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Sambo admonishes NITT to stop going begging for funds from government

Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Sambo
The Eyewitness reporter

The Minister of Transportation,  Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has charged the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology,  Zaria to translate its giant strides in research, training and transport infrastructural development into self-sustenance instead of relying on government appropriations.

The Minister who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry,  Dr. Magdalene Ajani  and other Management Staff gave this charge

in Zaria on his familiarization tour of the Institute.

“NITT has no business going cap in hand to the National Assembly every year looking for appropriation. From what I have seen, there is a lot of money, you’re not making here”,  the Minister said.

The Minister who was obviously very pleased with the level of development in the institute said: “There’s no need for the agencies in the Transportation Sector to send their staff abroad for training when we have such an institution right here in Zaria. There is no need to waste the scarce resources in such training outside”.

Furthermore,  the Minister pointed out that despite the huge investments in the transportation sector by the present administration in the last seven years, “a lot still needs to be done to advance the Transportation Sector to enable Nigeria to overcome the deficit in the sector”.

While appreciating the contributions and achievements recorded by the Management of NITT in the area of training, research and huge investment on infrastructures, the Minister urged them to provide a leading role that will put Nigeria’s Transport sector in its rightful place in the global space.

He further urged NITT to “upgrade its curriculum according to global best practices and affiliate with various research institutions thereby increasing the knowledge base of its lecturers and beneficiaries. This is necessary to place the Institute on a high pedestal and as a training hub in Nigeria, Africa and the World at large”.

Speaking earlier,  the Director General,  NITT,  Zaria,  Dr. Bayero Salih-Farah, said: “the Institute is complementing the effort of the present administration in exiting the patrol subsidy regime through the provision of alternative energy sources to the transportation sector. The Institute is currently in talks with the National Gas Expansion Programme Committee to provide the technical manpower that will engineer the process of converting all fossil fuel-driven vehicles to use either Compressed National Gas (CNG), Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) or Liquified Premium gas (LNG)”.

“Furthermore, the Institute is planning to champion the process of conversion and production of the conversion kits in the very near future. The Institute has compliments of equipment and facilities to achieve this”, the DG added.

The DG also informed that in a bid to bring “the services of the institution closer to the people, across the geopolitical zones, the Institute has established and equipped Outreach Learning Centres in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Gombe, Kano, Ebonyi, Abuja, Katsina and Ekiti with state-of-the-art training equipment, aimed at bringing her programmes and services to the doorsteps of existing and prospective clients”.

According to the DG, the courses which are both short-term and long-term basis are run throughout the year,  adding that the institution is currently training over 4,000 youth across the country in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

The courses run by NITT  leading to National Diploma (ND) include Transport and Logistics  Management,  Auto Body Technology, and Transport Safety Technology while Transport Technology and Management is run at High National Diploma (HND) level with Certificate Courses in Automotive Mechatronics, Driver Simulation, Crane Operation, Auto Electrical, Vulcanizing/Wheel Balancing and Alignment, Auto Welding and Fabrication, Forklift Operations, Highway Design and Maintenance, and Environmental Health and Safety in Transport.

The challenges facing the institution to which the DG called on the Minister to intervene include budgetary constraints and the need to strengthen its legal Instruments to enable it to keep pace with the current realities in the industry and play a leading role in driving research, training and technology innovation in the industry.

“In view of the enormous tasks before the Institute and in order to fully deliver our mandate to the Transport Sector and the Nigerian economy at large, we are appealing to the Honourable Minister to kindly assist the Institute with an alternative and more reliable source of funding”, Farah pleaded.

Places visited by the Minister and entourage were: the Painting Booth, Welding Workshop, Automotive Workshop, and Driving Simulation Laboratory among others.

