Save for donor-shipments for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), not a grain of trade rice has arrived at the Apapa Port since the Federal Government banned its importation through the ports two years ago, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said.
Comptroller Jibrin Musa of the Apapa Customs Area Command, who disclosed this to members of the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) on a courtesy visit, clarified that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had not issued Form M to any rice importer since it was listed among the 41 import restricted items.
Consequently, the command has not recorded any revenue on imported rice during the period under review much so as “Form M issuance is not within the purview of the Nigeria Customs Service. It is a document sourced from CBN. If we see any consignment that has Form M, we treat.
“All goods imported for commercial activities must have Form M, whether valid for foreign exchange or not. CBN does that and we only treat when we see, but throughout last year to date, no importation of rice has passed through Apapa, so we have not collected any duty on rice through the port.”
That situation notwithstanding, Musa said the command has not fared badly in revenue generation, having adopted various measures to up its revenue, especially with the launch of Customs NICIS 11 automated platform, which has kept its revenue generation on the increase.
He disclosed that the command collected N28 billion in April, N33 billion in May and N30 billion as at June 28.
Meanwhile, Musa dismissed claims by agents that customs officers do not report early for cargo examination, stating that in line with the Executive Order on 24-hour port operation, the command has been operating round-the-clock.
However, he listed the major challenges that the command was grappling with in the issue of ease of doing business as dilapidated port access roads, which have made movement of goods in and out of the port difficult for users.
“We operate round the clock,” he insisted. “If anybody wants to take his consignment in the night he can come, but the roads are so terrible, so no importer will want to take his goods through this kind of road in the night for security reasons. People are careful that; is why they are avoiding the night.
“The bad road is affecting movement of goods inside and outside the ports. However, the command is tackling the problem, and we hope that when the road is finally done, activities will pick up and there will be faster delivery of consignments from the port.”