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Customs generates N1.34tr in Q1 2024, concedes N318bn to waivers

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Customs Arrests 29 Suspected Smugglers At FOU Zone ‘A’ In Q1

The Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, on Thursday, June 6, said the Service has generated N1.34 trillion in the first quarter of 2024.
He added that N318 billion was conceded to exemptions, waivers, and concessions granted to companies in the same period.

Adeniyi also said during the period, 478 seizures amounting to N1.9 trillion were made by its operatives.

He said these when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in the ongoing probe to monitor revenue by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government.

Adeniyi said with a projected revenue target of N1.269 trillion for the first quarter of 2024, the agency surpassed its revenue target by N77 billion.

He said the agency has a revenue target of 5.079 trillion for the year 2024.

He pointed out that the suspension of excise policy on carbonated drinks, single-use plastics, telecommunication and others in the 2024 fiscal policy measures, adversely affected revenue generation by the agency.

He stressed the need for the Federal Government to ensure Customs officials are actively involved in determining real beneficiaries of the exemption policies.

“What we are asking for is that customs should be actively involved in the decision of who confessions are granted to. This is because we have the profile of this company. We monitor their impacts and export so we are in a better position to advise the government on who should be genuine beneficiaries”, he said.

The Customs boss said China, the United States of America, India and the Netherlands top list of countries Nigerians import goods and products from while Netherlands, Spain, France, and India top the list of countries of export.

He said, “The monthly expected average revenue target stood at N423,255,822,173.79, and as shown below, the collection for January recorded a shortfall of 7.66 percent on the target while February denoted an excess of 6.37 percent and, the month of March equally represented a positive variance of 19.71 percent of its respective monthly estimates. Aggregatory, within the first quarter of 2024, with a total projected revenue of N1,269,767,466,521.38, the sum of N1,347,705,251,658.31 was collected, which recorded a significant improvement of 6.14 percent higher than the periodic target.”

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He said the service performed remarkably well in terms of revenue generation within the first quarter of 2024 with 6.14 percent above the periodic target.

He said the Customs’ contribution to the annual revenue target as of March 31, 2024, stood at 26.53 percent.

He added that the trade balance was positive at an advantage of 84.58 percent.

“It is also very important to highlight the activities that cover the Tax Expenditure, which relates to revenue conceded due to Exemptions, Concessions, and grants of any kind, either vide extant provisions as spelled out in Schedule 2 of the Common External Tariff. Cumulatively, the sum of N318,212,274,095.41 was conceded within the first quarter of 2024, and this represented 93.61 percent of the total of N1,347,705,251,658.31 collected during the period under review,” Adeniyi said.

He expressed concern about the smuggling of petrol meant for the Nigerian market to neighbouring countries.

He said activities of cross-border smugglers, who divert petrol to neighbouring countries have made Nigerians not to enjoy the benefits of subsidy removal.

He said: “In terms of fuel, the smuggling of PMS is not allowing us to reap the full benefits of removal of fuel subsidy and we know how critical this is to the government. Our study has shown that there are places in our country where the smuggling of PMS is left unchecked. I am happy to announce that in response to this, we have come up with special operations in the last few weeks targeting the smuggling of PMS. In the next few days, I will be briefing Nigerians on the initial results of these operations which will help us to know the amount we are losing to the smuggling of PMS.”

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On the issue of exemptions, Adeniyi said the agency was not responsible for granting custom duties waivers and concessions to companies.

He said sometimes it is the prerogative of the president to determine such beneficiaries.

“Last year, we had to concede over 45 percent of revenue that we generated to exemptions and concessions, there was no doubt about. Even we, as customs, are concerned and we are looking for a balance sheet in the way we manage the exemptions. Let me put it on record that those exceptions are not only normally granted by the Nigerian Customs Service.

“Some of them are granted by Mr. President in excise of power and delegated to the minister of finance where the Import Duty Exemption Certificate is transmitted to the NCS. But the minister has been very upfront in expressing his concerns about the huge numbers that we have in 2023 and he has mince no words in saying that this has to be addressed in 2024. Our observation in the first quarter of 2024 is that waivers had gone to only genuine importers and manufacturers who deserve those kinds of exemptions in our system. They are major players in our economy.

