By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Area Command, has assured that the scanning machine that was purchased by the Federal Government would be deployed for operations in the next two months.
This is even as the command generated N522.4 billion in the first half of 2022.
The Area Controller, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, made this known at a news conference in Lagos on Friday.
On the issue of the non-utilisation of the scanner, Compt Yusuf said that customs had logistics challenge because of the ongoing rail construction inside the port.
“We can’t operate the scanners while the rail construction work is in progress because the radioactive activity will pose health threats to the workers.
“These scanners have already been synchronised with the current platform of the NCS which is the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) II. The scanners in Onne and Tin Can Island are working,” he said.
He, however, expressed optimism that with the level of cooperation from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the intervention of the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki; within the next two months Apapa scanners would be deployed and utilised.
Yusuf said that the revenue figure for the past six months showed a significant increase of N156 billion or 42.54 per cent when compared to the N366.5 billion collected in the corresponding period of 2021.
“This feat was made possible because of our officers’ resilience in ensuring identified revenue leakages have been mitigated, while sustaining the level of compliance by the importers/stakeholders in the clearance value chain,” he said.
On export, he said that in line with the Federal Government efforts to diversify the economy through non-oil export, the command recorded a boom in the exportation of non-oil commodities with about 2.5 million metric tonnes, above the 540 metric tonnes in the year 2021.
He noted that the Free on Board (FOB) value for the exported items also rose from $1.6 million in the year 2021 to $138 million in 2022.
“Items exported include steel bars, agricultural and mineral products amongst others.
“The Federal Government policy and export incentive schemes have played vital roles in boosting export trade in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that for the period under review, the command curbed the smuggling of dangerous items, resulting in the seizure of 83 containers with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N8.3 billion.
“Some of the seized items include: processed/unprocessed wood, 32 containers; five containers of unregistered pharmaceuticals, 18 containers of used clothings/shoes; 13 containers of foreign parboiled rice.
“Others are vegetable oil – seven containers, tomato Paste – three containers, and 1x20ft container laden with 150 cartons of tramadol,” he said.
Yusuf said that 21 suspects had been arrested in connection with the seizures.
He added that a suspect arrested in connection with the seized 1x20ft container of tramadol was currently undergoing interrogation/investigation.
Yusuf said that to further strengthen existing relationship between relevant government agencies in the port, the command had recently handed over 2x20ft containers no. SUDU 7774749 and UETU2798479 laden with 150 cartons of illicit hard drugs to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).