From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
Speed and efficiency in cargo inspection across the country will soon improve as the Federal Government has finally approved the purchase and deployment of modern scanners at some major ports to facilitate trade and improve security and revenue generation.
This was disclosed in Lagos by the Controller, Apapa Area 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Compt. Bashir Abubakar, who also revealed that the command generated an impressive N404 billion in 2018.
The figure, though less than the command’s 2018 target of N426.1 billion by N22.1 billion, represents 95 per cent of the target and exceeded the 2017 revenue of N350.9 billion by N53 billion.
Also, the command recorded 1.266 million metric tonnes of exported good valued at approximately $239.47 (N73.16 billion) last year and achieved high level of export declaration compliance, while 2,500 containers were blocked over non-compliance.
According to Abubakar, the improvement in revenue is partly due to the blocking of revenue leakages in cargo clearance procedures at the command with the implementation of the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System II (NICIS II).
The other strategies that that enhanced import/export trade transactions and improved revenue generation included the novel 24-hour dispute resolution, on-the-spot examination with all relevant agencies, advanced system and monitoring, and collaboration between customs’ internal/external units and other government agencies.
He noted that “72 containers of various general goods such as used spare parts, used tyres and other sundry goods valued at N9.626 billion were intercepted. The command also seized and condemned 41x40ft containers of controlled pharmaceutical products, including tramadol in excess of the allowable milligrams, with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N8.812 billion.”
The command also intercepted and seized an export-bound used helicopter valued at N210.6 million, and another completely knocked down (CKD) in-bound aircraft, Cessna 182A, valued at N486.9 million – all in accordance with extant laws against false declaration, concealment or complete disregard of import/export guidelines.
According to him, these achievements earned him and the command the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Merit Award for exceptional service in the international customs community, which was presented during the WCO Day celebration in Abuja last month.
Meanwhile, in recognition of their contributions to that achievement, the NCS also awarded some officers of the command certificates of commendation. They included the Team Manager, Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU), Apapa, Assist. Comptroller Bello A. Ahmed.
The others were Officer-in-Charge, Free Trade Zone, Assist. Comptroller Faith M. Ojeifo, Staff Officer at SIFAX, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Usman Iliyasu, Superintendent of Customs, Peter Odangla of CIU Apapa, and Officer-in-Charge, Customs Processing Unit, Apapa, Zarma B. Adamu.