“We should also know that each time we talk about exemptions and waivers, it is very dangerous for us to throw away the baby and the bathing water. Because there could be some advantages that we could get if we give incentives to people who are genuinely involved in manufacturing. Provision of employment, payment of tax and Increase in GDP. All I can say is that there is some level of sanity,” he said.

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Adeniyi further revealed that the volume of cargo throughput has reduced compared to the previous year.

He blamed the volatility of the exchange rate for the development.

“The volume of cargo that has been coming to our port in the first quarter has dropped by about 5.14 percent of what we saw in 2023. The cargo throughput has reduced because of the volatility of the exchange rate and the value of the dollar. The reduction in volume of cargo has impacted our revenues”, he said.

The Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Saidu Abdullahi, said customs would have generated more income for Nigeria’s consolidated revenue fund in the first quarter without the waivers and concessions arrangements.

While commending the agency for surpassing its quarterly revenue target, Abdullahi, urged the service to do more.

“I must encourage you to do more. I can see a man that knows his worth. But you can do well. You said your target is five trillion but you can make it six trillion and the whole country will celebrate you.

“I know you have done well with your revenue but the question is are we guided by cost- the cost-benefit principle when it comes to granting waivers and confessions. This is because we think despite the high turnover rate, imagine having the amount granted to these concessions to what you have generated we will be having around N1.5trn. I think we need to look inward and meticulously address this issue of waivers. If we must grant waivers let there be huge benefits for the country.

“Our problem is revenue generation not borrowing. I want to even see a situation where Nigeria borrows two times of what we are doing but as long as we can generate more revenue that shouldn’t be a problem,” the lawmaker said.

Source: The Nation

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Sallah: Ex-Senate president Lawan shares N222.5m cash gift, foodstuffs to constituents

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President of the 9th Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has distributed N222.5 million cash gift to households drawn from across 60 wards in the six Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Yobe North Senatorial District to celebrate the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir Muslim festival.

The distribution, which was carried out through a committee set up by Senator Lawan, targeted households and individuals in need within the district and beyond.

The six LGAs that benefited from the gesture include Bade, Jakusko, Karasuwa, Yusufari, Machina and Nguru.

The cash gift ranging from 100,000 to 20,000 was distributed to each household, including individuals, with a total of 3,430 households and individuals benefitting from the initiative sponsored by the Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (SAIL) Foundation.

Other beneficiaries captured are traditional leaders, party executives, and stakeholders in Yobe North.

Also to be distributed are food items such as 1500 carton boxes of spaghetti, 1,140 bags of maize and guinea corn, 1,500 clothings for children, 800 wrappers for women, 2,000 blankets, 2,000 mats etc. Beneficiaries under this category were also drawn from the six LGAs, and extend to orphanages within the Senatorial District.

According to the chairman of the Selection and Distribution Committee, Alhaji Suleiman Jamo, the gesture was aimed at cushioning the economic hardship faced by many constituents owing to the high cost of living as Muslims celebrate Eid-el-Kabir.

“We understand that many of our constituents are going through difficult times, and this gift from Sen. Ahmad Lawan is a token of his support to help them celebrate with joy and peace,” Jamo said.

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Senator Lawan, while commending the committee for a job well done, urged the beneficiaries to use the gift wisely as they enjoy the Eid celebration.

“I wish all my constituents a blessed and peaceful Eid-el-Kabir celebration. May the spirit of the season unite us and bring us closer together”, he said

Source: The Nation

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Nigeria working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, Tinubu assures FBI

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Nigeria working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, Tinubu assures

Tinubu said his administration has prioritised education as a tool against poverty which is generally believed to be a driver of criminal activities.

President Bola Tinubu receives FBI Director, Christopher Asher Wray, at the State House on June 14, 2024. Credit: State House.

President Bola Tinubu on Friday received the director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Asher Wray, assuring him that Nigeria is working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrime, and other criminal activities.

Tinubu spoke during a meeting with the FBI director at the State House in Abuja, calling for collaboration between Nigeria and other countries in West Africa to rid the region of crimes.

