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Economy & Politics

How reforms by the Nigeria Customs are aiding e-commerce

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e-Commerce in Nigeria, Nigeria Customs

At the just concluded Ease of Doing Business Forum in Lagos, which was attended by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade, and Investment, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and senior representatives from ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), the Deputy Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Service, Mr Anthony Ayalogu, spoke with Nairametrics about the technology upgrade which the agency had embraced in order to make the process of imports for the private sector easier.

The Upgrade 

Ayalogu stated that the service began its IT upgrade last year, moving from ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) to NCIS 2 (Nigeria Customs Integrated System), which is internet-based. 

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ASYCUDA was an intranet-based system whereby you could only communicate with the Customs systems when you are within the customs region. Communication was also limited to banks and some other agencies like SON (Standards Organization of Nigeria) and NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control). 

NCIS 2 is now an internet-based platform that will allow anybody in any place in the world that has an internet connection to connect to customers after going through certain processes with us. 

Impact on e-commerce  

The new system has had a positive impact on e-commerce as people can now bring consignments to Nigeria from marketplaces outside the country. This they are able to do after completing the processes online.

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According to him

“Many e-commerce markets are now connected to the Nigerian Customs service and are able to carry out these processes online. Before now, they could not do them. Business people in the private sector outside the country who need to import goods into Nigeria do not need to complete all these processes in Nigeria. They can complete them before the arrival of the goods. This will enable the goods to move faster from the Ports.”

Short term goals 

The Deputy Controller also stated the service was looking at lowering the turn around time even further by the end of the year.

“It is evolving to the point where you can also complete all the processes and even release the goods from the Port. With certain goods, you don’t need to do an examination. You just need a good VIN. With that, you can pay your duty and deliver your goods without intervention from Customs. This is where we are gearing to, and we intend to do so by the end of this year.”

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Economy & Politics

INEC to introduce election results viewing portal

INEC says the policy would be tested at the Nasarawa State Constituency Bye-Election.

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INEC to introduce election results viewing portal, INEC headquarters gutted by fire

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the introduction of a dedicated public portal called the INEC Result Viewing (IreV), which would enable Nigerians to view real-time results in polling stations.

This was announced Thursday evening in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, INEC’s Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee.

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“ The Commission is aware that result management has remained a major source of mistrust in our electoral process. INEC is determined to address any source of this concern through enhancing the level of transparency in the conduct of elections,” INEC said.

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READ ALSO: Buhari orders payment of stranded NDDC scholarship students, commission gives reason for delay

INEC also said that it is an important principle for votes during elections to be correctly counted. This new initiative is a major step towards achieving that goal. However, INEC said this does not constitute electronic collation of votes just yet. Instead, “the collation of election results shall remain as provided for by law, a manual process of completion.”

IreV would be tested during the Nasarawa State Constituency Bye-Election scheduled for August 8th, INEC said.

READ MORE: 4.48 million beneficiaries apply for N-Power jobs in 16 days

Concerned Nigerians are advised to visit inecresults.com, create an account, and fill in their details which will lead them to the portal to oversee the collation of votes.

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Economy & Politics

Chinese Loans: Clauses are international standard terms – Amaechi

The probes into Nigeria’s use of foreign loans could negatively affect how foreign lenders perceive the country.

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Nigeria Air, FG states why there is no hurry to resume train operation, Lagos blue rail line ready 2022 , Chinese Loans: Clauses are international standard terms - Amaechi

Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said the clauses contained in Nigeria’s Chinese loans for infrastructural development are standard international commitment clauses. In other words, such are regular, applicable clauses whenever a country goes into a trade agreement with another country.

The Minister revealed this while on Channels Television’s evening political talk show, Politics Today.

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Back story: The Nigerian Senate called a hearing last week, asking the Minister to explain the clauses on Chinese-funded infrastructure projects in Nigeria. Instead, the Minister argued that the probe into Nigeria’s use of foreign loans to finance infrastructure projects could negatively affect how foreign lenders perceive the country and also impact further financing for future projects.

(READ MORE: China more willing to restructure Africa’s debt than private creditors)

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Later during his recent Channels TV interview, the Minister said Nigeria is not Madagascar or Sri Lanka and has been keeping up with payment plans for the loan. “ No country has complained about Nigeria’s loan obligations,” Amaechi said.

Although he acknowledged Nigeria has debt over revenue problems, he made it clear that “that does not mean we have at any point in time refused to pay our loans.”

Amaechi then claimed that only a criminally-minded person would have issues with the loan terms. “Only those who don’t want to repay are worried about the clauses. If we repay our loans we won’t get arbitration,” he said.

The Minister also disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has repaid up to $98 million of the loans, adding, “those are standard international commitment clauses” and that no loan can be taken by the government without the approval of the National assembly.

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Economy & Politics

NDDC reveals more lists of contracts awarded to federal legislators

The Commission said it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly.

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NDDC corruption probe: Commission denies spending N81.5 billion in 6 months 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said there is another list of emergency contracts that were awarded to National Assembly members in 2017 and 2019. This list was not submitted to National Assembly following the recent probe of the NDDC.

This disclosure was made in a press statement by the NDDC earlier today which was signed by the commission’s Director for Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili. According to the statement, the initial list that was submitted by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was actually compiled by the former management of the commission in 2018, not the minister himself.

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The statement by the NDDC went further to note that the Interim Management Committee of the Commission stands by the list which came from the files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors. It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” the statement said in parts.

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READ MORE: 2021 Budget: FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion

In the meantime, the NDDC has urged prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta, whose names appeared on that list, not to panic, because the NDDC is aware that their names were used to secure contracts. The ongoing forensic audit would help to unearth those behind those contracts, the NDDC said in the statement.

Furthermore, the commission disclosed that it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the NDDC, some of which were never executed. Interestingly, the list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts that were signed for and collected in one day by one person, ostensibly for members of the National Assembly.

While assuring that the forensic audit exercise is on course, the NDDC noted that the commission had positioned 185 media support specialists to identify the sites of every project captured in its books for verification by the forensic auditors.

READ MORE: NDDC Probe: Akpabio accuses NASS members of getting most of the commission’s contracts

The NDDC then enjoined members of the public not to be distracted or swayed by a lot of misinformation and falsehood that are being orchestrated by mischief makers, even as more of such will be expected by those opposed to the IMC.

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It can be recalled that Akpabio, while appearing before the members of the house of representatives ad-hoc committee probing the N40 billion corruption allegation against the IMC of NDDC, said that most of the contracts that are being awarded at the commission were given to members of the national assembly.

READ ALSO: Akpabio denies accusing Reps of receiving 60% of NDDC contracts

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Not that likely, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the minister to provide within 48 hours, the names of the legislators that benefitted from such contracts with full details or face legal action.

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Senator Akpabio, in response to the ultimatum, sent an official letter to the Speaker, providing the names of the national assembly members that benefitted from such contracts.

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