Posts tagged as: trade

Meet Mukayiranga, Rusizi’s Inspirational Fisherwoman

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/New Times

Claudine Mukayiranga on Lake Kivu to check on her nets.

opinionBy Peterson Tumwebaze

As the sun slowly goes down over the hills of Rusizi District, Claudine Mukayiranga and her crew are busy checking their fishing gear in readiness for expedition on Lake Kivu. This is a daily routine the fisher woman goes through as she prepares for a night out on the high waters to catch fish for the following day’s supply to customers. Mukayiranga has been fishing on Lake Kivu for more than two decades.

“I am able to face any challenges and dangers on the lake because I am passionate about fishing. This is what gives me the courage to get my gear and spend hours on the lake looking for fish every day,” she says.

It’s from fishing that the business woman is able to look after her family and also put aside some savings to cater for any emergencies in the future.

Starting out

The mother of four surprised many when she chose to join fishing that was previously thought to be an activity for men. That was over 20 years ago, after Mukayiranga lost her husband who was a fisherman.

Left with no one to care for the family, she decided to brave the cold nights on the lake as the family’s wellbeing depended solely on fishing. The resident of Nkombo Island was well aware that she had no other choice but following in her deceased husband’s footsteps to earn a living and escape poverty.

The fisher sets the fishing nets at night fall and wakes up at 5.00am to check on catch.

“It is a daunting task… Sometimes I stay awake and worried throughout the night because this vocation is unpredictable,” Mukayiranga narrates as she shares her experience with Business Times.

She ignored the advice of those that tried to dissuade her from becoming a fisherwoman. “Many people, especially women, were surprised by my decision because they never imagined a woman doing this kind of work,” she adds.

“It is difficult, but I had to tap into the opportunities offered by the lake to survive.

All I needed was confidence and courage. Besides, fishing is like any other business and a source of livelihood,” she says.

In addition, it does not require a lot of start-up capital. She also took advantage of the gear left by her late husband and support from her husband’s friend, who taught and guided her during the initial stages. “He was ready to show me the ‘tricks’ of the trade and how best to conduct the business, which gave me more confidence as time went on,” Mukayiranga explained.

Market

Mukayiranga sells most of her catch to residents of Rusizi, while some fish is taken to Bukavu in the DR Congo. She has been able to give her family a decent life, thanks to returns from fishing.

She sells silver fish and other types, earning about Rwf500,000 per month.

Challenges

Competition is one of the main challenges Mukayiranga faces. She is also worried by the dwindling fish stocks and use of illegal fishing gears by unscrupulous fishermen. Climate change is also having a toll on the sector as the lake recedes, which affects breeding grounds and fish multiplication, leading to low stocks.

More so, pollution of the water by foreign materials, including excessive erosion, and farming on the lake shores are threatening the survival of fish and could deplete the current small stocks.

She called for promotion of fish farming, saying there is need to motivate and encourage investors to embrace aquaculture to ease pressure on the lake and ensure sustainable production of fish in the country. There is also need to introduce more fish species to achieve these goals and support the sector’s growth, she adds.

Mukayiranga called for stringent regulations to deal with unscrupulous fishers who use illegal gears that catch even immature fish.

Achievements

Mukayiranga has no regrets for risking her life on the lake. She has been able to give her children a decent life and send them to good schools, thanks to fishing.

“I have also managed to construct a permanent house for my family using savings from fishing.”

She started with only one fishing boat, but now owns six boats. “This has increased my capacity to catch more fish and improve sales besides providing employment opportunities to more residents,” she noted.

Advice

Mukayiranga advises the fishing community to work responsibly, saying that there is need to understand that without fish their means of livelihood will be threatened.

“That’s why everyone should use recommended fishing methods and gears to safeguard the fish and ensure normal reproduction process in the lake,” she says.

She urges fishing communities to join cooperatives arguing that it is easy to access training and government support in groups. The government should prioritise fish farming to reduce pressure on lakes, she adds.

Future plans

Mukayiranga’s dream is to establish a fish farming project to increase her income and contribute to efforts geared at making the sector more productive and sustainable.

