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The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (retd.) has called on the Federal Government to reduce the 35 per cent levy on imported vehicles so as to check the rising cases of smuggled vehicles into the country.
Ali said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the unveiling of a Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative which was held at the Ministry of Finance.
He said already the Nigeria Customs Service had made a proposal to the Ministry of Finance on the need for a reduction in the 35 per cent levy on imported vehicles.
Ali said currently, any new vehicle imported into the country attracted an import duty of 35 per cent and an additional levy of 35 per cent.
This, he noted, brought the total duty payable on such a vehicle to about 70 per cent.
He described the 70 per cent being charged by the government as high, adding that time had come for it to be reduced.
In achieving this, he said, the government could still retain the 35 per cent import duty while the additional 35 per cent levy could be tinkered by bringing it downwards.
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He said, “First, we must understand the fact that smuggling in most cases did not really occur because of the tariff that is placed on goods in Nigeria.
“When we talk about vehicles, yes, new vehicles attract 70 per cent duty; that is 35 per cent duty and 35 per cent levy but most of the vehicles that are being smuggled through our borders are not new vehicles, they are used vehicles.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who unveiled the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative, said that the government was concerned about the inability of some of its agencies to meet their revenue target.
She admitted that it had become a challenge for the government to mobilise fiscal resources to deliver on its developmental objectives, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that revenue generation needed to be enhanced.
According to her, while oil revenue to oil Gross Domestic Product ratio stands at about 39 per cent, non-oil revenue to non-oil GDP is about 4.2 per cent.
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Samsung embroiled in ‘One China’ row after K-pop star pulls out
The world’s number one smartphone maker Samsung Electronics became the latest global brand to face criticism Wednesday for damaging China’s “territorial integrity”, with a Chinese K-pop star ending an endorsement contract.
The row broke out after Chinese viewers noticed that the South Korean tech giant offers different language versions of its website for users in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan — in English, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.
All three appear as choices in a list of ‘countries’.
Beijing is very sensitive about anything it perceives as portraying semi-autonomous Hong Kong and Macau or the self-ruled democratic island of Taiwan — which it views as a renegade province awaiting reunification — as separate countries.
Hong Kong has become a particularly thorny issue for Beijing in recent weeks with the financial hub plunged into months of pro-democracy protests.
Chinese K-pop star Zhang Yixing — popularly known as Lay, from the boyband Exo — on Tuesday cancelled his agreement with Samsung for it allegedly “hurting the national feelings of Chinese compatriots” by maintaining the separate websites.
The hashtag “#ZhangYixing Ditches Samsung#” went viral on China’s Twitter-like Weibo with his cancellation notice being viewed 840 million times in the 20 hours after it was posted.
“Its act of blurring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country has seriously hurt the national feelings of our compatriots, which we strongly condemn,” Zhang’s Chinese agency said in a statement on its official social media account on Weibo.
Zhang had been a Samsung Electronics brand ambassador in China since December. The firm declined to comment when contacted by AFP.
The move comes days after several luxury retailers apologised for labelling the semi-autonomous cities of Hong Kong and Macau and the self-ruled island of Taiwan as separate countries.
Austrian jewellery company Swarovski apologised Tuesday for “hurting the feelings” of Chinese people after calling Hong Kong a separate country on its website.
Luxury brands Versace, Coach, and Givenchy also all apologised this week for making perceived affronts to China’s national sovereignty with T-shirts listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.
The row also cost them the support of their Chinese brand ambassadors as the companies scrambled to minimise any potential damage in the lucrative mainland market.
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‘Develop viable gemstones, jewellery market’
Experts have urged the federal government to develop an environment conducive for marketing gemstones, and jewellery, to increase their contribution to the national gross domestic product, (GDP).
They also said this would mark a milestone in the quest to build a vibrant mining sector with a wide variety of gemstones and precious metal for making ornaments for local and international markets.
According to experts at Stakeholders Consultative workshop on gemstones and Jewelry industry in Nigeria, the industry presents tremendous opportunities for investment and value addition and can employ people at different levels along the value chain, such as miners, goldsmiths, dealers etc.
Prof. Theo Smeets of the University of Trier, Germany, said the government has a lot to do to boost both local and international markets for precious metal, especially with the growing population of women.
He also noted that legal frameworks will equally galvanise the industry, and instead of exporting raw materials, citizens will be able to process them in-country and get more products in the local market.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu, disclosed that the industry could generate a total of $350 million worth of foreign exchange on an annual basis.
He also said Nigeria was so endowed with precious metal, “the key policy question we have asked ourselves is: ‘why has Nigeria not been internationally-recognised as an important gemstone destination?’”
According to him, Sri Lanka has a long history of gemstones, but it was its government’s commitment to reforms that began over three decades ago that has given her a globally-competitive edge.
“There is a huge international market potential for Nigeria’s gemstones, but it is losing vast business opportunities, value and revenue to illegal activities and smuggled to Germany, China, Brazil, U.S., etc.”
Contributing, Project Coordinator of MINDIVER, Utsu Linus Adie, said they are trying to reverse unfavourable market trend for gemstones, and create a robust jewellery market and promote export.
He equally said the government intends to develop a skilled workforce by creating community jewellery market in all the states of the federation within a five- year period.
“Our target is to emulate is India, who are today the global leaders in gems and jewellery, contributing 29 per cent to world jewellery consumption. We only generate $2 million worth of it.”
Reviewing gemstone resources, Niron Ajibade, maintained that there are many products, and when adequately harnessed will grow the nation’s economy; create jobs and wealth.
Ajibade therefore called on the government to build a sustainable jewellery industry by organising training programmes; create linkages, quality and assurance markets as well as finance the gemstone sector.