“We are working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, sextortion, and I am glad that we have a good number of agencies that are involved in reducing these crimes to the barest minimum, and they are also well represented at this meeting,” Tinubu was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

“’We cannot achieve this important feat of eliminating crimes without collaboration. Incidentally, as the Chairman of ECOWAS, Nigeria is also collaborating with other West African countries to fight economic and other related crimes.

“It is an honour for me to receive Director Christopher Wray, the leader of an organization that has demonstrated consistent procedural sophistication and a reputation for excellence over several years. Your visit conveys the importance of Nigeria and Nigerian partnership in the work of America’s law enforcement institutions and vice-versa. For us, it is a recognition of what stage we are at, who we are, and the level of interest both countries share in eliminating crimes locally and globally.”

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Tinubu said his administration has prioritised education as a tool against poverty which is generally believed to be a driver of criminal activities.

Noting that no country can combat financial crimes in isolation, President Tinubu called on the United States to support developing countries with the requisite technology and knowledge transfer required to combat complex international crimes.

In his remarks, Director Wray said he was in the country to enhance the “outstanding partnership” that exists between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.

Source: Channels

 

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Anambra Rep knocks proposal for Orlu State

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The House of Representatives has further rescheduled its resumption date earlier slated for Tuesday, April 23 by one week.

The member representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Hon Uzokwe Peter Ifeanyi, has knocked the proposal for the creation of Orlu State.

He said though he was not against the creation of another state for the Southeast, proper consultation was not made.

Penultimate Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill for first reading for the creation of Orlu State.

The bill was sponsored by the member representing Ideato North/Ideato South Federal Constituency, Imo State, Ikenga Ugochinyere.

According to the draft bill, the creation of Orlu State will alter the 1999 Constitution (as amended), increasing the number of states in the federation from 36 to 37

The new state will be carved out from Imo, Abia, and Anambra states, with Orlu as its capital city, it proposed.

But reacting to the development, Ifeanyi, expressed displeasure that his constituency was carved into the proposed new state even without letting him as representative of the people know.

He posited that the call for a new state was germane but should be done through the appropriate channels, especially through the Igbo leadership, Ohaneze Ndigbo.

He said his position did not reinforce any stereotypes about the Southeast not being united as disagreements on issues in any community is normal.

His words, “The issue of state creation has been the problem of Igbos, the South easterners. No Igboman will say that the Igbos don’t need a state to make up for the inequality of states in the country. Inasmuch as we need that state, the issue becomes where will the state be carved out from?

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“It’s only Anambra people that don’t because of the location of Anambra State. The best you can do is just to carve out something small. I don’t think between Enugu and Anambra, there is a place you will carve out. But from Abia, coming down to Owerri, Imo State, you can carve out between Abia and Imo, between Abia and Ebonyi, and lastly between Imo and some parts of Anambra State. So that has been the issue.

“What happened today was that last Thursday, my brother and honourable member colleague submitted a bill proposing Orlu State. I don’t have anything against Orlu State but the issue is that if you want to carve out any state, you have to do due diligence, you have to consult widely. Can you imagine the embarrassment? My Igwe called me and asked me what happened. Were you there when Ozubulu was carved into Orlu? I said nobody consulted me.

“I’m in the House with you. As a matter of fact, since I was elected, I have not missed more than three sittings, so I’m not an absentee honourable. You see me every day, you people can bear me witness. I have never been in the House five minutes past eleven. I must be seated five minutes to eleven. As a matter of fact, the Speaker had not entered that chamber before me and I was seated or standing to welcome him.

“So it is not a matter of you did not see me. But because you wanted to bypass me. I don’t know the reason. And taking Ozubulu out of Ekwusigo, are you taking the whole of Ekwusigo? Ozubulu has been the Local Government headquarters of Ekwusigo. You just came to Ekwusigo and picked out Ozubulu. Where will the headquarters of Ekwusigo be now? Will Ozubulu which has been the headquarters of a local government now go into Orlu to be a minority? Is it possible?

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“If he had approached me and consulted with me, we would sit down. But let it not be what happened in 1884/1885 which was the scramble for and the partitioning of West Africa, where somewhere in Berlin, Germany, you sat down, brought the map of West Africa on the table, and started carving. That was exactly what my honourable colleague did. Put that Anambra map, put that Imo map, and started carving it out as it pleased him. Will he have taken it if I come to his local town and pull it out? What explanation would be given to his people? Nothing. Just to embarrass me.