Nigeria: Busari – We’re Targeting Increased Sugar Production

interviewBy Jonathan Eze

Dr. Latif Demola Busari is the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, a body responsible for the regulation of all activities in the sugar industry. He spoke to Jonathan Eze on the industry and expressed optimism that Nigeria can achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production in the near future

Recently, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said he is impressed with your activities in the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC). Please tell us some of the brilliant policies you have introduced that is capable of turning the fortunes of the nation’s sugar industries around?

I don’t think we have done too fantastic a job. I think it is just that the minister saw the commitment to achieve our mandate. So even if you haven’t gotten there, your boss or the people looking at you want to see that even though there are challenges being faced by you, but the attitude towards resolving those challenges is what impresses them and they know that if you can keep at it like that, eventually you will succeed. It is different from somebody who has similar challenges but has a nonchalant attitude towards it. Just like we are doing in Nigeria, we have challenges but our leaders are trying to find solutions and that keeps the people happy.

I have read about the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan(NSMP). What does it intend to achieve? Please shed more light on it.

The Master Plan was the road map that was adopted by the federal government in 2012 as what would lead us to the achievement of self-sufficiency in sugar.

It has four objectives: To improve the level of sugar production locally until we are able to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production; To reduce our over dependence on sugar importation; To create job for Nigerians; To generate electricity and also produce ethanol. So, through the sugar master plan, we want to target increasing sugar production. Today, Nigeria is depending on imported ethanol for all our needs. These are the four basic objectives and it is a 10 year journey. We started in 2013 and we hope that by 2023 we would reach the target of increasing sugar production.

What are the things we hope to achieve by 2023?

By then, we should be able to produce about 1.8million metric tonnes of sugar annually which is estimated to be our demand by 2020. The master plan was developed in 2010 and it took us two years to get stakeholders buying into the implementation. Without those stakeholders buying in, we wouldn’t have gotten far at all. It took us two years so that all our stakeholders would join us in the journey.

By 2023, we would have been able to produce 1.7 and 1.8million metric tonnes of sugar annually. We will be able to generate ethanol, generate about 400megawatts of electricity, create 117,000 jobs for both skilled and unskilled labour and save Nigeria about 600 million that we spend annually on sugar importation. Also, if we are able to enact a blending mandate, where you mix ethanol with gasoline to use as automotive fuel(Obasanjo started the ETM mandate) that is we mix 10 per cent of ethanol with gasoline and if you are able to do that, since we depend on imported gasoline right now, we would also save that 10 per cent. We estimated it to be about 50 million dollars. To be able to achieve all these, we would need about 250hectares of land under cultivation. We need to employ people. These are the basic key ingredients, and how do we get this done especially when government is not going to put a kobo and that’s actually the main challenge for us. We are going to depend on private sector to put their money down. So the only way we could do it is to provide some incentives that would get them to come.

Don’t forget we are dealing with a sector where if you have all your fund and technical expertise ready, they are not going to start looking for you. And if you have your land ready, it will still take about five to six years from day one that you start.

What are the challenges confronting the Council and the sugar sub-sector?

There are many challenges. For example, when you already have funds, you have the technical expertise and you have the land, it will take you five to six years that you would keep on spending money before you can see a grain of sugar come out and then you begin to sell and probably your money is most likely going to be a loan. So, you start paying back the loan so before you say this is your own money, it will be about ten years. How many investors are willing to go into that kind of sector? When you can buy federal government bonds and go to bed or you can even trade. Buy something, sell and make money so few investors want to go into that kind of sector. It is capital intensive. It has long gestation period and is fraught with agricultural risks. Because if you plant your sugarcane and flood clears it, that is the end of it for the year.

You mentioned something very fascinating about sugar being used to generate electricity. How does this work? Can you expatiate on it?

