Apapa: Volume Of Cargoes Imports Dwindles; Compt. Compt. Jaiyeoba, Optimistic Of Meeting  Command’s N1.5 Trillion Revenue Target

By Stephen Ubanna

  For years, Customs Comptrollers deployed to the Apapa Command to oversee the premier port which controls over 5% of the volume of imported cargoes into the country have never had dad any problem in meeting their daily, monthly or yearly revenue targets set by the Headquarters.

 Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, a -one Area Controller of Oyo/ Osun Command, which performs the dual function of an interventionist unit and revenue generating Command  and now currently the Area Controller of Apapa Command  may have known that he is stepping into a big she  left behind by Auwal Mohammed, the former  Area Controller , who has been elevated to the enviable rank of an Assistant Comptroller General , ACG, and redeployed to the Customs Headquarters., Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.For a Command that have a daily target of N5.9 billion  and N118.85 billion monthly  to generate and pay into the Federation Account, Comptroller Jaiyeoba, knew that he cannot afford to fail  Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service who had considered necessary to move him from an interventionist Area Command to the service number one revenue generating Command to head.

Mohammed, the immediate pat Area Controller of the Command may have made Compt. Jaiyeoba, his successor to understand that taking over control and management of Apapa Command was no tea party when he disclosed that the Command under his Leadership had collected and paid into the Federation Accouunt  N67 billion  between January and August 2023. The former Apapa Area Controller had said that  the Command  had generated  a monthly revenue of N136 billion and a daily revenue of N10, billion, which was said to have been celebrated in Customs circles, describing a performer.

The Apapa Customs new Area Controller may not have been carried away by he intimidating revenue generating records of his predecessor that he was said to have assured of his preparedness to surpass the Command 2023 revenue target of N1.426 trillion. Appealing to the officers to join hands with him ‘’to have a succeful tenure’’, he may have said what the importers with their agents and other critical stakeholders at the port would want to hear when he said that he will ‘’operate an open door policy’, urging them ‘’to feel free to approach him or any member of his Management Team  as well as other senior officers that are in a position to assist on any issue  inhibiting their clearing process. He would also want the stakeholders to feel free to advice and be ready to rub minds together with the officers.

Given his determination to succeed going by the mandate given to hi m to by the Customs Comptroller General to improve on the Command revenue generation may have informed why he has given himself an ambitious revenue target of N1.5  trillion , from the initial N1.426 trillion  given to the Command by the Customs Management.

An insider confirmed that he has put the necessary machinery in motion to achieve the revenue target by blocking all areas of revenue leakage at the port. Aware of the complaints of the agents of unnecessary delays in the release and taking delivery of their clients’ cargoes at the port may have encouraged him to hold series of meetings with the Leadership of the various Associations of the agents to enhance trade facilitation.

He may have sent a message to the Freight Forwarders that the only way their importers would trade at minimum cost  at the port  is to ensure to make honest declarations and pay the relevant appropriate  duties and other levies to avoid  delaying their cargoes at the port   as additional day for the cargo to be at the port attracts demurrage  from the terminal operator.  He is right. At the Apapa port, AP Moller, the terminal  operator are ever ready to hand over outrageous demurrage to the imports which was very discouraging.  

 On Monday, October 302023, the Customs Comptroller, who is determined to stop the unnecessary delays in the clearing of cargoes at the port  and his Management  Team were said to have met the APM and other Terminal operators at the premier port  to resolve all knotty issues affecting the clearing   process. The Terminal operators may have drawn the Customs Comptroller to their own challenges which had been there over the years .  Compt. Jaiyeoba , who may have won the heart of  both the officers and the importers with their agents because of the measures which he had  put in place between June 26, 2023 and now,  may have given the operators a cause to be cheer when he promised to address the challenges.  True to his words, he had told the League of Maritime Editors who were with him on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, the Command which had identified the challenges are currently addressing them. Improved

APM Container Terminal, Apapa

In spite of the various measures that have been put in place the Apapa Command new Management Team in the last four months, that may not have translated fully into in the revenue collection of the command .This may not be unconnected to the harmoisation of the both the official and parallel, popular, black market foreign exchange markets, which was said to have caught many importers napping.  This is because of the free fall of the naira to the North American country of the United States, US, dollar,   at the exporters and importers window,I&E,  which is the only window recognised for the sale of Forex  by Cardaso led Central Bank of Nigeria,  as forex trades  are allowed  at market  determined exchange rates.

Take , for instance  on Tuesday,  October 31, 2023, the naira , had traded  at N180.80  to the US, one dollar  at the parallel market  while it exchanged at  N740.00 to the dollar at the I&E window . Notwithstanding the  sale of the naira to the US  dollar at N740.00 at the I&E, it has not in any way translated to increased volume  cargoes import in the recent time through the port.

Compt. Jaiyeoba, of the Apapa Command, my have hit the nail on the head when he disclosed recently that ‘’the harmonisation of the country’s official and black markets forex market had dwindled importation into the country through the Apapa port. He has his reason: the Command collects its revenue based on the volume of cargoes that passes through the port on a daily basis.  The more, the volume of cargoes that passees through the port, the higher the revenue that would be collected by the Command, Compt. Jaiyeoba had said. ‘’it is the volume of Containers both 20ft and 40, that are discharged at the port by the ships ladened with Containers and other bulk cargoes that we collect revenue’’, he insists.

 Given an insider information, he had said that that Command had generated as at October 31, 2023, about N900 billion, which was paid into the Federation Account, stressing that that the Management   has  taken a bold initiative to further  boast the revenue between now and December 31, 2023.

Given the Command, monthly revenue target of N 118.85 billion, Compt. Jaiyeoba, first one month in office as the Area Controller of the Apapa Command been anything but impressive given the challenges he was said to have met on ground. The Command, under his close watch was said to have generated and paid into the government coffers   about N130 billion in September and N136.40 billion in the month of October, 2023. The Command, was aid to collected N9.7 billion, on a single operation at the part and may be higher in the remaining two months of the year with the various measures that had been put in place to boost the Command revenue on a daily basis, reassuring that the Command under his Leadership and Collaboration with the stakeholders who are ready to do the right thing with hit theN1.5 trillion self-imposed revenue target.

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