The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit Zone A, has arrested a two-man syndicate who specialises in forging Customs clearing documents.
The acting Controller in charge of the unit, Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, said this at a news conference yesterday in Lagos.
Ejibunu said the arrest of one of the suspects with a 2007 Mercedes Benz model along Ajilete-Idiroko Road, Ogun State, led to an in-depth investigation into the activities of the criminal syndicate.
“The arrest led to the unravelling of over 600 pictures of vehicles domiciled in Benin Republic awaiting to undergo forged clearing process by the same criminal syndicate.
“Items recovered from the suspects in the course of arrest and investigation are customs valuation stamp, Customs Duty Chart Book on vehicles, customs documents and vehicle registration documents all fakes.
“Others include: four computer monitors, three computer processing units, one keyboard, and one printer,” he said.
Ejibunu said that in their resolve to safeguard the national economy and prevent revenue loss, officers on legitimate duties were ambushed and attacked by suspected smugglers and their sympathiser.
He said that the smugglers used guns, machetes, charms and other dangerous weapons in carrying out their criminal operations.
Ejibunu noted that the most recent incident of such assault against their officers was the one arrested using charms to attack personnel at Owoyele Igbogila Road in Ogun State.
“While I discourage and call for their repentance, any act of recalcitrance will call for the full wrath of the law on any one found culpable,” Ejibunu said.
He, however, decried that smuggling had continued to impact on activities of locally manufactured goods and encourage acts of criminality in society.
Ejibunu also said that 18 suspects arrested in connection with some of these offences in February were currently being investigated.
He said that notable among the wares seized in February for non-compliance with the extant Customs laws were 5,328 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice and 1×40 ft container with 512 cartons of generators, among others.
The acting comptroller said that these goods had a total duty paid value of N501.5 million.
Ejibunu said that the sum of N103.6 million was collected following the issuance of demand notices to defaulters
to prevent revenue loss through under-valuation, under-payments, and wrong classification.
“Let me use this medium to assure the business community that this Unit is ever ready to encourage compliant traders by facilitating their legitimate businesses as enshrined in the extant laws.
“However, recalcitrant traders are strongly advised to desist from violating the extant regulations or be ready to face the full wrath of the law,” he said. (NAN)
Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.46% In 4th Quarter, 2023 – NBS
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46% (year-on-year) in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
NBS revealed that the growth rate was lower than the 3.
The Bureau said, the performance of the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 was driven mainly by the Services sector, which recorded a growth of 3.98% and contributed 56.55% to the aggregate GDP.
According to the report, the agriculture sector grew by 2.10%, from the growth of 2.05% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The report put the growth of the industry sector at 3.86%, an improvement from -0.94% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022.
NBS said, in terms of share of the GDP, industry, and the services sectors contributed more to the aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.
It however, said, on an annual basis, the GDP grew by 2.74% in 2023 relative to 3.10% in 2022.
Local Content: NCDMB Holds Knowledge-Sharing Session with Mozambique
From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa
In keeping with Nigeria’s leadership role in the development of Local Content in Africa, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has concluded a two-day Local Content development experience-sharing session with a delegation from Mozambique’s national oil company, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH).
The engagement was held on the sidelines of the 8th Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, in Lagos.
NCDMB’s delegation was led by the Executive Secretary, Engr.
The experience-sharing session was facilitated by Aberdeen Global Strategies & Solutions, under the leadership of Dr. Mark Osa Igiehon, who consults for ENH Mozambique.
In his introductory comments, the Executive Secretary conveyed NCDMB’s commitment to supporting African oil-producing nations in developing and implementing local content policies as a strategy for improving indigenous participation and value optimization from hydrocarbons and mineral resources.
He lauded the giant strides recorded by Mozambique in its gas sector and advised against repeating the mistakes made by Nigeria in the early years of its oil and gas industry.
Represented by the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, NCDMB, Mr. Abdulmalik Halilu, the Executive Secretary explained that every oil and gas-producing nation must choose to either focus on optimizing revenue generation or maximizing in-country value from the activities of the industry.
He stated that the revenue generation option encourages oil and gas operators to seek the cheapest and fastest route to first oil, while the Government collects maximum revenue in the form of taxes and royalties for development and pays little attention to value addition from industry operations.