When the juice is extracted out of sugarcane, what is left is the fibre. In the industry, we call it bagas. All industries have boilers for production process. In the sugar industry, we use bagas to fire the boilers for steam generation. You need steam in most industries for most industrial processes. The difference is that in the sugar industry, that steam can be channelled or piped into steam turbines to generate electricity. They use this electricity first for their own use in the factory and on the field, whatever that’s left is now given to the people as part of the benefit that accrue to the community. They may even sell it to national grid if it is much more than they need. Every sugar industry all over the world generate electricity and depending on the quantity they produce, it is for their own use and then their communities.

The federal government has recently signed some executive bills on the Ease of Doing Business. Before now, do you think it was difficult to do business in Nigeria?

The first executive bill is about the ease of doing business and because fortunately, we are not in the business of granting approvals or licenses so people are not queuing up waiting for license. The only thing we give is quota and it is not even in our hands. It is in Mr. President’s hands. We don’t have problems like Customs or Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) would have. We are one of the revenue generating agencies and are captured under the fiscal responsibility act so executive order no four affects us in terms of government needs money and you have to bring money into the coffers. I believe that we are doing well, delivering the little services to the public. We deal with people .

Can Nigerians really produce the sugar they consume without relying on imports?

That is our major mandate. Our mandate is not with the consuming public as such. It is more with the investors that would be able to do that production and fulfill that mandate. It’s for them to tell us the projects they would be investing in. They gave us a list of projects before that we are following through. It contains some of the earlier ones too but it is just that they are recommitting them. Dangote is now going to do the expansion of savannah. He is going to have two new field projects, one in Lay and one in Tunga. They just rounded off the one in Sunti and they asked us to look for land for them because they are proposing another one. BUA too has its own in Lafiagi. So we have a total of eight projects now. So it is a mixture of the old and new and we are re-implementing them.

People are being advised to reduce sugar consumption because of the attendant health risks. Has this affected the level of sugar demand and production?

There is a lot of de-marketing for sugar. All of us are feeling it. Sugar doesn’t cause diabetes. You can confirm from medical people. It is a failure of your metabolism and when you take sugar in excess, it will aggravate it. If you have insulin that works, it will metabolise the sugar. If you don’t have sugar for a minute, you die. It is the basic unit of energy that powers our metabolism. If your brain lacks sugar for a second, you are brain dead. But of course, everything you take in excess is wrong. Basically everything you eat is sugar. For example, pounded yam, rice. All these food, the body stores it in form of sugar. They say one can of coke contains 10 cubes of sugar. There are a lot of sugars out there but we have to be moderate. However, over 82 per cent of the sugar goes to industries. Just 18 per cent is consumed by people. The industries are the major users of sugar e g the chocolate and beverage industries. If you follow everything the doctors say, you won’t eat.

The country just came out of recession, what do you think can be done to sustain the present economic progress?

Something led us into it and something must bring us out of it. If our luck stays and crude oil goes up a bit, it will be good. Our Minister of State for Trade was able to get OPEC to come down on daily production. All of us Nigerians need to ensure that the little we have is spent judiciously. When government keeps doing what it does, we will consolidate on the growth already recorded. But even when we were not in recession, we have had billionaires and other people on the lower rung of the ladder. So how do we bridge the gap to bring this people up to let them feel the impact?

Lastly, who is Latif Busari?

I am just a poor civil servant trying to do the little I can do.

Insurance Companies Raked in Shs628b in 2016 – Regulator

By Joseph Kato

Kampala — Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has revealed that the insurance industry collected Shs628b in 2016/2017 Financial Year rising from the Shs600b that was collected in 2015/2016.

Ms Mariam Nalunkuuma, the IRA communications officer, said Shs188.4b (30 per cent) was spent on claims and Shs251.2b was used to insure clients’ covers.

“Shs188.4b (30 per cent) remained in the coffers of insurance companies. The insurance did very well in terms of settling claims and we intervened in settling misunderstandings between insurers and clients,” Ms Nalunkuuma told Daily Monitor in Kampala last week.

A total of Shs200 billion was spent on clearing insurance claims in the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

This was revealed by Mr Protazio Sande, the IRA assistant director marketing and development at sports gala for insurance companies in September last year.

Mr Ivan Kilameri, the IRA statistician, explained that the trade fare was an opportunity for IRA to engage the public which he said was still ignorant about insurance products.

