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FG to sanction sulphur regulations defaulters – Oyetola

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The Minister of Marime and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, says government will put in place sanctions for vessels that contravene sulphur regulations.

Oyetola said this at the arrival ceremony of the largest container vessel tagged ‘CMA CGM Scandola’ powered with liquified natural gas at Lekki Port, on Monday, in Lagos.

Oyetola represented by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, said government would procure the needed tools to enhance the capacity of the NPA for sulphur analysis.

“To put action behind our word, we have taken concrete steps towards the procurement of the necessary tools to enhance NPA’s capacity for sulphur analysis.

“We have as well as put in place a sanction regime for vessels who contravene the sulphur regulations.

“This will ensure we minimise air pollution created in the shipping industry by reducing the sulphur content of the fuels that ships use.

“So, transition to the use of natural gas which is more environmentally friendly by vessels plying our waterways, is a most welcome development.

“This is driven by in the larger national interest due to the fact that Nigeria’s gas quality is reputed to be high and virtually without sulphur,” he said.

According to him, shipping has a pivotal role to play in the global decarbonisation efforts.

He, however, commend the management of the NPA for its compliance with the ministerial directive to take cognizance of global energy transition in its port modernisation project.

Oyetola said aside from the vessel’s distinctive feature of eco-friendliness Scandola ranks amongst the largest container ships to be calling in West Africa with 15,000 twenty equivalent-units.

He said with shipping volumes promising to get higher, forward looking investments such as the Scandola would certainly have a big impact in the long run.

“We will continue to support the NPA in its efforts at ensuring stakeholders’ compliance with the International Maritime Organisation sulphur regulation on Nigerian Waterways,” Oyetola said.

Earlier, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that receiving such size of vessel called for celebration.

“I think it’s a big feat, it’s something that we need to roll out drums and get proud of, we’re putting Lekki Deep Seaport, we’re putting Lagos, we’re putting Nigeria into the world’s global logistics marine business.

“This is a business that has been a privilege to a few countries,” he said.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Lekki Deep Seaport, Du Rougang, said the berthing of the vessel was creating a new plan for Nigeria’s ports.

“We want to ensure that Lekki Port plays a major role in the nation’s maritime industry,” he said.

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Biden says U.S. will begin sending weapons to Ukraine

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U.S. President Joe Biden wants to start delivering of weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week.
The president said this shortly after the U.S. Senate approved billions of dollars in new aid for the country under attack from Russia.
“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” Biden said.
By passing the legislative package, which also includes billions of dollars in aid for Israel and Taiwan, the U.S. Congress has demonstrated the power of American leadership in the world, Biden added.
“We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.”
There is an urgent need for support for Ukraine, which is being subjected to relentless bombardment from Russia, Biden said.
The bill also contains aid for Israel, which has recently faced unprecedented attacks from Iran.
“This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin,” Biden said.
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NSCDC deploys personnel to JAMB CBT centres in Anambra

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said it has deployed personnel to ensure a hitch-free 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Anambra.

The state Commandant, Olatunde Maku, stated this after monitoring the conduct of the exams across CBT centres in Awka, on Wednesday.

Some of the centres visited are, Integral Development Konsult on Enugu/Onitsha Expressway, White House in Awka, JAMB Centre located inside JAMB office in Amawbia and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Others are St. John of God ICT Hub, Awka and Kachukwu Ventures Staff Development Centre, behind Government House in Awka.

The examination centres take candidates in three batches: 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Maku said that the synergy between NSCDC and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had yielded positive results in reducing exam malpractice.

He said that the monitoring of the centres would continue till the end of the examination period, to ensure a seamless conduct of the exercise and promote transparency.

“We are firm in our determination to protect critical national assets and infrastructure including JAMB centres.

“Which was why the NSCDC deployed personnel to JAMB CBT centres in the state to ensure security and so far they have been professional in carrying out their mandate,” he said.

Maku advised candidates writing the 2024 UTME to be law abiding and avoid being in possession of prohibited or incriminating items during the examination.

He warned unauthorised persons against loitering around designated exam centre, adding that anyone found wanting would be arrested and prosecuted.

Also speaking, Mrs Jema Iheme, JAMB Coordinator, Anambra state, commended NSCDC for their support and for ensuring security of candidates and staff at the exam centres.

Iheme said that the swift response of NSCDC to emergencies and enforcement of exam rules and regulations was contributing to a smooth and secured exam process so far.

NAN also reports that about 1.9 million candidates are expected to write the JAMB UTME, which commenced on April 19 and would end on April 29.

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Prevailing exchange rate determines duty – NCS

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says the prevailing exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) determines its rates of import duty collection and not market forces.

The Spokesperson of NCS, Abdullahi Maiwada, said this in an interview with the newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

Maiwada said that importers transact their businesses in dollars, which required them to obtain “Form M” from the CBN.

NAN recalls that the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) had recently suggested that the collection of customs duty should be charged in Naira instead of dollars.

The President of NACCIMA, Dele Oye, made the call in response to an April 8 circular by the CBN stopping the further use of foreign currency collateral for Naira loans.

Oye had suggested that all bonafide government transactions should also be done in the country’s legal tender.

According to the NCS spokesperson, the service collect duty on imported items using the prevailing rate for its calculations, while exporters use the Nigerian Export Proceed (NXP) form to repatriate their earnings.

He said that the use of the rate was aimed at converting the value of imported items into the Naira equivalent in order to appropriately assess their worth.

“The dollar rate is being used to calculate imported goods to ensure the requisite foreign exchange earnings for the country.

“If people export, it earns us foreign exchange because they will bring dollars back to Nigeria.

“If they are bringing dollars back, when they want to export items, they need to use dollars to buy items into Nigeria,” he said.

Maiwada said that customs value was based on the cost of purchasing the imported items, which involved Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF).

“Based on that, we will be able to arrive at the customs value, and even the evaluation involves processes at arriving at the value of the item.

“If that value is in dollars, it will be converted to Naira, and the algorithms will be applied, which determines the percentage rate of duty,” he said.

He said that algorithm referred to a set of rules or procedures used by the NCS to calculate the amount of duties and taxes payable on imported goods.

“These algorithms take into account factors such as the value of the goods, their country of origin, any applicable trade agreements or tariffs, and any exemptions or preferences that may apply,” he said.

He said that fluctuation in exchange rate affected trade processes when applied in the clearance of consignments.

According to him, trade is required to be predictable so that issues such as the calculation of landing cost of items and profits can be determined.

He said that unpredictable processes of transactions were inimical to trade facilitation.

Meanwhile, the Comptroller-General of NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, announced that in the first quarter of 2024, CBN approved 28 different exchange rates for calculation of import duty.

He said that such fluctuations resulted in an average applied exchange rate of N1,314 to the dollar in the clearance of customs goods within the quarter.

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