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Nigeria Stand To Lose Totally In AfCFTA Regime On Continuous Border Closure, ANLCA Alerts.

The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has alerted that Nigeria continuous border closure to trade will be a great disadvantaged in the AfCTA regime scheduled to take off in January 2021.

ANLCA also reminded the government that Nigeria will be shut out of trade with proximate countries of Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad and Niger Republic in West and Central African countries.

The group further identified the historic and strategic trade impact of Nigeria to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), where it is bordered by Niger, Cameroun and Chad.

In a statement signed by the ANLCA National President Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, made available to newsmen in Lagos, the association therefore secured the assurances of the Federal Government on the need to effect gradual reopening of the closed borders with particular focus on rules of origin to prevent abuses of incentives like the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS). “This in our view will help in discouraging smuggling activities through all approved routes”.

Nwabunike said, “In line with the ECOWAS protocol, we hope all Neighbouring countries will henceforth deliver transit goods to the Nigeria customs service. We posit that for Nigeria Customs service to be In tune with international best practices, it should allow Micro Chip shoot on every container along the ECOWAS route into the country.

It was observed as an issue of utmost concern that cargoes on transit and mobile assets like trucks laden with goods worth over N130b belonging to private business people were trapped since August 18, 2019 when the borders were shut under a joint operation, codenamed “Exercise Swift Response”.Most of the goods with perishable timelines have either been destroyed due to expiry periods or damaged beyond redemption as a result of exposure to unfavorable elements.

ANLCA findings also confirm vandalism, theft and arson on some of the trucks and goods they carry, therefore causing great losses to many struggling business men and women.
Of note is the over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs that have been lost so far due to this policy, which in our view, should have been approached and implemented differently.
 
Similarly, the association also interacted with ranking members of the Senate over allegations of National Assembly members interference in cargo clearing. 
After closed door interactions, it was mutually agreed between ANLCA and members of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise that it negates due process for lawmakers to be involved in cargo clearing.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena gave his words that all cargo clearance hitherto stalled with shipping companies due to the committee’s activities and correspondence will be allowed to be processed in line with extant regulations.
Senator  Francis Alimikhena concurred with ANLCA that: whereas the oversight functions of the lawmakers cannot be wished away on the executive arm of government and any of its agents, the day to day operation of duty collection, cargo examination, issuance of demand notices (when necessary) and effecting seizures for due infractions rest with the Nigeria Customs Service.

It was further concluded as an incontrovertible fact, that the functions of NCS officers as provided in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) cannot be performed by any person or body not authorized to act so.

Our message to all customs brokers, freight forwarders, logistics operators and haulage companies is to remain calm in the face of imminent review of government policies to accommodate their line of businesses and expand opportunities for their growth.
 
They should expect lights at the end of the tunnel and be prepared to take full legitimate advantages that the adjusted regime will usher in.
ANLCA will continue to pursue the interest of our members in the areas of operational challenges, and seeking amicable resolutions to trade disputes arising from government policies and other stakeholder’s actions”
 
 

NCMDLCA Raise Alarms Against Double Funds To Rehabilitate  Burnt NPA Building.

 
The President of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Lucky Amiwero has raised alarm against the plan to include the NPA 2021 budget for rehabilitation of the burnt building, saying it would amount to double funding of the project.
 
The NCMDLCA reaction was followed by the advice of the members of the National Assembly to the management of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to jack up its 2021 Budget to cover the cost of rehabilitation and replacement of stolen equipment’s, 

Amiwero who is a frontline maritime expert based his position on the fact that the NPA building was insured for fire and theft and that the NPA did not default in its premium payments.
 
He asserted that it is the responsibility of the insurer to rehabilitate the building and replace stolen items, insisting that any move by the NPA management to jack up its 2021 budget for the purpose of the rehabilitation would amount to double fund for the project.

