By DAPO OLAWUNI
Unlike the Tin Can Island Port that is presently experiencing “flying” of containers, the Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service has revealed how it has prevented unscrupulous elements from sabotaging Federal government revenue by taking delivery of their imports without paying neccessary duties.
Container “Flying” is a term used for containers disappearing either on transit, or under the watch of Customs officers and terminal operators.
Earlier this week, the 100% Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) headed by Tanko Ibrahim raised an alarm of 19 containers “missing” or “dubiously cleared” from the Clarion Bonded Terminal under the Tin Can Customs Command.
Area Comptroller of Tin Can Customs Command, Compt Kunle Oloyede has assured that he would investigate the matter.
The Apapa Customs Command on the other hand has revealed that such acts of container flying cannot thrive at the command or any of its bonded terminals due to IT platforms being utilised by the command.
Speaking at press conference in Lagos on Thursday, Comptroller of Apapa Customs Command, Compt Yusuf Malanta stated that command generated revenue of N264 billion for the first quarter of 2022.
Comptroller Malanta noted that the revenue generated in Q1 showed a significant increase of N104 billion as against N159 billion in the corresponding months of the year 2021 which represents a 65.7 increase in revenue generation.
While fielding questions from pressmen about disappearing of containers which seems to have returned to the ports, the Comptroller revelead that Apapa is able to achieved its feats because of strict monitoring and leveraging on IT platforms.
In order to curtail container dissappearance of flying, he said “We have the manifest and transmission, and you must have a declaration to lodge.
My PCA (Post Clearance Audit) is very sound and up to date, we have what is called declaration, which could be IM-71 or IM-80.
“IM-71 are declarations that are moving from one command to another bonded terminal under the command. This declaration would be followed until it is converted to IM-4071 which means it has arrived the bonded terminal and it is now ready for delivery to the owner.
“The PCA are equally working daily to make sure that every IM-71 are converted to IM-4071, failure to see this, a call would be made to the importer and the terminal operator to come and explain why there was no conversion of such declaration.
“We also have the IM-7900 which is a declaration from the command to the Free Trade Zone, these are also being monitored to ensure that the stacking area of the licensee is being monitored to ensure that these items are there, otherwise, a record of export outside Nigeria would be given.
“We also have IM-800 which is from one command to another outside, for example, a cargo from Apapa to ICNL in Kano or Kaduna.
All these are control measures, as Apapa Customs Command it is very clear that we are leveraging on our IT platforms to ensure that revenue leakages to curtailed” he said
Compt Malanta stated that the compliance level of stakeholders at the command is increasing daily, so also ie the revenue and facilitation of trade.
He said the compliance level could be measured in the revenue and the number of seizures made.
“Last year, we were able to make a classical seizure of pentagon pills, we also made a classical seizure of cocaine, as well as lots of tramadol. But within this short period, we have made only two containers of tramadol and one container of codeine syrup”
“These are the seizures we considered as high risk and we go for it always. I can say that the compliance level is increasing, if you rate it, we can say we have 50% compliance” he said
He said that the command was given a target of N70 billion monthly, amounting to N210 billion for the period under review.
According to Yusuf, the revenue generated shows an increase of N104 billion on the N159 billion collected in the corresponding months of the year 2021.
“This represents an increase of 65.7 per cent in revenue collection.
This feat was made possible because of our officers’ creativity and leveraging the service Information Technology platform to ensure all revenue leakages have been mitigated.
“This is as well as sustaining the level of compliance by the importers/stakeholders in the clearance value chain,” he said.
Yusuf said that in the period under review, as regards anti-smuggling, the command recorded 46 seizures of various items with a duty paid value of N1,142,876,606.00.
He said that this was against 28 seizures made in the corresponding months of the year 2021.
“Anti-smuggling activities have been a matter of central concern in the command, particularly with the activities of recalcitrant traders who are always looking for ways to undermine our system.
“The enforcement unit has been strengthened through strict monitoring, enhanced collaboration and sharing of credible intelligence with relevant government agencies to suppress smuggling activities to its barest minimum,” he said.
Yusuf said that the seizures include unregistered medicaments such as tramadol and codeine syrup, unprocessed wood, used clothing, footwear, foreign parboiled rice and other sundry items that fall under the prohibition list.
He said that these importations are in clear contravention of sections 46 and 47 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA CAP C45 LFN 2004.
The comptroller said that in line with the Federal Government’s efforts to diversify the economy through non-oil export, the command recorded the exportation of agricultural goods, mineral resources, steel and others.
He said that for the first quarter of the year, statistics from the export report indicated that goods worth N34.07bn with a Free On Board (FOB) value of 87.99 million US dollars were exported.
Yusuf urged stakeholders to join forces with the command and ensure that items on the import/export prohibition list are strictly adhered to.