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Nigeria Customs Seek Return Of Import Tax On Petroleum Products

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Nigeria Customs Service is seeking the reintroduction of import tax on petroleum products.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali, said this at the 2020 budget defense before the House of Representatives Committee on Customs.

The Federal Government in 2004 suspended the tax on imported petroleum products.

Before the suspension, a tax of N1.50 per liter of any petroleum product was paid by importers of fuel.

Speaking on the development, Ali said it had become imperative to reintroduce the tax regime in line with global best practices.

He noted that currently, the same type of tax was being implemented in about 36 countries at an average of $2.24 per gallon.

He said, “The petroleum tax regime of 2004 before its suspension imposed N1.50 per liter. It is the considered opinion of the Service that this regime is reintroduced in line with international best practices as it’s currently operational in over 36 countries at an average of $2.24 per gallon.”

The Customs boss also stated that he had forwarded a proposal for a downward review of vehicle tariff to the Finance Ministry for consideration.

He said the service was proposing that Customs duty on imported vehicles should remain 35 percent while the levy is reduced from the current 35 percent to between five and 10 percent.

According to him, the proposal, if approved, will encourage compliance and boost revenue as the 70 percent import duty and the levy is encouraging smuggling of vehicles

On the issue of a porous border, Ali said Nigeria has about 4,070km of land, adding that in the dry season, the entire part of the North is usually accessible by road.

He said the service was currently working with the Nigerian Air Force on the deployment of geospatial technology so as to check the trend.

He added, “That is why you see motorcycles ferrying rice every now and then as shown in some videos. That is why we want to leverage technology to deal with it. Mr President has already approved e-Customs.

“We’re working with the air force on geospatial technology that will be deployed. Our officers are being trained by the air force. They will work to make the borders secure. Part of the ongoing drill is to develop an action plan and we’re making progress.”

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COVID-19: Be Friendly In Enforcing Lockdown, Sanwo-Olu Charges Security Operatives; As Lagos CP Promises To Be Civil

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has charged security agents to be friendly in enforcing the lockdown order announced on Sunday by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Governor called for high professionalism on the part of the enforcement team in dealing with erring persons, cautioning that high-handedness may lead to violation of human rights of residents.

Sanwo-Olu gave the charge on Monday in a discussion with commanders of all security formations in the State during a Security Council meeting held at the State House in Marina.

President Buhari had announced 14-day cessation of movement in Lagos, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ogun State as part of the steps to break the cycle of the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. Lagos is the worst hit among the three states locked down by the Federal Government.

Briefing the press after the meeting, Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, who spoke on behalf the Council, said the presidential directive would be fully implemented, stressing that commanders of each security agency had resolved to comply with the Governor’s entreaty.

He said the enforcement of the restriction order would be executed with a human face, but pleaded with residents and inter-state commuters to exercise self-compliance with the presidential directive.

He said: “We have just concluded a Security Council meeting with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and as commanders of security agencies in Lagos, we have fully digested the presidential directive on COVID-19. We have all resolved now to comply and enforce all the restrictions.

“The enforcement of the restrictions and all directives will be done with a human face. We want to appeal to members of the public; what matters most is self compliant. They must try as much as possible to comply voluntarily to the laid down-regulations so that we can collectively defeat the pandemic.”

The Lagos police boss said those who had been exempted in the presidential directive would be allowed to move unhindered at any time of the day in the containment period, but added that the exemption was not blanket.

Odumosu said some other professionals and government officials on essential duties would be allowed to move, but said their leadership must obtain clearance from security agencies before sending out staff to work.

He said: “The exemption is not blanket. Some other measurements will still be attached to it and sent to various government ministries in the state. The Commissioners in charge of these ministries will have a review and confirm those who are exempted are actually qualified to be exempted.”

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Electricity Tariff To Increase On Wednesday April 1st Amidst National Lockdown

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Nigerians will from Wednesday, April 1, 2020, pay more for electricity, The PUNCH Newspaper is reporting.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had disclosed this in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020.

It was learnt that the decision to increase tariff had not yet been suspended despite the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A top source at Ikeja Electric told The PUNCH that the firm had not received any directive from NERC as regards the reversal of the plan.

He said, “According to the tariff order for the year, we are supposed to increase on April 1, 2020. So far, we have not received any directive not to go ahead.”

Efforts to get NERC to speak on the matter were not successful on Monday as the spokesman for the commission, Usman Arabi, said he was not around but on a course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.

Arabi’s substitute, however, did not respond to calls or a text message sent to him.

NERC had disclosed in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 that the order was issued to reflect the impact of changes in the minor review variables in the determination of cost-reflective tariffs and relevant tariff and market shortfalls for 2019 and 2020.

The commission said the order also determined the minimum remittances payable by the distribution companies in meeting their market obligations based on the allowed tariffs.

It said, “The Federal Government’s updated Power Sector Recovery Programme does not envisage an immediate increase in end-user tariffs until April 1, 2020, and a transition to full cost reflectivity by end of 2021.

“In the interim, the Federal Government has committed to funding the revenue gap arising from the difference between cost-reflective tariffs determined by the commission and the actual end-user tariffs payable by customers.”

According to NERC, all Discos are obligated to settle their market invoices in full as adjusted and netted off by applicable tariff shortfall.

It said, “All FGN intervention from the financing plan of the PSRP for funding tariff shortfall shall be applied through NBET and the market operator to ensure 100 percent settlement of invoices issued by market participants.

“Effectively, this order places a freeze on the tariffs of the TCN and administrative charges until April 2020 at the rates applied in generating MO invoices for the period of January to October 2019.”

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Egungun Be Careful!!! Masquerade Arrested For Defying Social Distancing Order, Threatening Cops In Ogun

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The Ogun State Police Command said it had arrested a masquerader for allegedly violating the federal and state governments’ directives on social distancing and public gatherings in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.

The masquerader was said to have been apprehended after he allegedly confronted some policemen and threatened to deal with them if they insisted on dispersing his followers.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed these on Monday.

Oyeyemi said the masquerader was apprehended on Sunday in the Ijeja area of Abeokuta following a complaint by members of the public that some persons had gathered in their hundreds in the area.

The PPRO added that the gathering was to celebrate the traditional masquerader festival in the area.

He said the gathering created fear of a massive spread of the virus in the minds of residents of the area.

Oyeyemi stated, “Upon the report, policemen from the Ibara Division moved to the area and warned the people to disperse, but the masquerader confronted the policemen and threatened to deal with them if they insisted on dispersing his followers.

“The masquerader was subsequently arrested and taken to the station, where he was warned to be law-abiding before he was released to a reliable surety.”

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