By Stephen Ubanna
More facts have emerged why the Tin-can Island Command , under the close watch of Mohammed Abdullahi Musa, the Area Comptroller, collected about 179.3 billion on imports and exports including levies and fees , between January and July 10, 2019.
This is because the Command Compliance Unit, Headed by Mahmood Ibrahim, an Assistance Comptroller, and his officers who are daily looking into the import documents from clearing agents that had to pass through the Compliance office and are daily discovering cases of under payment.Ibrahim and his officers were said to have recovered billions of naira for the Command in the last six months and ten days into the month month of July.
The Value News learnt that the Customs Assistant Comptroller, regarded in Customs Circles, as a revenue wizard, is daily working on his Comptrollers to know the exact value of goods imported into the country through the Tincan Island port, which had already been valued by the officers of the Valuation Seat but found to have been undervalued. this has helped him in recommending the appropriate Demand
It was learned that within the six months under review, the Ibrahim led Compliance Unit had recovered billions of naira for the Command which could have gone into private pockets. It was gathered that there have been cases where most of the importers with their agents whose dirty deals at the port in connivance with their Customs Collaborators at the port had been uncovered who could not pay the DN, slammed on them but had preferred to forfeit the items to the government.
Insiders informed the Magazine what that may have boosted the half year revenue generation of the Command also depends on the type of Consignment imported through the port and the rate of duties. Note that the 15 -member countries of Economic Community of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, had adopted a Common External Tariff, CET, which could be domesticated by member countries to suit their economic and fiscal policies.
The current CET of the sub-region, according to Customs sources which kick-started in 2015 will expire this 2019, to give way for release of another CET document. Recall that in 2026 alone, President Muhammadu Buhari had given approval for the reduction of the duty on 26 items but the tariffs other 144 items had remained unchanged. One of such high yielding item which duty was reviewed upwards was foreign rice. Another was Automobiles. It was not surprising why the combination of the revenue generated through the issuance of DN to non Compliant Importers and the rates of duty on type of Consignment imported through the seaport had repeatedly shored up the revenue of the Command, on a monthly basis.
But Uche Ejesieme, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs and the Command Image maker was said to have attributed the phenomenal increase in the revenue generation of the Command between January and JULY 10, 2019, to the ”renewed enthusiasm and development of Standard Operational Procedures, SOP, for operational efficiency”.
Ejesieme who could not hide his feelings noted that the Command under Musa, had witnessed a major paradidigm in its functions which had provided the needed impetus for the” smooth ”implementation of the Presidential directive on the ease of doing business at the nation’s seaports”.
Musa, the Area Comptroller , said the Command has gone beyond ”revenue generation to creating the enabling environment for legitimate business to thrive with the Presidential mandate”. This may have informed the reason why he described the port as a ”hub and most friendly with remarkable facilities in the West African sub-region.
According to him, the ”resolve by the Command is to ”achieve speedy clearance of cargo from the ports and reduce the cost of doing business” to attract more importers to the port. Given an insider information, he disclosed that based on the strategies put in place to boost the monthly revenue generation of the Command, the highest revenue of about N 32.4 billion , was collected by the Command in the month of May, while the least amount was collected in the month of March. Maritime waters believe what the high level of revenue generated by the Command in the month of May 2019, was not different from what was collected 2018. The Command had generated about N30.13 billion but generated the worst revenue generation in the month of February . it was said to have generated N23, 44 billion during the period.
Many believe that the revenue generation of the Command in the second half of the year would be much higher than the amount realised between January to June, because of the Central Bank of Nigerian , CBN, policy which had had fixed the exchange rate of all imported goods into the country at N326.00 To a dollar. This translates to N326.00 to the dollar exchange rate in the cost of clearing such Consignmenst.
While Muhammed Abba-Kura, Comptroller, Apapa Command, could give kudos for the officers of the Command export Seat for handling a total of 95,229.15 metric tons of exported
Note that there have complaints of ”no work by officers attached to the Command Export Set . But going by the report released from the Command, the total cargo handled f by the export Seat within the period u nder review was much higher than that of Apapa Command. Musa, the Command, Area Comptroller disclosed that the export Seat handled a total of 150.930.7 metric tons, of exportable products with FOB, value of about N70 billion as against N 63.11 billion, achieved in 2018.
There is no gain saying he fact that exporters may have found the Tin-can Island port more attractive to do their business because of the structures found on ground to enhance trade facilitation in line with the government policy.
Perhaps, to further enhance the Command revenue generation through exports, it has begun a sensitisation Campaign to create more awareness that would encourage more exporters to venture into the business and use of the Tincan Island Port.
The Tin-can Island Customs Comptroller may have taken a cue from Mohammed Abba-
Given an insider information, he said the Command Enforcement Unit, Headed by Dera Nnadi, a Deputy Comptroller, recorded a seizure of 5X”40” and 4 X ”20”,Containers carrying different imported goods , which maritime Observers are mostly from China and India.
The Tincan Island, Customs boss, revealed that the items mostly found in the Containers were second hand tyres, and rims, 50Kg bags of foreign parboiled rice, cartons of tramadol drug and other prohibited Pharmaceutical drugs with a Duty Paid Value of about N 159.22 billion. The drugs were linked to India Pharmaceutical Companies.
It is instructive to not that worried by the problems of Congestion at the port, Musa and his management team, were said to have worked out an actionable modalities for the purpose of transferring Containerised cargoes from the port to the off dock terminals using barges.
The Customs Comptroller is optimistic that i the policy would go a long way to speed up the cargo delivery” at the port, given the fact that ”cargo throughput is increasing by the day as road infrastructure had been overstretched.
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