“Many times you find an insurance company engaged in wrangles with claimants because the claimant did not understand the cover he undertook. We mediate in such scenarios so that the two parties come to a compromise,” Mr Kilameri said.

Ms Nalunkuuma encouraged insurance companies to indemnify clients’ covers to avoid troubles that could arise when disasters doubling their net capital happen.

She encouraged underwriters to underwrite covers that are not very strenuous for instance, to avoid taking covers in billions when their capital is in millions of shillings.

“If your capital is Shs5b and you underwrite an insurance cover of Shs600b, you should be fast at insuring it because you won’t be able to get out of it when a disaster happens,” Ms Nalunkuuma added.

Meanwhile, manufacturers decried delays in full implementation of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy which they said had kept trade imbalance at $3.5b (Shs12.6 trillion).

“…Local industries need only 40 per cent of this order to transform the current situation,” said UMA board member Richard Mubiru.

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Uganda:High Interest Rates – President Museveni Turns Up Heat On Banks

Photo: The Daily Observer

Yoweri Museveni

By Ismail Musa Ladu

Kampala — The cost at which the country’s private sector borrows is not only prohibitively high but it also doesn’t make sense, according to President Yoweri Museveni.

Lashing out at commercial banks last week while officially opening the 25th Uganda International Trade Fair, President Museveni said interest charged on loans is unreasonably high, describing it as idiotic.

Just recently, Bank of Uganda (BoU) reduced the Central Bank Rate (CBR) from 10 to 9.5 per cent hoping that the move will persuade commercial banks into relaxing interest rates to allow private sector access affordable credit.

However, commercial banks have since then not responded in the way the Central Bank anticipated.

Most financial institutions continue to impose interest rates at an average of 24 per cent, leaving the private sector with no option but to shun borrowing.

This, according to Private Sector Foundation Uganda executive director Gideon Badagawa, is bad for the economy because it constrains the private sector ability to generate economic activities.

Speaking at the event organised by Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Mr Museveni said with such high cost of credit, it is unlikely that the country’s private sector will break-even.

He said: “Borrowing at the interest of 24 per cent is idiotic.”

He added: “You cannot have high cost of interest rate, then high cost of power and then say you have minister of planning. What are they planning? These ministers should come here and explain themselves to you.”

Before the President took a swipe at the commercial banks and his ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic development, the chairperson of the UMA board of directors, Ms Barbara Mulwana, pointed out several challenges manufacturers face, including the cost of borrowing.

She said: “The high cost of capital in Uganda which is about 24 per cent per annum on average compared to less than eight per cent in major competing countries continues to render Uganda’s manufacturers uncompetitive.”

She added: “The high interest rate persists in spite of the fact that the manufacturing sector having the least default rate–non performing loans within the banking sector.”

As a result of high interest rate on loan, domestic borrowing is at an all-time low of eight per cent today.

Mr Museveni pleaded with the manufacturers to bear with him on the issue of high cost of power, saying this is a matter that will be history in a short while.

The President also blamed his predecessors, particular the late Milton Obote and Idi Amin Dada for committing policy mistakes.

He said Obote’s 1970 Nakivubo pronouncement which saw government take control of 60 per cent (up from at most 51 per cent) of more than 80 corporations in Uganda was a policy mistakes that should not have happened.

He also blamed former President Idi Amin Dada for expelling the entrepreneurial class (mainly the Indians) in 1972, saying the decisions by the two former leaders explain why Uganda which was at the same level of development with South Korea is still lagging behind.

Way forward

According to President Museveni, Islamic Banking will go a long way in solving the interest rate challenge.

He said the principle of Islamic Banking which is rooted in sharing profit and losses incurred is a good idea, describing it as a more friendly finance packaging.

As for Ms Mulwana, fast tracking roll-out of Islamic Banking here will enable the diversification of the credit market as well as provide an alternative to the expensive credit her members are grappling with and also break the monopoly the local commercial banks are enjoying.

In her remarks, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde noted that security restored by the current government explains all the progress registered in the economy thus far.