The highlight of the occasion was the commissioning of the new Bursary Building and the Foundation Laying for new Directors’ Quarters by the Minister

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Customs

Tin Can Customs nets N574.3 billion in 2022 —–records N242.365 billion in exports

The Eyewitness reporter
The  Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has realized a sum of N574.3 billion in 2022.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Olakunle Oloyede, disclosed this at a news conference at weekend.

Oloyede said the figure represented an increase of N80.90 billion or 16.39 percent when compared with N493.4 billion recorded in 2021.

“This feat can be attributed to the constant rejigging of the existing measures geared toward sustaining the command’s revenue profile.

“It is as well as utilisation of some disruptive strategic measures such as: periodic capacity building, reshuffling and redeployment of officers using the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis and implementation of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation,” he said.

He noted that the command also ensured robust and continuous stakeholder engagements and collaborations with all sister government agencies and maritime associations.

“These led to timely intelligence sharing, utilisation and voluntary compliance to government’s extant laws by the trading public,” Oloyede said.

He added that the command increased surveillance on declarations made in order to sniff out improper declarations as well as offending items.

He pointed out that the system paid off with the command recording a total of 38 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.85 billion.

“These seizures comprise 763kgs of Colorado (Cannabis Sativa) weighing 345.1kg with a street market value of N714.6 million only as given by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), 5 x 40 containers of used motor tyre (5,060 pieces).

“Also among seized items are 1,150 bales of second-hand clothing, 1,190 cartons of 20 per carton of potassium bromate and baking powder, 11,392 cartons of 1,200 per carton Pharmacol injection chloroquine phosphate 322.5mg.5ml (IV and IM), 206,000 pieces of finished machetes.

“Also, 1,383 cartons of 50 rolls per carton of cigarettes, 650 cartons of 50 pieces per carton of new ladies shoes, 2,666 pieces in 36 pallets of new starter Ex-Premium Inverter Battery, 1,980 cartons of assorted non-alcoholic beverages and 1,048 cartons of Tilda basmati rice,” he said.

Oloyede listed others as 2,594 pieces of ammunition and 20 pieces of arms comprising of one pistol with 611090 (S/W) model JCP 40mm, one used Co2 air pistol with accessories cal 117(4.5m)BM, one marksman repeater pistol, six Mace pepper gun and 10 suspected arms of various types.

He said that the seizures when compared with the 2021 record of 27 seizures with a Debit Note of N607.27 only, show an increase of 11 seizures and N1.24 billion.

He said that the increase in the DPV rate could be associated with increased surveillance and intensified anti-smuggling drive, the high value of seized items and Naira depreciation that led to higher exchange rates on imported items.

“These prohibited items were seized and forfeited to the Federal Government in line with the provision of Sections 46 and 161 of the Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45 LFN 2004 and Absolute Prohibition List of CET 2022- 2026.

“The command pertinently acknowledges the prominent roles played by the Customs Intelligence Unit, Valuation Unit, Federal Operations Unit, CGC Strike Force as well as interventions of Sister Regulatory Agencies like the NDLEA, Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON, the Nigeria Police and others in ensuring these seizures and detentions were made.

“A total of 60 suspects were detained in 2022 and were granted administrative bail while the command has 8 cases pending in court,” he said.

Oloyede said the command recorded a significant increase in the Free On Board (FOB) of exports in the period under review to the tune of $589,696,648 (N242,365,322,333.00) as against the $496,075,796 (N141,985,109,159.00) recorded in 2021.

He attributed the increase of 34.4 percent in the FOB to the high quality and value of exported commodities.

“However, the export report shows a decrease in tonnage of export from 1,723,986.8 in 2021 to 336,179.5 in 2022.

“The decrease in tonnage could be connected to current government fiscal policy which prohibited the export of wood and wood products as well as the global unrest with its concomitant economic challenges,” he said

He listed the commodities exported through the command to include: cocoa beans, insecticides, dried ginger, empty bottles, soya beans, cashew nuts, cigarettes, rubbers, cocoa butter, frozen shrimps, copper ingots, aluminum ingots, sesame seeds and other manufactured items.