According to him, “There are classes of insurance but if the losses suffered by the NPA in the incident were covered, then the insurer takes full responsibility for indemnifying the insured of the losses suffered. That is the essence of insurance. Going again to take money from government is double charge. I don’t want to call it fraud.
 
“Once the building is insured, the insurance company takes responsibility for everything; that is the truth,” Amiwero stressed.


Recall that when the lawmakers from the National Assembly visited the NPA headquarters recently to assess the level of damage and loss, they asked the Management of NPA to jack up its 2021 budget to cover for the rehabilitation and replacement of stolen equipment’s.


Speaking during the visit, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Ports and Harbour, Garba Datti Muhammad said that members both of the chambers of the National Assembly were in Lagos to assess the level of damage done to the NPA building.

“We have gone round and seen the extent of the damage to the building and vehicles that were burnt in the fire incident. This will help the National Assembly to assist NPA in rebuilding the damage on the torched building. However, part of our discussion with them was for the NPA to bring its budget to the National Assembly because we advised them to adjust the budget to accommodate the rebuilding of the damages,” he explained.
 
Meanwhile, the General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communication of NPA, Engr. Adam Jato in his response to questions send to him online confirmed that the facility is fully insured by a consortium of insurers.

Though he did not disclose the names of the insurance companies, he disclosed that the lead insurance underwriter has appointed a Loss Adjuster to assess the value of damage and loss NPA suffered as a result of the incident.

Jato, who did not refute NPA’s plan to jack up it’s 2021 budget to accommodate the cost of reconstruction of the building and replacement of looted equipment’s as advised by the lawmakers, said that as NPA’s 2021 budget is yet to be approved, the figure the Ports Authority will be getting will be in the public domain when it is finally approved by the National Assembly.
 
 
Federal And Delta State Governments Urged To Compensate Okpe Union Members For Their Amiable Contributions To National Development. 

The Federal and Delta State governments have been urged to adequately reward Niger Delta indigenes under the aegis of the Okpe Union with appointments and siting of projects in the area as compensation for its contributions to national economy.

The National President General of the Union, Patrick Akpotor and General Secretary, Kingsley Edesirin Akpederin made the appeal at a World Press conference held shortly at it’s National headquarters in Lagos.

According to the duo, the delegates at the national conference and General Assembly appealed to the Federal Government to adequately reward Okpe people, being one of the highest oil and gas producing ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region.

It appealed to the Federal Government to upgrade the Sapele Technical College, one of the oldest in the country to a Federal University or Polytechnic to create capacity among the teeming youths of the area and generate employment.

The delegates also urged the Delta State government to complete the Delta State Polytechnic, Elume, Sapele, which construction began during the administration of immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan.

In a communique read by the President to newsmen, “The delegates also declared that the Union was neither factionalized nor at loggerheads with any group or individuals”.

It frowned on the recent imposition of some persons as interim leaders of the Okpe Union, who it said, were given unauthorized powers to preside over the affairs of the union for two years and unanimously rejected the imposition of the interim leaders.

“Delegates at the conference noted that without prejudice to anyone whom the authority to usurp the powers of the duly elected National Executive Committee was derived, the 2020 National Conference, which is the highest decision making organ of the Okpe Union mandated the national leadership to communicate resolutions reached at the conference held on November 14, 2020,” the communiqué reads.

The delegates however passed a vote of confidence on the Patrick Akpotor-led executive and rejected the purported dissolution of the union’s National Executive Council and the imposition of a nine-member interim National Executive Council for two years, insisting that it was unconstitutional, illegal and null and void.

They also nominated 15 Okpe indigenes to be recommended to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as members of its Board of Trustees (BoT) and extended the tenure of the current leadership by five months, as well as nominated a five-man electoral committee to conduct a credible, free and fair election in compliance with the Okpe Union’s constitution and the wishes of majority of Okpe people.

The delegates also gave the present national executive members additional six months to organize a befitting, free and fair national election to usher in new executives.