer Village in Lagos find themselves in a state of uncertainty following the abrupt termination of the multibillion-naira Katangowa project by the Lagos State Government.

The project, which was aimed at relocating the bustling tech market from its current site in Ikeja to the Agbado/Oke-Odo area of the state, has left traders in a state of limbo.

Despite the cancellation of the project reportedly occurring two years ago, traders claim they were not informed by either the government or the developers, Bridgeways Limited.

This lack of communication has left them in a precarious position, particularly concerning the substantial upfront payments made by some traders to the developers.

Chairman of the Computer Village Market Board, Chief Adebowale Soyebo, expressed dismay at the lack of communication from the authorities regarding the project’s termination.

He explained that neither the government nor the contractors had officially informed them of the decision, leaving traders in the dark about the fate of their investments.

Traders who had made payments to Bridgeways Limited now seek clarity on the refund process. The absence of official communication has compounded their concerns, with many uncertain about the fate of their investments.

While acknowledging the payments made by traders, Lagos State Governor’s Adviser on e-GIS and Urban Development, Dr. Olajide Babatunde, assured that the government would facilitate refunds.

He, however, said there is a need for proper identification and verification to ensure that affected traders receive their refunds accordingly.

The termination of the Katangowa project has reignited debates about the relocation of Computer Village.

Traders assert that the issue of relocation should not be raised until the new site is at least 70% completed, as per their agreement with the government.

The cancellation of the Katangowa project underscores the challenges associated with large-scale urban development projects and the importance of transparent communication between stakeholders to avoid such situations in the future.

As traders await further directives from the government, they remain hopeful for a resolution that safeguards their interests and ensures the continuity of one of Nigeria’s most prominent tech markets.

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