•FG deploys revenue directors to NPA, Customs, others to boost remittances
Uche Usim (Abuja) and Steve Agbota
Nigeria and other maritime nations around the world have lost about $9 trillion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to COVID-19 pandemic that grounded almost all sectors of the global economy.
At the peak of the pandemic between March and May, so many shipping lines, manufacturers, factories and other businesses were shutdown in order to curb the spread of the infestious disease around the world.
At a recent sensitisation workshop for stakeholders on COVID-19 in Lagos, whose theme is Maritime Industry and Emerging Trends In Global Trade, the Director General of African Centre for Supply Chain, Dr. Obiora Madu, said logistics chains are going through unusual and massive losses from the disruption caused by the pandemic.
His words: “The shutdown of factories and scarcity of manpower to de-stuff cargo, as well as drivers to operate trucks for cargo evacuation, has derailed the trade and smooth functioning of the logistics industry. The estimate is a cumulative loss of $9 trillion to the global GDP and the world trade has already witnessed a decline by about 32 per cent”.
Madu who is also the CEO of Multimix Academy, disclosed that the turnaround time at ports has been extended longer that what it was in pre-COVID-19 scenario, adding that many small companies engaged in the maritime and shipping industry have gone bankrupt due to less demand and the inability to handle the finances of the company during the period of less demand of cargoes and shipping.
“This has majorly impacted the small running businesses and resulted in the shutting down of various companies engaged in this industry. With international transport at the forefront of trade and depend on travel and human interaction, the shipping industry has been impacted materially both directly and indirectly from the outbreak of COVID-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, challenged by dwindling revenue and crippling debt amid the pandemic, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) on Tuesday began a training programme for treasury officers who will be deployed to strategic Federal Government Owned Enterprises (FGOEs) as revenue directors to help swell government’s purse.
The move also tackles the perennial challenge of low remittance which the revenue-generating agencies were accused of.
In the pilot phase, 10 federal agencies have been penciled down where revenue directors from OAGF will be posted to.
The agencies are; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Speaking at the commencement of a three-day training programme, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the government has been compelled to improve revenue generation, especially in the non-oil sector, to fund the nation’s huge expenditure.
Ahmed charged the Directors of Revenue to remain above board as they would be involved in the revenue operations of the FGOEs.
She urged them to learn fast and have an understanding of the business processes and operations of the FGOEs to realise improved transparency and accountability in revenue reporting by the FGOEs.