…Generates N790billion Revenue in 9-Months
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has hinted on plans by the service to improve on its current scanning activities, up to the stage of pre-scanning of containers from the shipside, right before they are taken into the terminals.
Customs Area Controller of Apapa customs, Compt Ibrahim Yusuf Malanta gave the indication in Lagos on Thursday during a press briefing.
Malanta said the command generated total of N790,630,406,980.96 as revenue between January and September, 2022.
This shows an exponential improvement of N181.5 billion as against N609 billion collected in the corresponding months of the year 2021, representing 29.8% increment.
According to him, scanning of containers at Apapa Port has come to stay, even as he warned noncompliant freight forwarders and importers who are bent on circumventing the system to take heed or get punished.
Speaking, he said “For some agents who are so much agitating for scanning, I want to assure them that the scanners have come to stay, there is no going back about it, we would do all we could to make sure that cargo are being scanned.
“The next stage is to do pre-scanning, whereby cargoes are being scanned at the shipside, image would be stored, and the moment you lodged a declaration, the image would be analyzed and the risk can be purported to your declaration. This is the standard operating procedure all over the world.
“So, for those who think that they can frustrate the scanning operations for them to perpetuate their illegal transactions, they should better their mind and make sure they become compliant to the federal government directives” he said
The customs boss allayed fears raised recently by some freight forwarders that the scanning of containers was being at the port manipulated by APM Terminals.
He described the present challenges as mere teething problems which is expected, considering the fact that customs has stopped using the scanners for the past eight years.
“The scanners have been deployed to assist our operations, we are optimistic, but in every system there must be a teething problem, we have stopped scanning for the past eight years, and we have just resumed lately.
“Therefore, the logistics and other vices are affecting, and it is regarded as a teething problem which we are solving gradually.
“We have requested for 150 containers to be scanned per day, but the shipping companies agreed only in 100 containers, we also asked how many containers can be dropped for re-check, when the 100 containers are scanned, definitely, some would be suspect and some would be non-suspect. The suspect containers are called recheck, so we want to know how many of them can be rechecked.
“They promised to do re-check of 30 containers per day, which we do accept, subject improvement as the system is being fine-tuned.
We work Saturday and Sunday to clear the backlog before the new week starts” he explained
Speaking on the anti-smuggling operations of the command, he said the command recorded 145 seizures of various items which were in clear breach of sections 46 and 47 of Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA CAP C45 LFN 2004, with a duty paid value (DPV) of N12,496,672,122.00 during the period under review.
The seized items include unregistered medicaments such as tramadol and codeine, processed/unprocessed wood, used clothing, ladies/men’s footwear, foreign parboiled rice, tomato paste, vegetable oil and other sundry items that falls under import/export prohibition list.
According to him, these successes were possible because of the tireless commitment of officers to ensure that all revenue leakages are mitigated, as well as sustaining the level of compliance by the importers/stakeholders in the clearance value chain.
Speaking, Compt Malanta said “Anti-smuggling activities has been one of the command’s focal points, especially with the activities of some unrepentant traders who are always looking for avenues to undermine our system.
“The command has fortified its forensic manifest management to monitor and detect fraudulent transaction through audit trial to ensure that illicit trade are being tracked before the declarations are lodged.
“Furthermore, the enforcement unit has been reinforced through improved collaboration and sharing of credible intelligence with relevant government agencies to suppress smuggling activities to its barest minimum”.
He thanked the Controller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and his management team for an enabling platform for the command to perform its duties effectively and efficiently; government agencies in the port for their collaboration and synergy, officers and men of the command for their determined resilience, as well as compliant stakeholders for their support.