***kicks against implementation of ICTN through fraudulent means
**Says there was no competitive bidding
Federal Government does not need to continue to go cap in hand begging to borrow money from one major institution to the other if it’s maritime resources can be properly harnessed, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Democratic Rights (caser), has said.
The group said president Muhammadu Buhari led administration, is hard-hit by financial crunch, making it to resort to a borrowing spree to execute most of its programs because of its failure to harness the resources at the ports.
The group indicated that only recently the House of Representatives just granted an approval to the president to borrow more billions of dollars whereas Nigeria is blessed, Nigeria is gifted naturally with maritime resources that can generate billions of Dollars annually using the ports.
Caser gave the indication at a press conference in Abuja recently while kicking against the current attempts to implement the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) in Nigeria and domiciling its management and operations in the Nigerian Shippers Council.
The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) had earlier denounced the move by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to award the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) contract to a healthcare company, MedTech Scientific Limited, in partnership with Rozi International Nigeria Limited, a property development company.
The procurement agency described the process as embarrassing and illegal, adding that the contract was awarded in clear breach of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
It was learnt that Rotimi Amaechi relied on anticipatory approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to award the said contract, emphasizing national security and economic benefits.
Continuing Caser said the effort is driven only by the corrupt enrichment of a few persons who have mastered the art of deliberate manipulation of government processes for personal gains.
The executive Director and Lead Advocate of Citizens’ Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) Frank Tietie said they want the appointment to be terminated because they are being used as puppets to shortchange the interest of Nigeria and the Federal Government.
He said there was no competitive bidding in the process that brought on board incompetent managers for the all important ICTN
“We concur with the published reports that the anticipated approval by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for the Nigerian Shippers Council to appoint an agent for the implementation of the ICTN in Nigeria was based on highly criminal misrepresentation by the Honourable Minister of Transportation.
Tietie expressed the belief that the transportation minister was a victim of some desperate local and international con men within the maritime sector
“We maintain in the public interest, that such nefarious malfeasance in public procurement must not be allowed or else, there will be another fiasco of the failed implementation of the ICTN as it was in 2011 when million of Dollars accruing to Nigeria were highjacked. He said it will again open a floodgate of revenue loss to the Federal Government through the inaccurate value of imports and exports together with a highly compromised security of international cargo in Nigerian seaports.
Speaking further rhetorically he asked, But can the Honourable Minister of Transportation really claim that he is a victim of public service deceit when he is in fact at the centre of the present malfeasance?
On what is their interest in the matter, he said,
“What we are saying is that the issue of ICTN is too much of a critical importance to the security of Nigeria, again it is also important to the revenue generation of Nigeria.
However, he said because of the under declaration of Cargo values at the port of origin the country had always suffered heavily bleeding as a country in terms of loss of revenue, lost of port charges, port revenue and freight charges, because of under declaration.
“What ICTN does is that there is correct description, correct measurement of value at the port of origin matching with the same information at the port of destination so there cannot be cheating.
“The measurement, the weight, the kind of cargo you are shipping to Nigeria, you cannot as a port inspector be compromised, being paid a few millions of Naira for you to lie, in the manifest that they are not guns but spare parts in order to under value the goods so that the tax payable to Nigeria would become small.
“The reason ICTN has not worked in Nigeria is because we had always engaged incompetent companies TPMS is not only incompetent but they also defrauded Nigeria.
“As we speak millions of Euros accruing to Nigeria are held by TPMS because it collected on behalf of Nigeria and it has not remitted them
Nobody is asking questions, EFCC agreed that it is only €3 but the information available to us is that it is much more than that almost €40m acruable to Nigeria, collected by TPMS on behalf of Nigeria using ICTN they did not remit.
Meanwhile it turned out that TPMS does not have the competence for managing the import and export of cargo into Nigeria. What we are saying is let the appointment process be opened.
“If President Buhari at a time had directed according to section 40 of the Public procurement act that there should be international competitive bidding so be it.
“Ameachi cannot as minister of transportation waive off the directives of the President, go back and deceive the President that there are only two competent companies, only for the President to make approval and for the companies to now turn around that they don’t have the competence anymore but that there is a company in UK called Freedmark that have the competence only for us to discover Freedmark UK does not exist, they now say it is Fredmark Italy,and that is a company known for malfeasance across Africa.
“What we are asking for is that there should be opened international Competitive bidding so that the best company that does have a portal to run ICTN be appointed.”
AfCTA: Marine and Blue Economy minister delighted as NPA hosts West, Central African Ports in Nigeria
The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has expressed delight in the prospects of the hosting right conferred on the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) for the 43rd Annual Council and 18th Managing Directors’ Roundtable by the Port Management Association of West & Central Africa (PMAWCA).
The NPA won the hosting right in recognition of the remarkable improvements it demonstrated in advancing the frontiers of trade facilitation.
The gathering of 24 littoral African countries scheduled to hold from November 6 to 9 at the Lagos Continental Hotel Victoria Island Lagos is expected to be declared open by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Council has as theme: “The Role of Ports in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The annual council provides a platform for the cross-fertilisation of ideas, experiences and knowledge sharing to guide necessary policy action towards maximizing the maritime comparative advantage of the sub-region.
