Day: September 12, 2019

FG Raises VAT to 7.2 per cent

The Federal Government Wednesday raised the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 7.2 percent from five percent.
The Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed disclosed this in Abuja while speaking to newsmen after the maiden Federal Executive Council .
She said, “we will begin consultations and consultations will be at various levels in the country. So it includes consultations with the states, with the local governments, with the parliament as well as with the Nigerian public. For the VAT increase to take effect, there has to be an amendment to the VAT Act.”
She also said that the bail out to states will be deducted.
According to her “it was not a grant to states by the Federal Government. The Central Bank has a responsibility to ensure that loans given act are paid”.

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IMO Election: Nigeria Seeks Return to Council

Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency, George Oguntade has assured the international maritime community of the commitment of the Federal Government to enhanced security on Nigerian waters. This was as the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA Dr Dakuku Peterside announced Nigeria’s quest to return to Category C of the IMO Council at an election scheduled to take place later this year.

He stated this at the dinner hosted in honor of a delegation from Nigeria at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization, IMO with the Secretary General Mr Kitac Lim leading other Permanent and Alternate Representatives to the dinner which also had the Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety Education and Administration, Honorable Linda Ikpeazu in attendance.

Ambassador Oguntade who also doubles as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the IMO said that the Nigerian government is committed to providing conducive environment for business in the Nigerian maritime sector to thrive. He noted that the Global Maritime Security Conference Nigeria has committed to host from 7th – 9th October this year is another show of assurance to talking issues that may hinder business in the Nigerian maritime sector.

The DG NIMASA Dr Dakuku Peterside while announcing Nigeria’s quest to seek election back to Council noted that Nigeria has done enough to merit a return to council at the IMO.
“Nigerian is willing and prepared to play more regional and international roles to the global maritime community but that would only be possible with your support. Let Nigeria contribute from within Council to the growth of the maritime sector globally. Let us contribute significantly to the work of the IMO.” Dakuku said.
While acknowledging the fact that Nigeria is a beneficiary of IMO technical support, the NIMASA DG noted that the issue of the Anti Piracy Act in Nigeria took firm root from the technical support that was provided by the IMO.
He also disclosed that Nigeria has ratified 40 IMO Conventions and domesticated 19 with plans to ratify and domesticate 6 more in the very near future, adding that Nigeria topped the chart on Port and Flag State Administration in West and Central Africa sub-region.

Speaking on the Global Maritime security conference scheduled for Abuja in October, Dr Dakuku disclosed that over 70 countries have so far indicated interest to be part of the conference which is to provide both short and long term solutions to the security issues in the region.
“To further address the issue of insecurity in the region’s maritime domain, Nigeria will host the 2019 Global Maritime Security Conference from the 7th to 9th of October in Abuja. With 12 thematic sessions, it is our hope that the conference will rise with the ‘ABUJA DECLARATION’ on ending insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.” He said.

Assistant secretary general of the IMO Dr Lawrence Barchua who spoke on behalf of the Council, noted that a review of the report on Nigeria Member State shows availability of both human and infrastructural capacity in country for Nigeria to be a leading maritime nation.

Nigeria’s strategic location in the heart of the sub region makes it the access route and gateway of main stay shipping. We are glad that the federal government of Nigeria is making conscious efforts to address the security issues in the region. “Having read the Member State Audit report on Nigeria, it is clear that the country has what it takes to be a leading maritime nation”. He concluded.

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Private Armed Guards Not Allowed Onboard Vessels in Nigeria, Says Navy

The West African shipping market was the focus of a full house of industry experts and professionals on Tuesday at the West Africa Shipping Summit in London, a highlight event of the London International Shipping Week.
Hosted by Nigerian shipping and maritime law firm Akabogu & Associates, the event witnessed the attendance of leading figures in the Nigerian maritime industry, including the Chairman of
the House Committee on Marine Transport, Hon. Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Salihu Zakari, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside and the Chief of Policy and Plans of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Begroy Enyinna Ibe-Enwo.
Speaking to a wide spectrum of global shipping interests, both NIMASA and the Navy acknowledged the challenges in securing the Nigerian maritime domain and affirmed the collaboration between both organisations to abate the incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea.

Rear Admiral Ibe-Enwo, representing the Chief of Naval Staff, confirmed that private armed guards are still not permitted on merchant vessels in Nigeria.

Also at the event, Senior Partner at Akabogu and Associates Emeka Akabogu noted that the Nigerian ship charter and freight market, estimated at $10 billion, is a key pillar of import trade and the service sector and urged the industry to fully take advantage through effective due diligence, synergy and regulatory compliance.
He encouraged the use of arbitration for the resolution of maritime disputes. This position was supported by the President of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Andy Isichei and the CEO of
Africa Risk Compliance, Michael Wingate who called for collaboration between shipping and the regulators to bridge the gaps causing key security challenges in the maritime domain.
CEOs of L.A.T.C. Marine, Gbolahan Shoba and Ship2Ship Services, Kunle Jolapamo, intervening for ship owners, urged regulators to be more responsive to shipowner challenges, though they noted that they were increasingly moving offshore for better financing solutions.

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Border Closure: Customs Arrests 177 Smugglers, 100 Illegal Migrants

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it has arrested 177 suspected smugglers and 100 illegal immigrants following the closure of the border stations.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Mr Joseph Attah in a statement said the arrests were made as a result joint patrol by security agencies coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
He announced the items seized during the joint operation as 8,360 – 50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 122 bags of fertiliser; 77 vehicles; 781 drums filled with PMS as well as 16,371 empty 200 litres drums to be used for smuggling PMS.
Other items were 1,491 packs of assorted drugs; three outboard 40HP Engines; 13 Cotonou boats; 185 drums of groundnut oil; six trucks; 114 motorcycles; among other items with 117 suspects
Part of the statement reads, “As part of the efforts to sustain the rigorous patrol along the national borderlines, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), Comptroller General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede, and the Coordinator of the exercise, Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Aliyu Ndagi, have commenced an on-the-spot-assessment of the implementation and compliance of the ongoing border security drills.
“The exercise, which is being led by the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security and intelligence agencies, is intended to better secure our borders, boost national economy and strengthen border security.”

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