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Eye Opener: Working African Global Trade Wars to its Advantage

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Eye Opener- Working African Global Trade Wars to its Advantage

Africa can work Global Trade Wars to its advantage by asserting independence and better negotiating the value of its resources

Global Trade wars are roiling economies and international relationships in 2018 like never before. by A south African Insider

Eye Opener- Working African Global Trade Wars to its Advantage

CAPTION: African Global Trade Wars – A second-hand clothing market in Kigali losing out in Rwanda’s second-hand clothes war, as the government hikes import duties on US used clothes. Image Courtesy of Alamy

In the long term, African nations can come out ahead if they prioritise inter-African trade and carefully select foreign trade partners. African nations with important commodities to sell, from Mozambique’s natural gas and Nigeria’s oil to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s minerals and South Africa’s abalone shellfish, have never been in a better position to play one foreign trade partner off another. This is particularly true when it comes to realigning East versus West relations based on trade issues.

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Global Trade wars seek to undercut African economic advancement

However, there is a more sinister aspect to the current global trade wars, which were launched by the United States under the Trump administration with a round of tariffs aimed at adversaries such as China, as well as allies like Canada. While it is true that China has a lopsided balance of trade with the US, the American economy had been thriving under the former system.

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US companies depend on Chinese-made components, and American consumers enjoy low-cost Chinese products. In light of the latest US tariffs imposed on Chinese goods, valued at US$ 200 billion, economists wondered why the heavy-handed approach of ever-increasing tariffs was necessary while negotiations may possibly be carried out to address the balance of trade issues.

The reason is not good economics but US politics. Anti-foreign sentiments have been stirred up by the US President, who uses foreign trade as a sub-theme. There is also an overtly aggressive element to this: Washington imposing its economic might because it can. In other words, bullying.

To China, there is another sinister motive involved, and this one impacts all US trade partners, including Africa. Beijing believes that the US is using trade war in a way very much like real war, to attack a foreign rival and undercut its economy. China feels the US wishes to reverse China’s impressive economic gains, lessening its competitiveness as a global trade partner, and undercutting its rise as an economic powerhouse.

Global Trade Wars - China is rising as a global economic powerhouse, expanding its share of global trade faster than any of the other rising powers in 30 years of ascent. Image Courtesy of FP

Global Trade Wars – China is rising as a global economic powerhouse, expanding its share of global trade faster than any of the other rising powers in 30 years of ascent. Image Courtesy of FP

This concern might also be held by African countries. With the US economy booming, there is no need to strong-arm impoverished African countries on trade issues, making demands, setting ultimatums and imposing sanctions instead of talking things through. However, Mr Trump is not a statesman but a businessman, who sees business as a zero-sum game in which other countries gain only at the US’ expense.

Consequently, he is baffled by the need for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) because it allows qualifying African countries tax-free and quota-free access to the American market. Meanwhile, US products are still taxed when imported into Africa. Mr Trump finds this ‘unfair’, fundamentally misunderstanding the goal of AGOA. This trade initiative is intended to give African economies a boost so that they will become robust and eventually become better customers for US goods, while also becoming more stable and secure through their stronger economies. AGOA provides trade giveaways for the US’ long-term benefit.

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Customs Corner

PTML Customs Command Generates N66.9b, Targets Two-Hour Clearance Time for Vehicles

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Author: Gift Wada.

The Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has collected N66,920,181,586.30 as total revenue for the first quarter of 2024, which is N22,198,965,809.55 higher than N44,721,215,776.75 collected between January and March 2023, representing 49.6 percent increase.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Saidu Yusuf, in a press statement signed by the Command’s Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent of Customs Muhammad Yakubu, on 13 April 2024, described the increase in revenue collection as a laudable feat.

Comptroller Yusuf, while commending the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, for initiating strategies to achieve faster cargo clearance, assured that PTML Command under his watch aims to surpass its record of three-hour cargo clearance for compliant traders.

“The launching of time release study (TRS), which is ongoing, and other deliberate efforts by the Comptroller General have contributed to expanding terminal space and promoting ease of doing business in PTML.

“The PTML command has the potential to achieve two-hour cargo clearance and surpass its existing three hours records if port users compliance level is improved,” he said.

