PTML Customs Arrest 6-Suspects for Smuggling Arms, Ammunition in Imported Vehicles

…Generates N229bn Revenue, Facilitates $249m Export

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Port and Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command has announced that it has arrested six persons for smuggling arms and ammunition inside imported vehicles and containers.

The command also announced that it generated a total revenue of N229,473,912,976.97 in 2022, representing an increase of N5,003,799,243.00 from the N224,470,113,733.collected the previous year.

The Customs Area Controller of PTML Command who was recently promoted as Acting Assistant Comptroller General of customs, ACG Suleiman Bomai told journalists during a press briefing on Tuesday that the Command was able to surpass 2021 revenue collection despite the recorded downtime occasioned by agents strike and alleged inability by some importers to clear their vehicles.

In the area of anti-smuggling, he said “The Command uncovered attempts to smuggle arms and ammunition into the country concealed in imported vehicles. A total of six suspects were arrested in connection with these seizures and have been granted administrative bail.

“The seizures include: 1X40ft container containing three vehicles used to conceal two fire arms, one used Ford Edge containing fire arm and 30 rounds of live cartridges, a used Toyota Sienna containing fire arm, and one used Toyota Corolla containing 90 rounds of live ammunition, with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N36,316,155.00.

Also, the Command handled export trade with a total tonnage of about 178,572.13 metric tons, with a total Free on Board (FOB) value of $249,419,604.52; compared to the total tonnage of about 147,578.11 metric tons, with a total FOB value of $1,452,821,912.50 made in 2021.

He said: “Last year had significant impact on Ports and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) for several reasons – the nature of our operational area makes us deal more on vehicular cargoes (Roll-on Roll-off) and we were impacted by trade policies that affects automobile importation like the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Hence, in the year under review, about eighty percent of the cargo handled in the terminal were vehicles.

“As a customs command, we employed dialogue with our strategic stakeholders on the need to understand the basis of VIN valuation and engaged them severally to solicit their cooperation. Our robust interface with private sector stakeholders and government agencies is ongoing in 2023 and beyond in line with our extant standard operating procedures. It is important to state that implementation of all government policies and directives are ongoing with increasing degree of compliance being recorded so far”.

On trade facilitation, Bomai stated that the command sustained its average of four hour clearance time of vehicle for compliant traders, adding that an efficient and accessible dispute resolution committee has been put in place to regularly brief the CAC with a view to quickly resolving all trade disputes.

According to him, the dispute resolution Committee was strengthened last year under his watch, handled by experienced and knowledgeable officers; reducing the period trade disputes were resolved.

He explained that the committee contributed immensely to the success recorded during the year under review, while noting that he personally monitored transactions and interventions by various units daily to sustain the standard of ease of doing business and trade facilitation.

Speaking further on stakeholders engagement, he said: “The Command has continued to maintain a cordial relationship with the various government agencies like the Nigeria police, NDLEA, NAFDAC, SON, NESREA, NAQS, e.t.c. We have effectively functioned as the lead agency towards “ease of doing business” in the port. This has greatly contributed to the efficiency in service delivery. While the private sector players are our strategic stakeholders.

“We interacted closely with our strategic stakeholders like the importers, exporters, concessionaire, bonded terminal operators, licensed customs agents, freight forwarders and others, where issues affecting various segment of the supply chain were well discussed and solution proffered. Aside initial enlightenment done on the VIN valuation, PTML Command has been doing a lot of engagement on the issue to address the trade facilitation associated with standard and non-standard VIN.

“The various interventions approved by headquarters on the issue are diligently being implemented in the command. The innovation to automate clearance of non-standard VIN and use of code 846 for clearance is being applied too. Gradually, our stakeholders are showing understanding.

“Within the period under review, we had very robust and productive engagements with other agencies of government where we shared ideas and pursued government objectives without compromising our respective mandates as enshrined in our enabling laws. We met from time to time to share intelligence, prevent and detect crimes in the national interest and on our part as NCS we prevented revenue loss”.

He said that the absence of scanners and inadequate space are some of challenges faced by the Command, noting that the availability of a scanner will reduce the issue of 100% physical examination of containerised cargo.

“As the customs modernization project progresses, we are hoping to have a scanner for faster cargo examination. Available space within the Command is very limited and we are managing that presently. We anticipate that in future the Port and Terminal Multiservice Limited (PTML) management and our various bonded warehouse operators will expand our spaces to enhance customs operation”, he said.

The Acting ACG Bomai later handed over to the incoming Area Controller, Comptroller Aliyu Mahmud Ibrahim.

He thanked the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) and his management team; partners, stakeholders, officers and men of the Command, as well as the media for their support.

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