The CAC of the Apapa Command of the NCS, Comptroller MI Yusuf at the press briefing.
Story by Dili Utomi.
It is no longer news that the government of the day has continued to give revenue targets to the Nigeria Customs Service on yearly basis. A lot of people have argued about the demerits of the this action as they say that it is anti-business, but be that as it may the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service have in recent times been meeting and surpassing those targets. Against the backdrop of the target given to the Service, the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has urged the Service to leverage on the deployment of digital transformation of Customs business process which will further take care of many control mechanisms through its risk management system to harmonize the activities of stakeholders toward a seamless ease of doing business in the port.
The Customs Area Controller of the Apapa Command, Comptroller Malanta Ibrahim Yusuf made this statement in the first press briefing of the year where he also harped on the continuous need for inter-agency cooperation to be able to help facilitate trade and meet revenue targets.
A cross section of Journalists at the press briefing.
In the address, the CAC said that in spite of the many challenges that the Command face in the out gone year, “The Command between the months of January and December 2021 was able to collect a revenue of Eight Hundred and Seventy Billion, Three Hundred and Eighty Eight Million, Three Hundred and Forty Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Naira a and Sixty Five Kobo Only (#870,388,340,650.65) and this was remitted to the federation and non-federation accounts of the Federal Government, respectively”. This he said signifies an increase of about 68% in revenue generation against the #518.4 Billion made in the year 2020. The CAC also stated that a total of 103 seizures were made over the period in review and that these seizures have a duty paid value of Thirty One Billion, Two Hundred and Twenty Seven Million, Four Hundred and Thirty One Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty Five Naira (#31,227,431,225.00) as he also noted the seizure of 46.55kg of cocaine concealed on vessels MV Karteria and MV Chayanee Naree laden with raw sugar.
He also highlighted the various seized items over the period which included foreign parboiled rice, tomato puree, second hand clothes, unregistered pharmaceutical products like Captagon pills, tramadol and Codein syrup. The apprehended suspects on these seizures are also said to be undergoing investigation and interrogation.
Comptroller Yusuf further disclosed that there was a 110% increase in tonnage in non-oil export above the figure of the year 2020 as goods of total tonnage of 5,380 metric tonnes were exported. The free on board (FOB) value of the exported items also rose from $340 million in 2020 to $641 million in 2021 with exported items including steel bars, agricultural and mineral products among others.
During the question and answer session, the CAC declared on the issue of scanners that “Scanners are there to reveal the contents among the imported cargoes and also for security reasons. He said that compliance is key in the facilitation of trade and so there is a need for the press to help to educate the public on matters bordering on compliance and honest declaration of contents of cargoes.
He also spoke on inter-agency cooperation as he said that “We have made seizures of cocaine as a result of the inter-agency cooperation between the NCS, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and the UK border patrol and the case of an apprehended drug pusher is coming up in court today”.
Concerning importers and drugs, the CAC said that there are different permits from the NDLEA, NAFDAC and even the DSS on order for imports. “If you want to be compliant, the law helps with with what is allowed and what is not allowed for import. We are always trying to educate importers on what type of drug to import or not to import.
The NDLEA through the Apapa special area coordinator, Mr. Sam Bashir Gadzama said “We mean business and that is why we have started the year with a joint press briefing with the Customs as we intend to improve on our performance over last year.
Comptroller Yusuf elucidated further on export by saying that “The capacity of the scanner is that it is able to contain all the cargoes in a vessel, the capacity is as much as 200 to 400 per day depending on its selectivity”.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) through the Apapa Port Manager, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu said that “Collaboration among agencies in the port corridor has been our focus. Lily pond has been designated as the last place for the export goods processing. Apprehension on the issue of stow away is noted and we are working assiduously on making things easier for everyone. We need to up our export in other to really develope our economy. The port corridor should be free of all encumbrances and all traffic made to flow easily”.
The Department of State Security (DSS) through the director at the Apapa Port Mr. I. Mohammed noted that “What we are doing here is serious business, whatever we do is to support government efforts and no agency is an island to itself as we work with sister agencies, we hope to add more value to the system as we expect smoother operation within the ports. We will continue to have problems when people import things that infringe on national security”. He added
In conclusion, the CAC of the Apapa Command of the NCS said that the unprecedented achievements were made possible because of the doggedness and the tireless committment of the officers and men of the Command, he pledges to continue to strengthen the risk assessment capacity through forensic system audit and dispute resolution. He commended the support of the Customs Controller General and the goodwill of members of the general public for the successes achieved.
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