Comptroller Yusuf, who described PTML as one of the safest and most secure environments for Roll On Roll Off (RoRo) and general cargoes, also advised importers and their agents to take advantage of the incentives available for compliant traders such as fast track, advance ruling and possible migration to the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

He reminded port users in PTML of the robust and time-conscious dispute resolution mechanism, which has contributed immensely to the revenue collection, trade facilitation, and anti-smuggling functions of the command.

While commending the various government and private sector stakeholders for their cooperation and support towards the realisation of the government’s goal for revenue collection and prevention of unlawful activities, Comptroller
Yusuf expressed optimism that the command will surpass its annual target for the year.

He described the importation of vehicles meant for Nigerian roads into neighbouring countries with the intent to smuggle them through unapproved roads into Nigeria as unpatriotic and an act of economic sabotage as the command has the capacity for seamless and efficient processing of such automobile cargoes.

For the second quarter and first half of the year, the CAC enjoined command officers to maximally deploy available technology and rededicate themselves to the job to achieve more.

He reminded port users that there is increased anti-smuggling vigilance to uncover concealment such as under declaration and smuggling of prohibited items. The CAC added that any discovered infraction will fully evoke the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, where there are spelt-out penalties.

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Customs Corner

Comptroller Jaiyeoba Commends Apapa Scanning Officers for Non-Compromise

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Author: Ibe Wada.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Apapa Area Command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, has commended Officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) for their invaluable contributions to the overall success of the Command.

Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who paid an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork in sustaining the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, 9 April 2024, by the Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abubakar Usman, the CAC thanked Deputy Comptroller of Customs Salamatu Atuluku, the Scanner Manager of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices.

According to him, no business person made to part with money will be happy with Officers who refuse to compromise the ethics of their jobs.

Addressing the officers, he said, “The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you, but I have seen your work, and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen. You are doing very well.”

He urged the Officers to remain steadfast in their commitment to integrity, emphasising that uncompromising adherence to their duties would ensure their credibility before the public and their superiors.

“For those of you doing intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is nobody who part with money that will be happy with you. They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me, and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person”. He added.

The CAC acknowledged the challenges faced by Officers issuing demand notices, highlighting the inevitability of dissatisfaction from individuals required to pay accurate duties to the government.

He reminded the unit not to be swayed by such complaints but to focus on upholding the integrity of their work.

Comptroller Jaiyeoba encouraged the officers to remain resilient, noting that their commitment to excellence would lead to further responsibilities and recognition.

“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy. It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work.” He concluded.

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Customs Corner

PH Oil & Gas FTZ Customs Generates N11B, Surpasses Revenue Target

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Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service, PH Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Command, has generated the sum of N11,745,352,898.00 in the first quarter of 2024. This surpasses the revenue target of N1,245,352,898.00, representing an 11.9% increment in the first quarter of 2024.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Command Public Relations Officer, ASC II Paul Gimba, on Monday, 8 April 2024, on behalf of the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Abubakar Umar.

According to the statement, Comptroller Abubakar Umar attributed the achievement to robust and positive engagement with relevant stakeholders in the industry.

He said, “This remarkable record was achieved as a result of robust and positive engagement with relevant stakeholders in the industry. This stakeholder engagement has minimised resistance to customs laws, improved problem solving and identified potential risks and challenges from stakeholders’ perspectives and trade facilitation. ”

“This line of action is in line with the Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR policy thrust of Consolidation, Collaboration, Innovation and implementation of the CGC’s trade facilitation initiatives”. He emphasised.

According to the CAC, the Command will continue to facilitate trade in the export of refined sugar “from Bundu Sugar Refinery, fertiliser from Notore Chemical Industries PLC and LNG from Bonny Island including collection of revenue on goods entering into the Customs territory such as Oil and Gas Equipment, oil well supplies, spare parts and instrumentation and tubing etc.”

Comptroller Umar stated that the command’s zero tolerance for revenue leakage had earned a commendation from the CGC.

“On the 26th February 2024, the Comptroller-General of Customs commended three officers of this Command over the recovery of N3,118,444,588.00. It cannot be over-emphasized the role of collective efforts and dedication to duty of Officers and Men of this Command in this significant achievement. ” He said.

The Customs Area Controller appreciated the CGC and the Management of the Nigeria Customs Service in the commendation of officers’ diligence, which has boosted the morale of officers and men of the Command.

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