By DAPO OLAWUNI
There are indications that the big shoes left behind at the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service by Comptroller Yusuf Malanta, now an Assistant Comptroller General, is proofing difficult to fill by his successor, Compt Auwal Baba Mohammed.
The Apapa Command on Tuesday announced that it collected a total of N502,987,516,219.26 from January 2023 to date and made 16 seizures worth a duty paid value of N1.4 billion within the same period.
This is a recorded shortfall of about N20billion, compared to the N522.4 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2022 when Yusuf Malanta was in the saddle as Area Controller.
Meanwhile, Comptroller Auwal in a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, CSC A Usman described his revenue collection and seizures made as fallouts of increased compliance, urged officers to redouble their efforts in revenue collection, trade facilitating and strict enforcement of anti smuggling activities.
According to him, the command made a collection of N9.2b on July 20, 2023 alone.
This feat according to him, is the highest daily collection it ever achieved in its existence since the port was established
The seizures made within the period comprised of prohibited drugs, used tyres, rice, vegetable oil, and sundry items.
It is noteworthy that the command made a seizure of two pistols inside one groupage cargo. One suspect is arrested, and the matter is undergoing investigation.
The Command under the leadership of Compt. AB Mohammed has achieved an increased level of compliance by importers, exporters, and their agents through deliberate system profiling and manifest tracking.
Under the CAC’s direct supervision , dedicated officers of the command are using the system profiling yardstick to gauge the integrity levels of importers and consignees.
This has helped in treating traders in line with their previous transaction records, which is reassuring that compliance pays through time saving and cost efficiency.
The Controller urged all port users to be complaint and advised that compliant traders are shielded from the risk of getting their consignments seized; imposition of penalties after demand notices and possible arrests for prosecution as the case may require.
According to Comptroller Mohammed, non compliant traders spend more time and money paying for terminal space due to demurrage plus higher cost due to DN”s and penalties.
Comptroller Mohammed has also raised the level of electronic manifest tracking to accelerate trade facilitation leveraging on available technology.
The CAC described this feat as a masterstroke in the journey towards trade facilitation and ease of doing business.
CAC CHARGE ON OFFICERS
At a recent monthly meeting of Terminal/Unit Heads, Comptroller Mohammed exhorted all officers of the command to sustain and improve upon the level of discipline the command has been noted for under his watch.
He characterised discipline as the foundation of good work etiquette, such as punctuality, diligent application of Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023 and other noble virtues that align with the law.
He further stressed that Nigeria has high expectations of the NCS and that the service is looking up to Apapa Command for its highest collection.
Compt. AB Mohammed charged officers/men of the Command to use their knowledge of the job and the rules guiding the service to facilitate legitimate trade.
He said, ” As we facilitate trade for compliant traders, let’s be wary of the possibility of releasing uncustom goods in error or in the guise of facilitating trade
“I hereby charge you to do better in the second half of 2023 as the glory for the successes recorded in the first half belongs to all of us” the CAC said.