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Exclusive! Why I turned down request for salary increase for NIMASA staff—Amaechi

Eyewitness reporter
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, has explained why he refused to accede to the request of the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for a raise in the salary of the agency’s staff.
It would be recalled that the Director-General of the agency, Dr Bashir Jamoh, at a recent media parley to commemorate his one year in office, disclosed that the management of the NIMASA had approached the Minister of Transportation, as a supervising Minister, for the approval of the new salary template for the staff of NIMASA that seeks to increase their take-home pay.
Jamoh had disclosed that this measure was meant to boost the morale of the staff whom he lauded for their commitment and dedication to duty.
But Ameachi, at a recent two-day retreat for the agencies under his ministry, disclosed that he had rejected the planned increment.
While justifying the reason for his action, which NIMASA staff took with concealed pains, Ameachi said the agency has long become a cash cow for reasons unrelated to its core maritime industry functions.

Jamoh

He said that before his coming as a Minister of Transportation in 2015, NIMASA has completely derailed from its core function of being a maritime industry regulatory agency.
He reminiscenced that NIMASA was then a contract-awarding agency that has been turned into a cash cow for contractors, politicians and seekers of government favours.
Ameachi disclosed that his desire to change the narrative made him stop all such political patronage.
“When we came in 2015, we promised to turn NIMASA from contract-awarding agency to its proper role of a regulatory agency.
“Before, if 10 people approached me for favour, eight will want to go to NIMASA.
” That is why when the management of the agency approached me for a salary increase for its staff, I said no.
” NIMASA has become a cash cow. Some for employment, some for contracts, while for some, it was for political appointments.
“I said no, there has to be a stop to this.
“I said if the agency maintains its regulatory status, nobody will come for contracts or political appointment or employment.
” People wanted to go to NIMASA more than NPA.
“But we have stopped all these and have restored a measure of sanity into the agency. NIMASA  now plays its statutory role of being a regulatory agency than being a cash cow for favour seekers”, the minister declared.
He said the achievement of this feat is one of the legacies of the present administration.
Ameachi also revealed that the administration has delivered on its promise of enhancing security on Nigeria’s waters.
He said this was the aim of the deep blue project whose assets were recently launched by President Mohammadu Buhari and have been adequately deployed to tackle insecurity.
” The reason why vessels could not go to the Eastern ports of Port Harcourt and  Warri was because of the high cost of insurance.
“High cost of insurance is as a result of insecurity.
“If we address the issue of insecurity, the high cost of insurance will come down and this will boost business opportunities in the Eastern ports.
“This was the reason for the launch of the deep blue project and the deployment of its assets to tackle insecurity on our waters.
“We are now monitoring how effective the project is in tackling insecurity and which we believe will also address the issue of war-time surcharge on Nigerian-bound cargoes” the minister stated.
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Customs

Freight Forwarders applaud Customs over new VIN valuation

—- as reworked policy comes on stream Friday
Eyewitness reporter
In a rare show of satisfaction and mutual agreement, the highly critical freight forwarders have applauded the Nigeria Customs Service over the new Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy.
The new vehicle valuation, which was first introduced about two months ago, was greeted with uproar from the freight forwarders who described the policy as inhuman and unrealistic due to the high values it placed on vehicles.
This led to the suspension of the system by the customs authority which thereafter reworked and improved the policy by accommodating the observations and grievances of freight forwarders.
At the second stage of the demonstration and sensitization of stakeholders on the new VIN valuation held at the Apapa Customs command Thursday, the freight Forwarders were full of praises for the customs over the improved valuation system which they all agreed has addressed and accommodated their views.
“This is very good. The new VIN valuation system has accommodated all our observations, even though there is room for improvement.
“It has taken care of the savage vehicles and accidented vehicles, which the first VIN didn’t consider”, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and one of the most critical voices of the system, said.
Earlier, the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, who is the host, enjoined the stakeholders to take full advantage of the automated system which he said would make goods clearance procedure seamless and faster.
While welcoming the stakeholders to the sensitization meeting, Comptroller Yusuf urged them to be compliant with the extant guidelines to enable them to enjoy the benefits of the new system.
He assured them help desk would be created in each of the commands to help resolve the teething problems that are bound to crop up, adding that there would be continuous engagement and improvement on the new valuation policy.
He told the appreciative stakeholders that the VIN valuation policy is irreversible and will be deployed this Friday, May 20th, 2022.
Comptroller Festus Okun, the Customs Area Controller of Ports Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command said the Customs, through the VIN valuation, has imbibed basic principles of taxation which include predictability, neutrality, simplicity, and efficiency.

Comptroller Kunle Oloyede of Tin Can Island Port,  described VIN as a platform for robust gathering of statistical analysis and data for national economic purposes relying on the template of accuracy that will further integrate NCS with other ministries, departments and agencies.

