PTML: Compt. Ibrahim, Moves Into Action

By Stephen Ubanna

 When Suleiman Bomai, Acing , Assistant Comptroller  General , ACG, Customs Board, and immediate past Area Conroller , Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, Command,  described Comptroller Mahmud Ibrahim his successor as an ‘’experienced  officer  well exposed in Customs Administration  having spent a good number of years  at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , FCT and who is excellent in  in revenue collection  in the different Commands he  had worked in the service and unconcompromising in Enforcement’’, he knew what he was talking  about.

Barely one month on the  saddle as the Area Controller of PTML, Command, Comptroller Ibrahim, appears to have sent a message to the importers with their  agents t that he is still his old self: uncompromising and difficult to bend, meaning that they must do right thing.

He was said to have carried his traits at Tincan Island Command  where he was the Head of the Compliance Unit and Port Harcourt Area II, Command, Onee, where he had serve as the Officer in-charge of the Command exit gate under Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, now overseeing Apapa Customs Command to  PTML.

Informed sources told The Value News that the PTML, new Area Controller, body language may have told the Freight Forwarders that the era  of agents opening and resuming at the Command premises with nothing to do is over.

 A visitor to the Command office at Tin can island Port, would be surprised that the usual crowd of agents at the have disappeared. From the Area Controller’s office side to the exit gate the story is the same:  no crowd. AN agent discloseed that the PTML Customs new Area Controller work is more at the Command office had succeeded in sanitizing.

PTML Terminal

 Even the Terminal officers appear to have cued into the Area Controller’s policy as they are no longer allowing the usual crowd parading as agents and moving  from one office to another  with documents to be signed  as such contacts had been reduced to avoid compromising the officers.  

Insiders told The online Magazine that some aggrieved agents had demonstrated at one of the Command’s vehicle Terminals around Mile II, recently with the intention to frustrate the Terminal officials from doing their work but that was how far they could go. The protest was said to have been put under control , no sooner it was started, but that did not stop the officers from standing on the mandate of the Area Controller that the right thing must be done.

  There are indications that the Command daily revenue has continued to improve in the recent time going by feelers from the response of the importers with their agents who were said to have heeded to the preaching of the Area Controller’’ to be trade compliant    by making correct declarations and paying appropriate duties  on imported Consignments  to avoid playing into his hands.

 Those who were said to have dared him would never forget their experience in a hurry as they were said to have been issued Demand Notice, DN which they had considered outrageous.Many believe that the DN, could be high because the government had rolled over the provisions of the 2022, Fiscal policy and Tariff Amendments into 2023, policy., meaning that the  Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Common External Tariff, CET,   2022-2026, comprising  of Import Adjustment  Tax, with additional  levy , on 172  tariff lines extant  ECOWAS CET, were retained.

 A source confirmed that history was about to repeat itself at the Command, recently, as some of the agents whose clients were issued, DN, on their vehicle imports, which they had considered outrageous,had tried to use their contacts both within and outside the Command, to get the Area Controller to  cancel it and reissue a favourable  DN,  to them but found it difficult to bend him. It was gathered that his response to those seeking such favours from him i: Go and pay the DN, slammed on your client as it can never be reversed.

 Some of the agents whose clients were said have contravened the government Fiscal policy may have realised that Comptroller Ibrahim is working according to the mandate of Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, that they have stopped bothering him with such requests but to go and pay the DN, issued their client without Complaint.  Investigations by The Magazine shows that the most affected are the Vehicle importers, who over the years had been cutting corners with the support of officers on the Vehicle Seat who aid and abet them.

 Maritime analysts  believe that the Customs Comptroller may have known much  about the tricks of the vehicle importers with their agents  to shortchange the government when he was the Officer –in –charge of the Tincan Island Command  Compliance unit as he never  give a breather to the importers  that even the agents whose clients vehicles were released but had one reason or the other to represent the document to his office for vetting knew that he would always  find  fault that would warrant him to  recommend that a DN, be issued to the importer.

 It was not surprising why the PTML, agents, involved in vehicle clearing at the Terminal, knew that the game and the right thing must be dome or their client will get a DN and which must be paid as Comptroller Ibrahim would never go back on his words.

 Officers who have had the opportunity of working under him over the years but are now at PTML, may have learnt a lot from him that they stand for the right thing to be done as they will never compromise on their job to ensure that government revenue target are met and even surpassed.   

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