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Importers threaten to shutdown Lagos markets over VIN



Importers under the aegis of Ndigboamaka Progressive (Market) Association have threatened to shutdown Lagos markets within two days over the implementation of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation policy.

Dr. Jude Okeke, president, Ndigboamaka issued the warning at a media conference in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said the group took the position because the implementation of VIN valuation policy introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had profound effects on markets, trade and economy.

He noted that importers who were faced with many issues ranging from terminal and shipping line charges now had to bear the additional burden of the VIN valuation policy.

He said the extra costs associated with these policies negatively affected the businesses of his members, as they made goods expensive for consumers, the end users.

According to him, the threat to shutdown the markets is not to hurt any individual or government agencies, but to ensure things are done the right way.

“We are major importers of various commodities and trading under the name Ndigboamaka Progressive Association, an umbrella body of major market associations in Lagos.

“Examples of such markets are Alaba International Market, All Markets in Trade Fair Complex, Ladipo Market, Coker building Materials and others.

“This meeting is to show our distress on what government does as regards policies put out and their negative impact on our businesses.

“We are saying enough is enough and to make our voice heard, we will be collaborating with the Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS), to discuss how some of our vexatious government policies can be amicably resolved,” he said.

Okeke said it was unfortunate that policies were introduced without carrying stakeholders along.

He stated that after deliberation with members, the association decided that the VIN policy should be suspended indefinitely because it was introduced without the knowledge of importers.

“Members work with bank loans and this is not conducive, and so we will be working with SALS to manage a fund set up by government to cushion our financial pressure in the foreseeable future.

“The fund will be managed by key players in the maritime sector. No government agencies will interfere with it,” he said.

Rev. Jonathan Nicole, president, SALS, noted that the alliance with Ndigboamaka was to create an enabling environment for importers to be self sufficient and assist government in revenue generation.

“SALS have been fighting the battle for importers for the past eight years especially on cost, shipping and terminal charges and all of these problems will be resolved.

“This new one on VIN should be suspended indefinitely so that goods and vehicles stranded at port will be removed.

“This morning, I just received information concerning this VIN issue, the Port and Terminal Multiservices Ltd. saying that over 12,000 vehicles are trapped in their terminal and attracting demurrage and shipping line charges.

“By the time we quantify the amount importers will be loosing, the demurrage is going over N600 million naira. We cannot continue to accommodate such expenses anymore, so they need to discard the policy,” he said.

Nicole said the insinuation that second hand vehicles were a nuisance was wrong because when imported they are taken to authorised workshops to be certified and issued road worthiness license.

“This meeting is to tell the Nigerian government that we are not happy and this alliance will continue until government changes their policies and listens to us,” he said.

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NIMASA DG calls for contributory pension for dockworkers



…As agency hosts maiden ‘day of the dockworker’ event

By Seun Ibiyemi

It was a milestone event for the local maritime industry as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hosted the maiden edition of the ‘Day of the Dockworker’ in Lagos recently.

With the theme of the event being “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity,” it was an opportunity for stakeholders gathered to not just appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well-being.

Delivering his welcome address at the event, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, charged employers of labor to ensure all dockworkers are enrolled on contributory pension schemes, while also emphasising the need for operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.

According to Dr. Jamoh, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month.”

Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.”

On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organising the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.

In attendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).

Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.

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LCCI tasks govt on transparent FX regime, multinationals’ engagement



The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the government to create a more flexible and transparent foreign exchange policy to address scarcity issues.

Its Director-General, Dr Chinyere Almona, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to the recent announcement of Procter & Gamble to transition its Nigerian operations to an import-only model.

Recall that the Chief Financial Officer of Procter & Gamble, Andre Schulten, had said this move would effectively dissolve its on-ground presence in the country.

Almona noted that over the last few months, there had been a consistent increase in exit plans or a reduction in involvement in the Nigerian market by multinationals, saying the trend was worrisome.

She stated that the country’s lingering foreign exchange scarcity, poor power supply, port congestion, multiple taxation, insecurity, and poor infrastructure, among others, had taken a toll on many businesses in the country.

She recommended that the government should implement measures to stabilise and ensure the availability of foreign exchange for businesses, particularly those operating in dollar-denominated environments.

“Further, the chamber urges the government to engage multinational corporations and the business community to understand their challenges and gather input and feedback on policy decisions to collaboratively develop solutions that would forestall the exodus of businesses from Nigeria.

 ”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should prioritise the stability of the country’s currency and adopt the right policy mix to ensure price stability,” she said.

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Tinubu appoints Omatsola Ogbe as new ES of NCDMB



President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe as Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale appointed new board members for the NCDMB.

According to the Spokesperson to the President, the President in conformity with Sections 71(1), 72, and 73 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (2010) approved the appointment of qualified Nigerians to serve on the Governing Council and Management team of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The newly appointed board members include:Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri — Chairman / HMS, Petroleum Resources, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe — Executive Secretary, Oritsemyiwa Eyesan — Member / EVP Upstream, NNPC Ltd, Gbenga Komolafe — Member / CEO, NUPRC, Bekearedebo Augusta Warrens — Member, Nicolas Odinuwe — Member, Rapheal Samuel — Member, Sadiq Abubakar — Member, Olorundare Sunday Thomas — Member.

Ajuri noted that the President expects the new appointees to discharge their duties with his patriotic resolve to significantly enhance indigenous industry participation in the energy sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda’s mandate to achieve the goal of 70 percent indigenous content and participation in the nation’s energy industry during the lifespan of this administration.

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