Comptroller Hammi Swomen of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command, who sought more cooperation from all stakeholders, stated that sincere declarations without tampering with relevant information contained in Single Goods Declaration or mismatching information will aid in quicker clearance and seamlessness of the VIN system.

Comptroller Anthony Udenze of the Tariff and Trade Department at Customs headquarters urged vehicle importers and their agents to avoid acts that would delay the process of clearing.

He explained that the process of identifying salvage and accident vehicles under the VIN regime would be very transparent as the declarant would be expected to attach photos showing the accidented vehicles.

He further explained that for vehicles to be treated as accidented, the chassis must be affected by the accident not just by removing fenders, bumpers and headlamps.

However, Farinto called for true declaration and compliance on the part of freight forwarders. w2hivh he said will facilitate their clearance of goods and also made the Customs to introduce more changes such as auto release for used vehicles.

Comptroller Yusuf promised that the issue of auto release of used vehicles, which is not yet accommodated in the new system, will be looked into by the Customs High Command.
The new improved VIN valuation policy has therefore addressed most of the major concerns of stakeholders who said they couldn’t wait to start using the system.
The new system has been given a human face as the assessed values are adjudged as fair and the process transparent by the freight forwarders.
It has also considered the two options of salvage vehicles and accidented vehicles.
It is harmonisation and unification of all the hitherto isolated different values at the commands.
According to Comptroller Udenze, the new VIN valuation considers all the variants and series of all vehicles.
The technological system, which is expected to promote trade facilitation, has also been amended to reflect the reduction in the value of vehicles..

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Foreign

U.S. picks 56 young Nigerians for Mandela Washington Fellowship

US President, Joe Biden
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Headlines

Prophet Akinpelu calls  for Southeast presidency

Prophet Oludele Akinpelu,

 

—condemns  criminal silence of politicians on Deborah’s death

Adebayo Obajemu

Popular prophet, Oludele Akinpelu, the presiding pastor of Living God Freedom Church  Àlagbado, has urged the political class to play by the rules and allow equity and justice to have a foothold, saying that it was time for the political system to allow for the president of Igbo extraction.

He made this call in a press release at the end of his annual 41- day of prayers and fasting.
The popular prophet noted for prophetic utterances which normally come to pass added that for the sake of equity and fairness, the Southeast of the country should be allowed to produce the next president of the country.
” For the sake of equity and justice, I urge all presidential contenders from all parts of the country in all the parties to withdraw for Southeast candidates who will then sort themselves out in the primary.
” A nation can not survive if it is built on injustice, honestly, my heart is with the people of the southeast on the issue of the 2023 presidential ticket.
” And I know I’m not alone in this. Pa Ayo Adebanjo expressed a similar sentiment. That’s the way to go if this country must survive.”
He also condemned politicians for not speaking out in the case of Deborah Samuel, who was murdered by fellow students at the Shehu Shagari College of Education for allegedly making derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammed.

” We must condemn jungle justice, if the lady had done something wrong let the court of competent jurisdiction decides.

“The two religions – Islam and Christianity have respect for the sanctity of human life, so I can’t understand where the murderers got their inspiration.
“Even the respected Sheikh Gumi said as much that Prophet Mohammed was insulted severally but he didn’t do anything harmful to his traducers.
“We must be guided by respect for law in our action.”
 The respected prophet urged the political class to put their house in order and do the needful to take the country out of economic hardship, insecurity, and pervasive poverty that pervade the land, warning that God’s anger is on those bent on sponsoring crises and insecurity in the country.

He  declared that “unless politicians repent and  seek the face of the Lord, sudden punishment awaits them for bringing the country to a shameful low in the eyes of the international community through their ill-thought-out economic policies, greed, self-aggrandizement and lack of concern for the welfare of citizens who entrusted them with power and representation.”

In his message to Nigerians, he urged the people to repent and seek the path of righteous living, adding that the current insecurity situation in the country calls for concerted prayers on the side of both Christians and Moslems.

It could be recalled that last June in his open-air crusade in Ikare Akoko which attracted over five hundred thousand people, he prophesied that the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic would wane in Nigeria from the first quarters of 2023, he also said that unless fervent prayers were offered, a notable religious leader in Nigeria would die in the first quarters of this year. All the prophecies have since come to pass.

He attributed the worsening insecurity in the country to the activity of forces of darkness who are bent on foisting a sinister agenda on the country, cashing in on poverty and illiteracy to recruit an army of jobless illiterates to carry out their agenda.

He blamed the current administration for not doubling down on countermeasures against bandits, wondering why the administration is reluctant to name individuals fingered as sponsors of banditry, but added that divine punishment awaited those sponsoring insecurity which had led to the loss of lives of innocent citizens of the country.

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