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Import Waivers: FG Loses N4.6tr in Two Years

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About N4.6 trillion was lost by the Federal Government to the waivers that were granted to importers in 2017 and 2018, it was learnt.

The loss was incurred  through the Finance Ministry due to non-implementation of the Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) project.

To stop the trend, the ministry approached the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) for assistance.

The ICRC yesterday issued the Full Business Case Certificate of Compliance for the Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) waiver to check further revenue loss.

In a statement by her Special Adviser on Media & Communications, Paul Ella Abechi, Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, commended the ICRC Director-General for expediting action on the project.

She urged officials of her ministry staff to “take full advantage of the IDEC portal and put it into full use to enable the Federal Government get full value for its revenues.”

The Full Business Case Compliance Certificate is for the Development, Deployment and Management of Automated Customs Gateway Portal for IDEC under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with Forecore Technology Solution Limited, as the preferred partner to Develop, Deploy, Manage and Transfer for a 10-year concession period.

Mrs. Ahmed lamented that government has “been experiencing significant drain in revenues due to the inability to adequately control the IDEC processes. It is really a good time for me that this project that I was really particular about since I came is coming to operation.”

Calling for the full implementation of the project, she noted: “the Ministry of Finance will have to get the approval of the Federal Executive Council before the Public Private Partnership (PPP) of the project will take full course.

“The portal will help us control, track and monitor the IDEC that we issue, but also to monitor the performance of the companies that we give this IDEC to and we will also be able to interface the IDEC system with the Nigeria Customs Service.”

The ICRC Director-General, Chidi Izuwah, described the IDEC as a laudable project that could be of great and urgent importance to enable the country cut the huge revenue loses to the tune of over N2 trillion due to manual processes.

Izuwah said: “The statement in the minister’s 12th June, 2018 letter that the non-implementation of this project caused a revenue loss of N2.5 trillion in 2017 and N2.1 trillion in 2018, we considered this a national revenue emergency and we gave it the needed attention and turned it around very quickly.”

Izuwah further noted that the ministry of Finance under Section 12 of the ICRC Act, is required to diligently supervise this project and ensue that government realises full value, the interest of government protected and it reap the full benefits of the project.

He added that on the other hand, the ICRC, under Section 10 of its Act, has a mandate to collaborate with the ministry and regularly inspect the project and ensure compliance by the public and the private institutions.

He also appealed to the minister to help the Commission and the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) to finalise on its discussion concerning the Special Concession Account, which according to him, would be a huge opportunity to increase the revenue that is available to the government and block leakages.

The minister in her response, promised to meet with the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties and the Accountant-General of the Federation “to make sure that the account is not only put in place but put to full use.”

The Nation

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Business

Price of Cooking Gas Hits N7,000 As NLNG Rues Poor Facilities

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The management of the Nigeria LNG Limited has said that marketers do not have enough infrastructure to take up its Liquefied Petroleum Gas supply.

In an earlier PUNCH report, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association had said that the major cause of the rising cost of cooking gas was lack of adequate supply.

The marketers claimed that foreign investors underestimated demand in the Nigerian market resulting in marketers venturing into importation of the product.

They advocated that the government should let NLNG supply more gas to the market to reduce the costs.

Reports from consumers revealed that the cost of refilling a 12.5-kilogramme cylinder of LPG had risen to as high as N7000 in some states.

The marketers had also urged the government to remove cooking gas from the list of commodities subject to the payment of value added tax.

The marketing manager of NLNG, Austin Ogbogbo, in a response to the claim made by the IPMAN said that the marketers did not have enough infrastructure to take up the gas the company supplied.

He said, “NLNG has grown its capacity from 50,000 metric tonnes per annum to 450,000 metric tonnes per annum of LPG in the past 14 years.

“Nigeria needs 1.2 million metric tonnes per annum, but even the 450,000 we produce cannot be absorbed by the market’s current infrastructure.

“We only operate in the midstream sub sector of the industry so we are only responsible for supplying to the market.

“The downstream players are responsible for the distribution to the end users, and also building the infrastructure to ensure it is done efficiently. It is out of our scope.”

He assured the public that the company would grow its LPG capacity if it confirmed that distributors could take up additional supply.

The Punch

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FirstBank Expands International Money Transfer Network, Reinforces Commitment to Customer Service

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In furtherance of the need to expand diaspora remittance inflow into the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has increased its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), targeted at easing the accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner. With over 750 branches across the country, customers can receive money from the nearest FirstBank branch closest to them.

Over the years, FirstBank has been in partnership with Western UnionMoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs which include Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflow into the country, thereby putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the world.

Beneficiaries can receive remittance in US dollars in any of our over 750 branches spread across the country. Customers without an existing domiciliary account can have dollar account automatically created for their remittances. You can also receive inflow directly into your account through Western Union.

In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the Bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said “at FirstBank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are, across the world.”

FirstBank pioneered international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago and has been at the forefront of promoting cross border payments in the country, having started the journey with Western Union Money Transfer. The Bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.

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Unity Bank Collaborate to Fund N15.5bn Equipment for Julius Berger

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Unity Bank Plc, in company of other banks has facilitated a credit facility of N15.5bn for the acquisition of trucks and equipment to Julius Berger Plc.

The group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SCOA Nigeria Plc, Dr Massad Boulos, has appreciated the gesture.

A statement from SCOA said that SCOA presented 33 MAN platform trucks and equipment to Julius Berger to be deployed for the construction of the 380 kilometre Abuja-Kaduna-Kano roads.

The banks that funded the acquisition were Unity Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, Providus Bank Limited, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Union Bank Plc and Coronation Merchant Bank Limited.

Boulos said, “I commend Unity Bank, their MD and the members of the executive management; and the entire team of banks who have worked closely with us on this project.”

Mr Ralph Brendicke, the representative of the MD of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, said the trucks and other equipment would help the company expand its field capacity and increase the speed of execution leading to timely completion of the highly anticipated project.

The MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun, represented by the Directorate Head, Lagos and South West Zone, Mr Wale Ogunride, was quoted as saying, “We looked at the strategic importance of this project and how such infrastructure could contribute to stimulating economic activity and decided that Unity Bank must play its part.

“Unity Bank will continue to provide support to such projects as we have been doing in other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture.”

In a separate statement, the Executive Director of Wema Bank, Mr Oluwole Ajimisinmi, was quoted as saying that his bank was delighted to be one of the institutions to support SCOA in the project.

He also encouraged and solicited for more local content in order to create more jobs.

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