By Stephen Ubanna
With barely three weeks that the Customs Headquarters released the report of its total revenue collection for 2021, which Comptroller Joseph Attah, thee Customs Spokesperson had put at about N2.241 trillion, Tin-can Island port Command had released its own report. The Command, under the close watch of Comptroller Musa Baba Abdullahi, popular, MBA, described as one of the oldest serving Area Comptrollers in the service today, has given out his report card for the year 2021, which many believe was very encouraging.
The Customs Comptroller has detailed how following the World Customs Organization’s Trade, WCO, Recovery Guidelines aided the command’s operational actions in 2021. The Tncan-Island port Customs Area Comptroller, who may have d followed the foot step of Comptrollers Yusuf Malanta, Felix Okun and Awwal Mohammed of Apapa, Port Multi-services Terminal, PTML and Port Harcourt Area II, had maintained the Command, high revenue generation. The Command, according to Uche Egesieme, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and the Command spokesperson, had generated close to N500 billion, which according to and which was confirmed by an official of the Accounts Department. It was said to be 41.05 %, higher than the N350 billion target given to the Command by the Management team in 2021.
Informed sources told The Value News that ever since Comptroller was deployed to the Command from the Customs Headquarters Trade and Tariff Department some four years ago, he had maintained continuity in the trade supply chain, trade facilitation, and consistent income generation.
A senior officer, who spoke to The Magazine disclosed that despite “the outbreak of the Delta and Omicron variants of the Asian country of China coronavirus, popular,COVID – 19 and 2021, fiscal year respectively, the Command was able’’ to restore and maintain its high level operational performance, no thanks to the effective implementation of the World Customs Organisation, WCO, Trade Recovery Guidelines, which ensured continuity in the trade supply chain, trade facilitation, and consistent revenue generation.”
The Recovery Guidelines include maintaining COVID19 protocols such as face masks and safe distancing, mandatory Covid19 Virus vaccination of customs officers, effective use of the fast track facility, and the installation of scanners to minimize human contact and expedite the customs release process, particularly for high priority consignments of essential medicaments and other life-saving supplies. The TCIP management team was said to have ‘’created and implemented tactics that strengthened and sustained the Command’s ability to reduce threats of noncompliance as well as the challenges of inadequate logistics and infrastructure at the ports’’.
“To date, dedicated efforts’’, were said to have been made by the Command to build on the gains of previous operational activities such as compliance monitoring activities, deployment of NICIS II, OneStopShop, Dispute Resolution Committee, and stakeholders engagement’’, all of which have contributed to helping the command meet its revenue target, facilitate legitimate trade, and enforce government fiscal/monetary policies in accordance with the Import Guidelines & Documentation Requirements.” “A new terminal, Classic III Bonded Terminal, was said to have been opened under the Command in the field of trade facilitation, in 2021, further enhancing cargo throughput and revenue collection for the Command.”
There is no gain saying the fact that during the fiscal year under review, 30,441 containers were transferred under the fast track, while 58, 234 containers and vehicles were permitted for transit from the Mother Port to Bonded Terminals. Also, 36,496 containers were carried from Tincan Island Port Command across the waterways by barge to Bonded Terminals and the Free Trade Zone after the effective implementation of a Standard Operational Procedure (S.O.P.) on barge movement.
The compliance levels at the port may have improved dramatically as a result of the compliance monitoring efforts,” of the Customs Comptroller and his officers. Informed sources told The Magazine that here were 2,484 or 1.5% interventions out of 166,903 SGDs registered in 2021.
This is an increase in compliance of about 63.4 percent above the 2019 compliance rating of 15,295 (9.4% out of 162,110 SGDs registered. In the field of enforcement and anti-smuggling, the Command, in partnership with the NDLEA, discovered 43.110kg of cocaine hidden in 40 bags of raw sugar packaged in bulk aboard the MV SPAR SCORPIO. In conjunction with the seizure, twenty suspects and the vessel were arrested but he Court had ordered the Command to hand over the case file, vessel, and suspects to the NDLEA, in accordance with Standard Operational Procedures.
Two automatic weapons with 164 rounds of live Cateridges were also intercepted in a 1x40ft container MEDU 49022/5, and have since been handed over to the, Department of State Services, DSS. The Command Enforcement team wwere said to have also intercepted and seized 151 containers, consisting of 149 X40ft, two X20ft, and 9 uncontainerized cargo, with a total Duty Payable Value ,DPV, of =N=607,348,617.00.
“In the Area of of exports, the total tonnage of goods exported through the Port for the year under review was one million, seven hundred and twentythree thousand, nine hundred and eightysix metric tons, (1,725,987.02MT) with a total Free On Board, F.O.B. value of one hundred and fortyone billion, nine hundred and eightyfive million, one hundred and nine thousand, one hundred and nine thousand, one hundred and nine thousand, one hundred and nine thousand, one hundred and nine Thousand, One Hundred and FiftyNine Naira Only (141,985,109,159.00).
“Although the Federal Government, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, have made significant efforts to address infrastructure and logistics challenges by’’ repairing port access roads, creating a more organized exit and entry system for cargo trucks, providing and installing scanners at the ports’’, the Tincan Island Area Comptroller, is optimistic that these efforts will be sustained this 2022 ‘’to create a more user friendly port that meets international standards and enables the facilitation of Legitimate trade to deliver on the service mandate .
Despite the aforesaid advancements, the lack of government warehouses near the port and the sloppiness with which existing customs procedures governing the treatment of extra cargo by terminal operators are applied remains a problem that
equires special attention.
“The timely transfer of overtime cargo from the mother Port and some Bonded Terminals to Government warehouses, as well as the application of due process as required by law, will not only decongest the port by removing abandoned or overtime containers, but it will also improve cargo throughput and, as a result, increase revenue collection’’, Musa had said.
“In this fiscay year, 2022, with the approval and implementation of the eCustoms project and its content of digitisation of all customs processes and procedures,’’ our projections will include improved revenue collection, facilitation of legitimate trade, and enhancement of the capacity and skills of officers and men of the Command as we continue to work in line with the CGC’s agenda to Reform, Restructure, and Increase Revenue Collection,” the Customs Comptroller further remarked.
The Tin-can Island Customs boss believes that he Command could not have achieve all that much without the support of Hameed Ibrahim Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS and his Management team for providing’’ effective leadership and an enabling environment with the required operational tools for service delivery’’.