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Philippines’ Duterte Blocks Bill to Register Social Media Users

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Philippines’ Duterte Blocks Bill to Register Social Media Users

Author: Peace Salifu

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected a proposed law requiring social media users to register their real names and phone numbers, citing threats to free speech and privacy, his spokesman said Friday.

The legislation which was approved by both houses of Congress in February, is intended to combat fake news, online abuse, text scams and militant bombings, also required mobile phone users to provide their personal details when buying SIM cards.

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While supporting efforts to tackle cybercrime and other online offences, Duterte said he opposed the inclusion of social media user registration in the bill.

He called for “a more thorough study” of the provision, citing concerns it could lead to “dangerous state intrusion and surveillance threatening many constitutionally protected rights” such as individual privacy and free speech, presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said in a statement.

Filipinos rank among the world’s heaviest users of social media, But the country has become a key battleground for misleading or fake news.

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Customs Corner

Nigeria Customs Service, WASP Collaborate for Enhanced Trade Security

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Author: Iruoghene Abra.

The Nigeria Customs Service has, on Tuesday 13 February, 2024 initiated an engagement with the West Africa Security Project (WASP) to acquaint officers on security awareness for effective trade facilitation and effective border security.

Addressing the delegates of the West Africa Security Project during a meeting at the Customs Corporate Headquarters, Abuja, Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR described the project as a medium that will benefit officers of the Service in the area of curbing smuggling and illegal trafficking of substances.

The CGC, who supported the collaboration between the Nigeria Customs Service and WASP, also described the initiative as great chance for officers to perform security duties.

CGC Bashir outlined some of the benefits of the program to encompass; cargo profiling, small arms and light weapon handling, global shield programs which deals with chemicals and radioactive elements, to share resources with stakeholders for synergy, amongst others.

According to CGC, “there is an existing project managed by the world bank that looks at the Lagos-Abidjan corridor whose aim is to promote trade facilition. Bringing in this new project that looks at the security aspect will boost our performances and potent a lot of opportunities for us.”

He added “We will be able to account for 60% of the GDP if we are able to cooperate effectively. This project requires the cooperation and collaboration of all the Customs administrations involved”.

Furthermore the CGC said that the program also entails field officers brainstorming and exchanging ideas. According to him, it will help officer know convergence of smuggling route to minimize smuggling and trafficking activities.

The project manager of West Africa Security Project (WASP) Terry Wall, outlined some of the benefits of the program to include; identification of high risk cargo, provision of training of national Customs Enforcement Network (nCEN), delivery of refresher training in the use of Customs Enforcement Network (CEN), joint activity to deliver GEOSPATIAL intelligence and High Level End-of-Project Evaluation with the donor.

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Customs Corner

Nigeria Customs Service Restates Commitment to Improve its Operations Base On Scientific Studies

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As Federal Government Collaborates with WCO, Others to Launch Time Release Study in TCIP

Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service has restated its commitment to improve Customs Operations based on the outcomes of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) assisted Time Release Study (TRS) Scoping Mission for Nigeria.

Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR made the commitment during the launching ceremony of the WCO-Assisted TRS Scoping Mission for Nigeria on Thursday, February 8, 2024.

The event, which was held in Lagos, had in attendance the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mrs. Doris Uzoka-Anite, Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Lydia Jafiya, Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola represented by the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Pius Akutah, DG NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Captains of Industries, among other Stakeholders.

In his remarks, CGC Adeniyi stated that the TRS method is a systematic and standardized approach used to measure the total duration of time from the arrival of goods at the Customs border until their release.

He said, “The initiative represents a critical step in our ongoing efforts to optimize the trading experience and customs operations in Nigeria. It is a strategic endeavour
aimed at improving how we facilitate trade, ensuring alignment with international
best practices, and contributing substantially to national development”.

The CGC was emphatic when he restated the NCS’ commitment to enhancing trade efficiency and promoting
economic growth and national development.

He said, “The launch of the TRS in Lagos today underscores our commitment to improving customs operations and trade facilitation in Nigeria. In addition to TRS, the NCS is deploying the AEO program, Advanced Ruling, and establishing a Customs Laboratory as part of its ongoing efforts to facilitate trade and improve government revenue”.

“These initiatives are supported by the WCO, further emphasizing our dedication to enhancing trade efficiency and promoting economic growth and national development through collaboration, innovation, and strategic measures.” He emphasized.

Launching the TRS, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Wale Edun, represented by the permanent secretary, Lydia Jafiya, noted that the TRS falls aligns with the Federal Government’s renewed hope agenda, “which demonstrates the president’s commitment to unleashing full economic potential to and among other states. Redefining best approaches to create the enabling environment for businesses in addition to providing excellent services for economic operations”.

On her part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, opined that trade facilitation will enhance trade volume and lead to revenue generation.

“I implore you to redouble your efforts in focusing on trade facilitation. This is because when you facilitate trade, you’re enhancing our trade volume and making our nation more competitive, and then we can generate more revenue without increasing our levies”. She said.

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Customs Corner

Customs Innugrates WCO Led PCA, AEO Diagnostic Mission to enhance Trade Facilitation

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Author: Ruth Akata.

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, on Monday, 29 January 2024, said the Service has implemented robust risk management strategies to enhance the integrity of Customs processes and mitigate risks.

The CGC, who made this known while declaring open a two-week retreat on the Inauguration of World Customs Organisation (WCO) led Post Clearance Audit (PCA) & Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) Diagnostic Mission for Senior NCS Officers at Wells Carlton Hotel Conference Room in Abuja, said the Service has taken a measure that will significantly improve the efficiency of supply chains and ease the way to conducting meticulous post-clearance audit.

He furthermore spotlighted the aim to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across various sectors, saying that through tailored training, support, and incentives, we aspire to enable SMEs to qualify for AEO status in the coming years.

He said the initiative underscores our commitment to inclusive growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation, ensuring that all segments of society benefit from trade facilitation and economic development opportunities.

According to him, the initiative is also aimed at evaluating entry barriers for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and systematically addressing them.

He added “the objectives and activities of the mission, particularly in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Nigeria’s strategic position in the global trade framework.”

The CGC emphasized that AfCFTA serves as a beacon for regional integration and economic progress in Africa, and the crucial role of PCA and AEO is essential for its successful implementation.

He said that at the regional level, these initiatives nurture trade facilitation and economic progress by refining customs procedures, fortifying compliance mechanisms, and promoting transparency.

The CGC concluded by extending his heartfelt gratitude to the World Customs Organization and commended the dedication and expertise of all stakeholders: WCO-led PCA, IMF, World Bank, and AEO Diagnostic Mission.

The Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs (DCG), in charge of Tariff and Trade, Abdullahi Musa, took the welcome address saying that Nigeria is a home for trade and investment, urging the officers to embrace innovation, collaboration, and continuous improvement in Customs practices.

He also emphasized the mission’s goal to enhance compliance mechanisms, foster trade facilitation, and contribute to the broader objectives of the World Customs Organization in promoting border security and fostering sustainable economic development globally.

Continuing his speech, DCG Musa thanked the World Bank Group experts and the International Monetary Fund for their support and partnership. He commended the dedication and expertise of all stakeholders involved in the mission, whose contributions will yield a prosperous future for the Nigeria Customs Service.

The opening ceremony of the World Customs Organization-led Post Clearance Audit and Authorized Economic Operator Diagnostic mission is a two-week program organized by Nigeria Customs Service to accelerate trade facilitation.

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