“We are seeing key sector of the economy showing good growth. BUBU policy has been successful so far. We have put in place national development strategy and although we are still struggling with Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) we believe we will get there,” she said.

Zimbabwe:ICT Basic Enabler for One Stop Border Post

Photo: Faizel Slamang/GroundUp

Beitbridge border crossing (file photo).

Zimbabwe and South Africa need synchronised information communication technology systems to enable them to establish and operate an efficient One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Beitbridge, an expert has revealed. The trade expert cited ICT systems among other key factors as basic enablers for the creation of the OSBP at Beitbridge aimed at achieving seamless flow of human and vehicular traffic.

Zimbabwe and South African Governments recently stepped up efforts to fast-track longstanding plans for the operationalisation of the Beitbridge OSBP by appointing a Joint Technical Committee to develop the necessary legal framework for the project. Keynote speaker, who is also legal, trade, transport and logistics expert, Mr Francis Chirimuuta, told delegates during an awareness meeting in Harare organised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce this week that a synchronised ICT system at bilateral level, was critical for the project to succeed.

“In establishing the concept of a One Stop Border Post, we must take into account these critical elements. We will need a custom built facility, which achieves a seamless flow for users and agency officers, we need border management network where ICT and data sharing is established between the agencies of one country and also bilaterally between agencies of both countries. One of the key payoffs of the OSBP is that it reduces time, obviously it also has an impact on the course of trade if time is reduced. For instance at Chirundu in 2009 it took 120 hours to clear a truck and in 2012 it reduced to 25 hours. That was a massive improvement as it had a ripple impact on the trade inflows,” he said.

According to recent reports, the Chirundu OSBP has resulted in time saving valued at $600 000 a day and traffic increase by 65 percent, while trade flow to Zimbabwe increased from about $2,2 million to $3,1 million. Zambian Government revenue increased to $20,3 million in 2012, up from $10 million a month in 2009. A number of experts also suggested that since Beitbridge Border post was the busiest port of entry in Sub Saharan Africa, the creation of the OSBP would result in huge rewards for the two countries. The awareness meeting was attended by officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, members of the Cross Borders Association among others.

Zimbabwe

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Socialite Zari – Who Says I Dumped Diamond?

Photo: The Citizen

Bongo flava heart-throb Diamond Platnumz and the mother of his two children Zari Hassan pose for a photo.

By Thomas Matiko

Everyone thinks that showbiz power couple Diamond Platnumz and Zari Hassan have broken up after the cheating scandal that has been a story gold mine for bloggers.

Well, everyone but Diamond and Zari.

Zari the boss lady has slammed the relationship breakup rumours that have been doing rounds in the blogosphere, no doubt fuelled by her actions of deleting the lovey-dovey photos of her and Diamond on her Instagram page as well as not attending his birthday.

She did not even send him a birthday message, the blogs said.

‘Normal’ couples send each other birthday messages, right?

When Diamond confessed to cheating on Zari with video vixen Hamisa and bearing a son with her, it marked the beginning of bitter social media exchanges between the couple, leading to speculation that the two were headed for a split.

“Zari dumps Diamond!” the headlines screamed.

However, speaking for the first time about the saga away from the social media, the boss lady has confirmed that she is still together with Diamond and that all they are trying to do is take away their love life from the public eye as they work things out.

She said, in part: “… I did wish him (a happy birthday) though not publicly via the Whatsup.We’re trying to take our personal life away from social media. And the more we trying to take it away from social media the more its reaction on social media but there is nothing like that everything is fine,” Zari said in an interview with popular Tanzanian radio programme.

Their breakup news has also ignited claims that it would compromise several multimillion endorsement deals that they have signed with several companies including one identified as Gmnetic company that has raised concern.

A LITTLE ISSUE

“…There is a little bit of issue going on but there is nothing like that but we do understand the contract we have with Gmnetic company and we will continue to work as per our agreement so there is really nothing to worry about. I mean there is going to be all sorts of drama because we are two big celebrities but when it comes to endorsements we take them seriously because it is our work,” she added.

Perhaps her latest statement will give credence to the “publicity stunt” rumours’.

