By DAPO OLAWUNI
After realizing an unprecedented revenue collection of One Trillion, Twenty-Two Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty Million, Five Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety-Nine Naira, Four Kobo (1,022,530,523,699.4) into the coffers of the government for 2022, the Apapa customs command of the Nigeria Customs Service has projected N1.5Trillion to be collected in 2023.
Apapa customs Area Controller, Compt Yusuf Malanta stated this yesterday while fielding questions from journalists at a press conference and decoration of newly promoted officers of the command in Apapa Lagos.
Speaking on his projections for the year 2023, Compt Malanta said “In the previous year, we were able to make N870billion, today we were able to make N1,022Trillion, I hope that by next year, by God’s grace, we are going to make N1.5trillion here” he said
While speaking on his method of achieving success he said “I tried to leverage on existing infrastructure of technology driven initiatives, and we make sure that compliance is achieved. Secondly I changed the mindset of my colleagues so that productivity would be high”
Compt Malanta also attributed revenue success to the resilience of the officers and men of the command in blocking revenue leakages and ensuring that all unpaid declarations and unutilized Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR, had been traced and accounted to the federal government coffers.
On anti-smuggling, the Controller informed that the command had intensified its operation through leveraging on its technological infrastructure to ensure that illicit trade which posed threat to national security and the wellbeing of the society were being detected and controlled from finding their way to the society.
“In the year under review, a total number of One Hundred and Fifty-Seven (157) containers with a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N14.4 billion were seized as against the One Hundred and Two (102) containers with DPV of N31.8 billion seized in the year 2021. Our records show that fake and prohibited drugs without necessary NAFDAC certification overdose drugs if Tramadol top the list of seizures made last year. Other items seized include codeine syrup, foreign parboiled rice, vegetable oil, processed/unprocessed wood, used clothing etc,” he said.
According to the Controller, a total of sixty (60) suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures and were at various stages of investigation and prosecution by other agencies of government. “Let me use this opportunity to reiterate that this command will remain a no-go area for any form of illegality and also warn the perpetrators that we will remain resolute and ensure to expose their activities and bring them to book”, he added.
On export trade, the command recorded a total of $68.5 million Free On Board (FOB) value with Naira equivalent of N28.2 billion of non-oil commodities with a total tonnage of 6.4 metric tonnes exported through Apapa port. Items exported through Apapa port in the year 2022, according to the Controller included steel bars, agricultural produce such as hibiscus, sesame seed, cocoa, cashew nuts, ginger, soya beans and mineral products.
Speaking on trade facilitation, Comptroller Yusuf maintained that the central concern of the administration was to deploy technology to automate their processes and procedures so as to maintain a feat between trade facilitation, revenue generation and security of the nation. He stated that as a lead agency in trade facilitation, the was constantly informed in reinvention of its strategy and share it’s vision with other agencies in the port through connectivity and joint one stop boarding of vessels and examination of cargo.
“We have indeed made Apapa command a model port which attracted the attention of the Secretary General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, His Excellency, Wamkele Mene during his visit to the command in June 2020. As part of the command’s trade facilitation initiative, officers have been selected, trained and dedicated to address the complaints through dispute resolution and ensure transactions within our systems are monitored with precision and control. We will continue to improve on our efforts to achieve excellence in service delivery,” he stated.
He further added that the command’s collaboration with other agencies of government had greatly enhanced their productivity adding that record showed that practical involvement of agencies, inter-agency collaboration, networking, incidence profiling, information gathering/processing and experience shared had resulted in a lot of interception of life threatening import of dangerous drugs and various prohibited items that contravenes the relevant sections of CEMA CAP C45 LFN 2004 as amended.
Malanta boasted that the command would surpass the 2023 revenue target as envisaged in the year 2022, the CAC noted that all the achievements of the previous year was made possible by the infrastructure, support and encouragement they enjoy from the management team and also through the resilience of the officers and men of the command including the adjourning units and the industrial harmony with the stakeholders which played a huge role in the success recorded this far.