“My thinking is simple and short. That we are here, our being here does not give us any superiority over the people who sent us. We have Ohaneze Ndigbo. They have been championing the cause of the creation of an additional state for Igbos. Shift it back to them. They are the elders. They will do it and bring it to us and tell us to push it. That is our job.

“Ohaneze Ndigbo will do it, bring it to us as Southeast Caucus in the parliament. We have leaders. Then with one voice, we push on what is agreed on. But for us to come here as lawmakers because we have the power to make laws, then we start tinkering with the laws, creating new ones to suit the imagination we want. No! Things are not done like that.

“I am not against the creation of an additional state but there should have been proper consultation. I would advise him to withdraw the bill and re-present it so all of us would support it. But the people of Ozubulu have taken a stand that they would not go under Orlu.”

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He said the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, was passionate about the creation of an additional state for the Southeast.

He also said his position did not reflect any stereotype that the Southeast cannot work together.

He said, this is not a stereotype that the Southeast cannot work together. We would disagree to agree. Forget about that stereotype. Which ethnic group in Nigeria speaks with one voice? Igbo people speak with one voice more than other ethnic groups in Nigeria. Anybody that says Igbos don’t speak with voice is a lie. It is just stereotyping and labelling for them to get what they want. Is speaking with one voice the absence of disagreements? No. It is not. We can disagree. But so long as two human beings are into anything there must be disagreements.”

Source: The Nation

 

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Tax evasion: Court discharges Binance executive as FG amends charges

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FG, INTERPOL in talks over Binance chief’s extradition

The Federal Inland Revenue Service says it is dropping the tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance.

Confirming the development, Dare Adekanmbi, the agency’s spokesperson, said the federal government “is dropping charges against the two individuals sued along with the cryptocurrency firm, Binance”.

“Please note that the charges are being dropped against the second and the third defendants in the matter,” he added.

TheCable understands that a federal high court in Abuja discharged the two executives on June 14, after the FIRS confirmed the appointment of Ayodele Omotilewa as the firm’s representative — with FIRS filing a fresh charge listing the exchange as the sole defendant.

Speaking in a statement on Friday, Binance said the development illustrates that Gambaryan is not a decision-maker at the cryptocurrency firm.

“We are relieved that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has served and filed amended charges today, resulting in tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan being dropped,” the statement reads.

“Further illustrating that Tigran is not a decision-maker at Binance and does not need to be held in order for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government.

“We await the court’s ruling on this, discharging Tigran from this matter completely.”

Binance also commended the FIRS for their diligence and professionalism throughout this process.

The company said the situation unequivocally demonstrates its commitment to resolving the issue with the government transparently and cooperatively.

Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa; were detained by the Nigerian authorities on February 28.

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Although Anjarwalla escaped from the custody of the office of the national security adviser (ONSA), both executives, alongside Binance, were charged by the federal government for tax evasion and money laundering.

On March 25, FIRS filed a criminal charge against Binance for “tax evasion”.

According to the service, the move was to uphold fiscal responsibility and safeguard the economic integrity of the country.

The lawsuit, designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, was said to “implicate Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation”.

On May 17, the FIRS filed an amended four-count charge against Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Gambaryan, on alleged tax evasion.

The matter drew the attention of lawmakers in the United States who accused the Nigerian government of taking Gambaryan, “hostage”.

In response, the federal government said due processes were being applied in the ongoing trial of Binance.

Source: TheCable

 

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Investing in Davido coin high risk – SEC

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Investing In Davido Coin High Risk – SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned that investing in meme coins, including $davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full…

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned that investing in meme coins, including $davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risks.

The commission, in a circular dated June 14, 2024, said its attention had been drawn to a meme coin known as “$davido” allegedly linked to the popular Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke, aka Davido.

According to the circular, “Generally, meme coins are cryptocurrencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as a fun, light-hearted cryptocurrencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements.”

The SEC further stated that meme coins are also not intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

SEC, therefore, advised the general public that meme coins lacked fundamental value and were purely speculative.