So, was it all for show? Time will tell.

Tanzania

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Annual Inflation Increases On Rising Food Prices

TANZANIA Annual Headline Inflation Rate has increased to 5.3 per cent in September from 5.0 per cent registered in August driven by rising prices of some food and non-food items.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Population Census and Social Statistics Director, Mr Ephraim Kwesigabo said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the change of inflation explains the increased speed of price for commodities in the month under review.

“Food and Non Alcoholic beverages inflation for the month rose to 9.3 per cent from 8.6 per cent in the preceding period,” he said. The month to month inflation rate increased by 0.02 per cent compared to a decrease of 0.4 per cent in August.

The overall index also increased to 108.48 in the month under review from 108.46 in August due to increase in price of food and non-food items.

Some food items that contributed to the increase in the overall index are dried sardines by 7.6 per cent, dried fruit like coconut by 3.1 per cent, sweet potatoes by 3.0 per cent, rice by 1.5 per cent and cooking bananas by 1.5 per cent.

The non-food items that contributed to the increase include charcoal by 4 per cent, diesel by 2.4 per cent and petrol by 0.6 per cent. The inflation rate for food consumed at home and away increased to 9.8 per cent in September from 9.1 per cent in the preceding month.

Similarly, the 12 month index change for non-food products has stagnated at 3.1 per cent in September. The annual inflation rate which excludes food and energy for the month under review slightly decreased to 1.7 per cent from 1.8 per cent in August.

The purchasing power of 100 Tanzania shilling reached 92/- 18 cents in September compared to 92/- and 20 cents in August.

Tanzania

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Tanzania: Yes, TCDF Move to Revamp Coffee Production Must Be Commended

TANZANIA Coffee Development Fund (TCDF) has announced that coffee seedlings produced by Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) will be sold at 150/- down from 300/-.

Being one of the main cash crops that bring foreign currency to the country, price reduction for coffee seedlings will help to revamp production and benefit both the government and growers. It is estimated that 265,000 hectares have both Arabica and Robusta coffee across the country.

For years, small-holder farmers have been decrying high price of coffee seedlings as one of major problems hindering production of the cash crop production in the country. As a result, farmers fail to raise production from 250 to 1,000 grammes of coffee beans per plant, as per TaCRI target.

It is obvious that TCDF move to reduce the prices will boost production and enable farmers to courageously face the remaining challenges.

Apart from high seedling prices, farmers have also been facing other challenges, including shortage of extension officers, fake pesticides and insecticides by dishonest traders.

According to TCDF Manager Jensen Natai, the move to slash price of coffee seedlings will benefit more small-holder farmers. Under this programme, small-holder farmers have been offered opportunity to buy up to 500 seedlings at 150/-.

However, farmers demanding more seedlings will have to buy at the normal price of 300/- With this move, it is obvious coffee growers across the country will benefit and probably, there will be a big boost in the area.

It is quite clear that climatic changes affect agriculture sector especially crop production. Shortages of rains and crop diseases have been major problems that impede agricultural production in the country.

The supply of hybrid coffee varieties that resist diseases at half price is a major boost to farmers and the country at large. TCDF says coffee is grown by about 450,000 households, accounting for 90 per cent of the total coffee produce.

The remaining 10 percent comes from the estates.

Indirectly coffee supports a living for six per cent (2.4 million) of the country population. This means slashing of seedling price will benefit about 450,000 families across the country, boosting income of large number of Tanzanians at individual level and generating foreign currency to the country.

Yes, with this move to revamp coffee production, the crop that provides employment to thousands of Tanzanians and brings in foreign currencies needs to be commended and encouraged especially now that the government strives to build up an industrial-based economy.

Tanzania

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Nigeria: Customs Intercepts 14 Containers in Lagos

By Sulaimon Salau

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, has seized 14 containers for false declaration and breach of customs law. The consignment according to the Comptroller, Mohammed Uba Garba, has a duty paid value of N104.6 million.

Garba said two of the containers were carrying Made in Nigeria cables but imported from China, which was declared as electric distribution board and ballast.