Speaking on Nigeria’s preparedness and expectations from the conference, the Minister said, “This gathering of maritime experts is very timely as it is coming when Nigeria is eager to provide the leadership necessary to convert our marine and blue economy potentials to actualities in a bid to provide opportunities for our growing youth population.”
He added that, “to demonstrate the premium we place on maximizing the emerging opportunities of AfCFTA which is the focal point of the conference, we have given the Nigerian Ports Authority all the support necessary for a flawless hosting.”
Responding during a media chat preparatory to the occasion at the NPA Headquarters in Marina, Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, mentioned that, “our confidence in hosting this conference is in demonstration of our readiness to provide regional leadership in ports competitiveness and is inspired by the uncommon trade facilitation orientation of Mr. President who is already endorsing some of our initiatives for the maximization of our littoral assets under the auspices of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.”
DG ACCI commends Dangote group for scaling up volume of Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange
By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
The Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Mrs. Victoria Akwai, has commended Dangote Group of Companies for helping to scale up the volume of foreign exchange through export of his products.
Mrs Akwai who gave the commendation in his speech delivered at the Special Day of the Dangote Group at the ongoing 18th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) said exports of the company’s’ products such as Fertilizer, Cement to other countries has boosted Nigeria’s foreign reserve.
She identified Dangote Group of Companies as one of Nigeria’s biggest earners of Foreign Exchange thereby contributing to the growth and development of the country’s economy.
According to her “This year’s Trade Fair looked at the issue of Made in Nigeria, and we are proud that the Dangote Group is the champion of Made in Nigeria products”.
She commended the Dangote Group for the sponsorship of the 18th Trade Fair, which has as its theme: “Sustainable Finance and Taxation as Drivers of the New Economy.”
The Dangote Group’s Executive Director, Government and Stakeholders Relations, Mansur Ahmed, an Engineer, said the company is committed to its industrialization project in Africa.
While noting that the Dangote Group is the biggest employer of labour, he said the company’s’ President Aliko Dangote is passionate about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Philanthropy.
Mr. Ahmed commended the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government over its reform effort, and numerous steps taken to ginger the economy.
According to Mr. Ahmed the partnership with ACCI offers the company the opportunity to display its numerous innovative products while contributing its quota to the Nigerian economy through Trade Fairs and expos.
At the trade fair, the company’s pavilion became a mecca of a sort as participants trooped to catch glimpse of the several innovative products on display.
A statement by the Branding and Corporate Communications Department of the company said a special help desk has been set up at the company’s pavilion to respond to queries while urging participants to leverage on the numerous innovative products which included the: Dangote Fertiliser, Dangote Sugar, Dangote Cement, Dangote Salt, and lots more.
The Trade Fair will run between September 28 and October 9, 2023.
Economic downturn: Fasua, other experts, say, Nigeria needs home grown solutions
The Special Adviser to the Vice President, Kashim Shettima on Economic Affairs, Tope Fasua, has indicated that Nigeria has all what is needed to overcome all of its current economic challenges given the country’s abundant human and natural resources.
Fasua spoke on Thursday at a colloquium organized in his honour to mark his 52nd birthday anniversary in Abuja.
He said all that the country needs is for it to unlock its full potentials by developing its own “home grown solutions”, and taking advantage of the limitless opportunities that abound in the country to address its needs especially in the short run.
“All I see are Opportunities for development. I do not like to see the economy from the position of its challenges. I see only opportunities and prospects. This economy has not even started yet, hopefully it will start to grow with this administration
Speaking further, he advised that while the country steps up its fight against corruption, the country must not lose sight of the need to grow its economy, pointing out that this can be better achieved by looking more inwardly instead of relying on foreign interventions.
He said Nigeria can start by ramping up production which will then attract more Foreign investment Investments and ultimately create job opportunities, rake in foreign exchange and strengthen the Naira.
Speaking to Journalists on the sidelines, Director General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dasuki Arabi shared similar sentiments with Fasua on the need for government to look inward for answers to Nigeria’s economic challenges.
He noted that President Bola Tinubu had in his inaugural speech set the pace with a clear roadmap towards economic recovery and that with people like Fasua having opportunity to work closely with him, Nigeria will in no time bounce back.
“We are happy he has a place in this government, as I said it we cannot get outsiders to do it for us it has to be a home grown solution to the problem that we are facing and we have a president that is giving people the space to address the challenges and problems facing this country.
“If you look at his inaugural speech he spoke about value addition improvement in foreign exchange earnings
“Most especially that message of saying use what we produce what we eat that will reduce our demand for foreign dependency on import and we look inwards to solving our problem.”
In his goodwill message, former Director General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside said the major ingredient needed to jumpstart the Nigerian economy is quality leadership which he said is embodied in the current administration.
Five books authored by Tope Fasua were also presented at the intellectual discourse with many of them providing answers to Nigeria’s economic challenges.
The event had in attendance a crème of other prominent economic experts and policy matters.
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