“Capital Market Operators are by this notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism”.

It also emphasised that the commission does not recognise $davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronise it, did so at their peril.

READ ALSO  Tax evasion: Court discharges Binance executive as FG amends charges

Source: DailyTrust

 

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FG directs NSCDC to take over protection of transmission lines

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NSCDC destroys massive illegal refinery field in Rivers

The federal government has ordered the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to take over the protection of transmission lines and towers across the nation.

The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunjo-Ojo, gave the order yesterday during the passing-out parade of the second batch of mining marshals of NSCDC in Abuja, decrying that: “It is not acceptable for a country to spend billions on power infrastructure for it to be vandalised.”

The minister, while expressing deep concern over the constant vandalism of transmission lines, towers and transformers, described the repeated vandalism of critical national assets as economic sabotage which must be nipped in the bud.
Tunji-Ojo added that: “I will speak with my brother, the Minister of Power, about the rate of vandalism, the rate of destruction of our critical infrastructure in the sector and a lot of sabotage going on with our transmission lines, our generation points and all the rest has to be looked into.

“It is your job to make sure that no critical asset of government is destroyed and we are ready and I believe NSCDC is up to the task.

“The next time I come here, I want to see my Power Rangers, I mean people that will protect our distribution lines, people that will protect our Gencos and people that will protect every power sector. It’s not reasonable, it’s not acceptable for a country like Nigeria to spend billions of dollars on power infrastructure all for it to be vandalised. No country grows or develops without the power sector, so NSCDC it is time for you to play your part.

READ ALSO  FG directs NSCDC to take over protection of transmission lines

“In terms of the power sector we will take this sector by sector. I have decided that the solution towards you accomplishing your mandate is sectorisation of your responsibility.”

Tunji-Ojo also assured Nigerians that the country would do everything it takes to win the war against illegal miners.
He said: “Today, I can tell you the revenue from the solid mineral sector is not where it used to be, it has improved. The security in terms of our mines has improved and of course Nigeria is a big country. Therefore, we need to train more, we need to deploy more personnel to make sure that all our mines and all critical assets of Nigeria are well protected.

“We have seen that there is no solution to our problems that Nigerians cannot prefer. Yes, we’ve not yet won the war but we know we will win the war.”

On his part, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, acknowledged that the revenue in the mineral sector has improved after the introduction of NSCDC Mining Marshals.

Alake, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Mary Ogbe, however warned miners to formalise their operations or face the law.

He said that the illegal operations of the miners have continued to cause land degradation.

In his remarks, the Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Audi, lamented that the nation’s security especially the mining sector is being threatened by the nefarious activities of illegal miners, bandits, kidnappers, terrorists, among others, noting that this has led to a major setback in the development of the country’s otherwise very lucrative mining sector that is very critical to the country’s socio-economic development.

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Audi said, “There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is blessed with abundance of mineral resources which if properly tapped and managed, could significantly boost Nigeria’s revenue base which represents another giant stride towards stabilising the economy.”

He noted that adequate security measures towards strengthening security and safeguarding our collective patrimony needs to be put in place, while insisting that there is need for a robust policy guideline backed by legislation, for robust regulatory measures to combat and criminalise illegal mining.

The CG explained that this measure will no doubt attract and encourage genuine investors, both indigenous and foreign to the mining industry.

On the new mining marshals, he said: “I am of the firm belief that this intensive training has sufficiently equipped the participants with the requisite skills and knowledge to discharge their duties diligently and professionally. Let me at this juncture remind today’s graduands of the expectations of government and to charge you all to maintain a high sense of professionalism, integrity, discipline, civility, humility, and level headedness and to ensure that knowledge gained in the course of the training is effectively utilised to fortify security at all mining sites across the country.

“You are also expected to imbibe the spirit of patriotism, absolute loyalty and to eschew acts or unethical conduct capable of dragging the image of the Corps in the mud as anyone found wanting will be appropriately sanctioned. Furthermore, you are to shun any act of unhealthy rivalry with other Security Agencies but rather regard yourselves as partners in the wheel of progress and development of this great Nation.”

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Source: Thisday

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