The comptroller, in his operational assessment between August 29th to 3rd of October 2017 said the FOU arrested eight suspects in connection with 128 seizures within the period.

He said its anti-smuggling operations has intensified its operational modalities to meet up with the current smuggling tactics, and has intercepted various contraband with a duty paid value of N356.2 million only.

The seized items were given as; 11 used vehicles; 4,227 bags of foreign parboiled rice; frozen poultry products; vegetable oil; Indian Hemp; medicaments; used tyres; scrap metals; wet blue; electric cables; unprocessed wood; bales of used clothing and shoes.

Also, he said his officers trailed and evacuated 3000 bags of smuggled rice from 10 houses along waterside in Ere Village of Ado-Odo Local Government of Ogun State.

“Each of these houses has three exits doors for their nefarious activities. As we were evacuating the rice from one house to the other, the villagers were also busy packing the rice to the bush through other exit. That is to tell you the extent some people take risk while indulging in smuggling. They see smuggling as a way of life and an inherited business. We were able to achieve this with the support of the military from 9 Brigade Nigerian Army Ikeja,” he said.

Garba gave the breakdown of the 11seized vehicles as: two Lexus Jeep GX460 and RX330, one Toyota Rav4, two Toyota Camry, 5 Mercedes Benz and one IVECO Truck (Tanker), ranging from 2007 to 2013 models respectively with duty paid value of N125.4 million.

“Also, we have 17 assorted vehicles in detention of various models. The vehicles were evacuated from car marts due to infractions noticed in their documents. As I speak with you, they have not been able to provide relevant customs papers on some yet but we have given them enough room to provide them.

“In the spirit of inter-agency collaboration; the seized Indian hemp, the Medicaments and the cables will be handed over to NDLEA, NAFDAC, and SON for thorough investigation. Eight suspects have been arrested in connection with these 128 seizures. For record purpose, so far we have 12 trials at Supreme Court, court of Appeal and Federal High Court respectively. While three are criminal cases, nine are civil cases and one is convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment,” he said.

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Nigeria: US Consulate Expresses Concerns Over Cancer Care in Nigeria

By Gabriel Olawale

United States Consulate General office in Lagos has expressed concern over level of cancer awareness in Nigeria even as it admitted that cancer burden is a global dilemma.

Speaking during a walk against cancer organized by Project Pink Blue in Lagos, the Public Affairs Officer of the Consulate, Darcy Zotter said that Nigeria still need to step up awareness around cancer which remain key to early detection, treatment and survivor.

Zotter pointed out that during her staying in Nigeria she found out that Nigerians don’t go for early detection which informed their decision to support organizations that are creating awareness around early detection.

“We recognized that cancer is a global problem, and is one of the issues United States share with Nigeria. Our commitment is to choke cancer and we understand Nigeria also share same vision. So there is need for us to support awareness creation here in Nigeria because early detection leads to treatment and survivor.

“We implore Nigeria government and all other organization to achieve that goal of increasing awareness and survivor rate. We are partnering Nigeria through USAID on cancer treatment as well as early detection.

Corroborating his view, Executive Director, Project Pink Blue, Runcie Chidebe said that aside the fact that awareness is low, some people are aware but do not have accurate information about cancer.

“Wrong information is another major challenge that is why some people we have cancer and think they have boil or malaria. By the time they get diagnosed it is already late and when it is late it become an issue.

Chidebe pointed out that the level of medical care for cancer patient in the country remain unacceptable considering the population, “we can’t really have high percentage of survivor with this kind of situation whereby we have a country of over 180 million people and very few cancer treatment center is working.

“Government needs to make facilities available and train medical personnel so that when cancer is detected early treatment will be initiated promptly.

He disclosed that through their organization they have been able to carried out free cancer screening, fund raising for cancer patient and advocacy for better cancer care,

“Today we are commemorating international breast cancer awareness month to let people know what to do to reduce the incidence of cancer and we have been doing this since 2014.

Nigeria

Minister Defends President Against Billionaire Dangote’s Criticism

Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment Charles Mwijage yesterday defended the government against remarks made by… Read more »

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