“Cocoa beans were the highest exported commodity while the legend stout was the least exported commodity.

“The future of export in the command looks brighter as the command in line with the headquarter circular on Export Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) released a Port Order on the Command’s harmonised SOP for the seamless facilitation of Export Trade in strict compliance with Extant Laws and guidelines on Export,” he said.

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Economy

CBN succumbs  to pressure, extends use of old naira notes to February 10

The Eyewitness reporter
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally caved in to Public outcry over the February 1st deadline for the use of old naira notes when on Sunday, the apex bank announced February 10 as the new date.
Announcing the new deadline in a statement, Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the decision to add extra 10 days was “to allow for the collection of more old notes”

Up till Saturday, CBN had insisted on the 31st January deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 despite overwhelming complaints that the notes are either not available or in short supply in the banks or their Automated Teller Machines.

Last October, Emefiele announced the Naira redesign policy which entails the issuance of new notes to replace the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 series.

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Customs

”No container will leave Apapa Port without 100 percent physical examination”

 

declares Auwal Mohammed as he takes over as new Apapa Customs Area controller

—promises to surpass N1 trillion revenue mark

—vows not to facilitate non-compliant traders

 

The Eyewitness reporter

Despite the deployment of cargo scanning machines, the new area comptroller of the Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, has vowed that no container shall leave the Apapa port without a 100 percent physical examination.

Comptroller Mohammed, who formally took over the mantle of leadership of the command Friday, 27th, January 2023, from Ag. Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs(ACG) Malanta Ibrahim Yusuf, said that the decision to subject all cargo to physical examination was meant to account for every content of container passing through the command and to maximize revenue returns to the Federal Government.

He, therefore, warned non-compliant traders to steer clear of the command as he would not facilitate their trade as he desired to surpass the one trillion revenue mark achieved by the command under the former area controller Yusuf.

”We shall continue to conduct 100 percent physical examination of cargo so that we can account for all the cargo in the containers and to generate more revenue so that we can surpass the one trillion revenue collection that the command has already achieved. No package, no container should leave Apapa port without a proper 100 percent physical examination.” the new Comptroller told his officers who had gathered to welcome him.

He continued ”Today marks another era in the history of the Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service. I am inheriting a well-structured area command. The level of achievements and status achieved under my predecessor will be sustained while I will look for all means to surpass them.

I am ready for the job. I am aware of the big shoe I am stepping into but I am well prepared for it”, Comptroller Mohammad said.

He, therefore, asked the officers to be at their utmost best to cooperate and work with him to sustain and surpass the legacies of his predecessor.

He also solicited the support and cooperation of stakeholders whom he promised to engage with and updated frequently on all issues and policies that will enhance their trade and performance of the command.

The new helmsman also charged all the releasing officers and the image analysts who will be conducting the scanning of cargo to be diligent and exhibit the utmost sense of responsibility and professionalism in their duty so as not to release uncustomed goods.

Mohammed, who was redeployed from Onne Port Area Command when he was the area controller, also enjoined the importers and their agents to be compliant with the cargo clearance procedural processes in order to enjoy a seamless cargo release.

”The goods clearance procedure is simple. Everything starts and ends with declaration and if there is a proper and correct declaration of cargo, there won’t be any need for delay and unnecessary interference with the process”, he admonished.

Earlier, the outgoing Area Controller, Ag. Yusuf, while handling over the operations and procedures of the command to his successor, solicited the support and cooperation of all the officers and other stakeholders for the new helmsman, urging them to avail the new comptroller of the same level of support, guidance, and cooperation and advice they gave him.

He also lauded the untiring efforts of his officers whom he said were instrumental in the monumental achievements recorded by the command under his watch.

Consequently, some officers who excelled in the discharge of their duties were commended and awarded certificates of merit, including the indefatigable Public Relations officer of the Command, CSC Abubakar Usman.

 

 

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