He explained that the alternative option focuses on maximizing in-country value and promoting the development and use of local capacities. This model obligates operators in the industry to consider long-term value, while the Government takes lower revenue in exchange for higher in-country value and pays greater attention to life-cycle support for operators.
Speaking further, the NCDMB boss listed key parameters that are critical to in-country value addition and growth of the oil and gas sector on a sustainable basis. These factors are Regulatory Framework, Gap Analysis, Capacity Building, Funding and Incentives, Research and Development, and Access to Market.
He hinted that a Local Content policy backed with appropriate legislation is very fundamental in local content practice, adding that baseline and periodic gap analyses are essential to determine gaps that need to be closed in the areas of skills, facilities and infrastructure.
He also stressed the need to develop in-country capacities and capabilities and utilise them through oil and gas projects.
The knowledge-sharing programme also featured a presentation on Funds and Funding of NCDMB, delivered by the Director of Finance and Personnel Management, NCDMB, Dr. Obinna Ofili.
The Director was represented by the Head, Credit Analysis and Risk Management, Mrs. Chika Enwerem–Okidi, and underlined the need for dedicated funding that would be applied to developing local content in the oil sector.
The Director mentioned that the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) is provided for in section 104 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act and is contributed by 1% of every contract awarded in the upstream section of the oil and gas industry.
He added that the NCDF has been deployed in several successful projects, including the building of human and material capacities, the $350 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, the ongoing development of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Parks Scheme (NOGAPS), the construction of the NCDMB 17-story corporate headquarters, and 3rd party investments, many of which created jobs for Nigerians and yield interest for the Board.
The second day of the knowledge-sharing programme featured presentations on the operating framework for planning, research and statistics, capacity building, projects certification and authorization and monitoring and evaluation.
The Director of Projects Certification and Authorization, Engr. Abayomi Bamidele highlighted NCDMB’s role in the award of contracts for oil and gas projects and how opportunities are captured for the local economy, using the Nigerian Content Plan and the Contracting Strategy submitted by operating companies for the Board’s review and approval.
He underlined that local content should be promoted as a national agenda for every country and the right data must be collected to establish current realities and gaps to the target.
He emphasised the need for in-country capacity building based on areas of strengths and weaknesses as well as continuous projects to keep the developed capacities engaged.
The knowledge-sharing programme was very interactive and the Mozambican officials sought clarifications on the Board’s model of enforcing Local Content Compliance, monitoring projects, supervising third-party investments, and many other areas.
The programme was convened in line with the Sectorial and Regional Market Linkage Pillar of the Nigerian Content 10-year strategic roadmap. The roadmap requires NCDMB to support other African oil-producing countries and to develop new markets and partnership opportunities for the benefit of competent Nigerian operating and oil service companies.
NCDMB has provided similar guidance to numerous African nations, including Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
NAICOM, Ministry Collaborate on Youth Career Development, Entrepreneurship
Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Youth Development Mr. Ayodele Olawande paid a courtesy visit to the Commissioner for Insurance Mr. Olorundare Sunday at NAICOM’s headquarters in Abuja.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss potential collaboration opportunities between the Ministry and NAICOM in advancing youth development initiatives, particularly in the areas of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and career development.
The Commissioner for Insurance in his remarks welcomed the Minister and gave a brief history and overview of the Nigerian insurance industry, the administrative structure of the Commission as well as its achievements in the area of financial inclusion, transition to risk-based supervision and IFRS 17, setting up of the West African Insurance Supervisors Association and the College of Insurance Supervisors of the West African Monetary Zone.
The Minister for State in his remarks thanked the NAICOM Management for the warm reception. He expressed his desire for the Ministry to collaborate with NAICOM in engaging the Nigerian youth formally and informally to develop their skills.
He noted that the Ministry had developed a digital platform (app) called Nigerian Youth Academy (NIYA) where Nigerian youth could learn vocational and digital skills.
He requested to collaborate with NAICOM in the building of insurance educational module to be uploaded on the NIYA platform as this will go a long way in training the youths and improve their level of financial literacy, help in entrepreneurship and job creation, career development and sensitise youth on the benefits of insurances.
The CFI promised to convey the Minister’s request to relevant parties (The Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria and the College of Insurance and Financial Management) within the Nigerian Insurance Industry.
NAICOM Boss Olorundare Sunday (r) with the Minister of State for Youth Development, Mr. Ayodele Olawande during a courtesy visit
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