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MTEF/FSP: Senate Threatens CBN, NCC, Others.

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MTEF/FSP:Senate threatens CBN, NCC

 

MTEF/FSP: Senate Threatens CBN, NCC, FIRS Others With Zero Budget Allocation.

The Senate threatens CBN and some revenue generating agencies of the federal government on Friday with zero budgetary allocation if they fail to appear before its Joint Committees on Finance and National Planning to defend their positions as contained in the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, MTEF/FSP.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West) gave the threat at the opening of a five-day public hearing on 2021-2023 MTEF and FSP documents.

“Any head of agency that refuses to appear before the Committee to defend figures it submitted as presented by the President to the Senate risks a zero allocation in the incoming budget among other penalties” the lawmaker said.

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The agencies scheduled to appear before the panel today included: the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Deposite Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS).

The committee also said it would carried out a thorough investigation on the contract signed by the Ministry of Interior with Continental Transfert Technique Limited (CONTEC) in 2007 on residence permit for expatriates.

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede had, during presentation at the session, said CONTEC, through the contract agreement, cornered a whopping N15 billion out of N20 billion realised in 2018 and N23 billion out of N40 billion realised in 2019.

He, however, said the Ministry of Justice was already looking at the modalities to pull out of the contract agreement. The company had increased the residence permit fee from $1,000 to $2,000.

Babandede also said the NIS was discussing with the Ministry of Justice for necessary advice on the legal implications of the upward review.

Adeola stressed the need for a more elaborate investigation on the issue with a view to tackling it.

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Customs Corner

Customs Wildlife Unit Engages Stakeholders on Import/Export Regulations

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Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Special Wildlife Unit has engaged stakeholders on the need to understand Government policies on wildlife.

The meeting, which was held at the Customs Training College in Lagos on Friday, 07 June 2024, had in attendance freight forwarders within the Murtala Mohammed Airport Environs.

Declaring the event open, the Commandant of the Training College, DC Haniel Hadison, stated that the meeting aligns with the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi’s directive to ensure that the NCS continues to collaborate with relevant stakeholders.

“This is in line with the Comptroller-General of Customs’s clarion call for collaboration and synergy, “we have stakeholders coming from the airport to the wildlife unit domiciled here at the Customs Training College to deliberate on the way forward. It’s a continuous exercise; this is just the beginning, but it’s a work in progress, “the commandant stated.

The National Coordinator of the Special Wildlife Unit, AC Abimbola Isafiade, highlighted the importance of the meeting, saying, “The freight forwarders have some misconceptions about the activities of the customs; a lot of them think we’re trying to stop their businesses from flowing, and so they wanted to know why there has been a lot of restrictions and their consignments being put on hold”.

“So we have been able to explain to them that some laws have to be complied with before any export or import of wildlife product will be carried out, what the procedures are, as it relates to the shipment, the legal trade in wildlife product and where it is illegal trade, how and why we will not allow it”, Isafiade explained.

She noted that help desk officers have been assigned to their business locations to help make enquiries and lodge their complaints, which will be addressed at the national stakeholders forum, where customs will participate.

The National Coordinator appreciated the CGC and his management team for supporting and encouraging the Special Wildlife Unit of the service.

Stakeholders commended the service for working tirelessly to ensure that things are correctly done and regulations followed.

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Customs Corner

Customs plans to Set-up Technical Working Group to Ease Healthcare Cross-Border Movement

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Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service is set to establish a technical working group to implement the Memorandum of Understanding of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and World Health Organization (WHO) on clearance of medical goods.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, made this known at a Round-table dialogue on the healthcare sector on Friday, 14 June 2024, at the Customs Training College, Ikeja, Lagos.

The CGC acknowledged the importance of the healthcare sector in Nigeria, especially its role in ensuring national security.

He said, “We are here at the instance of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN) to discuss mutual concerns, issues that have bothered the HFN regarding the problems that they encounter in the clearance of medical equipment, particularly life-saving equipment”.

“One of the things we have said is that we need to implement the WCO and WHO’s Memorandum of Understanding on clearance of medical goods, which will involve creating special corridors for those goods; we are not strangers to that. We already have schemes targeted at such sectors”, the CGC explained.

CGC Adeniyi highlighted some of the agreements reached at the meeting, saying, “We will take the first step towards establishing the technical working group, and virtually all the members of the proposed working group are here, so they are already aware”.

“Some of these are things that we can deliver almost immediately if we are talking about processes and procedures, yes, we can deliver those almost immediately, but if we are talking about changing codes and classification, it requires a wider level of consultations, a more robust engagement with the Ministry of Finance and other agencies that are involved”, he emphasised.

The CGC explained that the technical working group will comprise Customs, HFN and other critical stakeholders like the Ministry of Finance, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, office of the National Security Adviser and other stakeholders.

He restated President Bola Tinubu’s vision and passion for ensuring the delivery of a sound healthcare system to Nigerians, “we have a listening ear in government, and we will articulate this position, and hopefully by the next quarter, we could be having some of these delivered”.

The President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi, expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the meeting. She appreciated the service for its quick response to issues affecting the healthcare sector.

“It shows that customs has a listening ear, the willingness to cooperate, to collaborate, to listen to the pains that we have as a healthcare sector”, she said, and the engagement of CGC in terms of quickly setting up this technical working group to work with us, to provide the solution that we need, we are indeed happy. We are grateful to the Customs Service for this”, she concluded.

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Customs Corner

Customs Intercepts Illicit Drugs Worth N4.1B at Tincan Port

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…As CGC Assures of Dismantling Network of Perpetrators

Author: Lucy Nyambi.

Officers and Men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tincan Island Port Command, have intercepted a large consignment of illicit drugs, including Cannabis Indica weighing 1,072kg, from Canada and India.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, made this known during a press briefing at the Command on Friday, 14 June 2024.

According to him, the seizure is a result of the ongoing collaborative efforts between the NCS and the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Giving a breakdown of the items, Adeniyi stated, “3 plastic drums concealing several packets of Cannabis Indica, 46 bags containing 2,144 packets of Cannabis Indica all weighing 1,072kg seized from 01x40ft Container No. GAOU 669921/5 imported from Canada. The approximate street value of the illicit substances is N3, 216,000,000.00”.

“877 cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine- 200 bottles of 100ml per carton and 82 cartons of Really Extra Diclofenac Sodium 50mg tablets – 600 packs per carton imported from India was seized. The approximate street value of the cough syrup is N964,339,348.00. ” The CGC noted.

The Customs Boss stated that the operation highlights a troubling trend and evolving tactics of criminality and insecurity in the country.

He, however, assured of dismantling the network of perpetrators. “The NCS will continue to work closely with relevant national and international agencies to conduct operations that lead to the interception of illegal goods and the disruption of criminal networks.”

“Investigations are ongoing, and perpetrators will be made to face the full wrath of the law. Let this seizure serve as a warning to those who engage in illicit activities that the NCS remains vigilant and dedicated to protecting our society, “the CGC warned.

The CGC commended the Customs Area Controller, Tincan Island Port Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, and his team for the seizure, which he attributed to the dedication and hard work of the officers.

He reiterated that the collaborative synergy between NCS and its partner agencies exemplifies the effectiveness of pooling resources and intelligence, reinforcing agencies’ commitment to safeguarding the nation’s borders and protecting its citizens from the threats posed by smuggling.

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