Customs: Why Tin Can Island Command Is Making A Headway In Revenue Collections

By Stephen  Ubanna

 The last may not have been heard  why the Tin Can Island Command, one of the major Commands of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, which Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS, so much depend on to realise the yearly target set for it by the government had sustained  the trillion naira target reached in 2017.

This is because there have been remarkable improvement  in  importers with their  agents  Compliance  to the government fiscal policies. At Tin Can Island Command,  Mahmud Ibrahim, a Deputy Comptroller, who is in=charge of the Command  Compliance and Monitoring Unit was said to have made it Compulsory  that all cargoes released from the port must be import Compliant.

Until, his deployment to the Unit from Donclimax Bonded Terminal , by Abdulahi Musa, popular, MBA, the Area Comptroller,  who  may  not have known much of him, the Command’s monthly  revenue generation which  was nothing but good has gone up, thus competing with the Apapa Command, which was said to have had unbeatable record in revenue generation over the years.

But Ibrahim , appears to have demonstrated that he is the master of the game of revenue generation  as he  was said to have  tightened up the noose against  all areas of  leakage at the Command, forcing the  importers with their agents to be Compliant  in their declarations. Those who were said to  have  tried to be smart with their declarations with the intention to deceive the Customs personnel   would never forget their experience in a hurry as they have been  issued with  Demand Notice, DN, as a deterrence to others.  

Investigations  by The Value News shows that the recalcitrant ones, who are mostly agents of indigenous importers, who were said to have protested   the DN , issued to them were said t have been asked to lodge their Complaint  to Musa , the Area Comptroller for  review of their  case as they could  not summon the courage to face  Ibrahim, regarded in Customs circles as a revenue mobiliser as his decisions  could hardly be faulted  by the Area  Comptroller as all  the  conditions that may  have  warranted the issuance of such a DN,  have been met.

Many believe that  Musa,   a World Customs Organisation, WCO, trained Classification and Valuation expert, could not have  deployed from Donclimax Bonded Terminal  Ibrahim  to Head such a sensitive Department,  which agents  believe had transformed   the Command revenue Collection  and reporting system   with the implementation  of the Nigerian Integrated  Customs Information System, NCIS ,  without a close monitoring of his performance at the Terminal.

Insiders told The Magazine  that  with the insistence of  the Customs Deputy Comptroller in-charge  of the Command  Compliance and Monitoring  Unit,  the fear of DN,  steering importers with their agents on the face may have   forced  them  to be  making correct declarations to ensure that appropriate duties are paid.  It is  not surprising  why  Comptroller MBA, could  beat his chest that the Command would surpass the  2019 revenue target  with a wide margin .

President Muhammadu Buhari, closure of the Borders with the neighboring West African  countries of Republic  of Benin, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroon,  over the last two months , which was said to have  improved the cargo traffic at the Terminals under the Tin-can Island port may have shown that  Ibrahim is a workaholic as, close associates , said he is always on his desktop comparing the value of imported goods to Nigeria  from the Asian of Nigeria, India, Europe and the United  States, US, and other  countries ,  to ensure that  importers  pay the appropriate  duties into government coffers  without compromise

. The  over N84 billion generated by the Command in the first quarter of 2019 , speaks volume. The Customs Deputy Comptroller may have been given more jobs to do to cover up for the Valuation  Unit, which judgment, most often had been suspect  as the government  lost billions naira  revenue had been recovered   because of the government  directive that  all  Pharmaceutical  products must be cleared  from the ports. Before now,  Pharmaceutical  products could be cleared outside the port  terminals.

Insiders disclosed that through his direct interventions, the Compliance  and  Monitoring Unit under his close watch had recover  well over N3.4 billion given his Information Communication Technology, ICT knowledge  to uncover false declarations and other infractions. This may have  informed  why stakeholders see him as an asset  to the Service and his contributions to revenue generation and anti-smuggling  activities in all the Commands he had served in the past and now speaks volume.

Not many people are surprised at  the performance of the Kogi state born Deputy Customs Comptroller, \ at Tin Can Island Command  because  of the job training he may have received  from Victor Dimka, a Customs Comptroller, regarded  as an encyclopedia of Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA and anti-smuggling guru.

From his Cadet days, and now , he  was  said to have served in various  Area Commands including Tin-Can Island, his current Command, where he was said  to have  to have exhibited his  clear  understanding of the technicalities of the job, which had informed the monumental achievements.

Born 1963, an elated Ibrahim, who was decorated as a Deputy  Comptroller in the recent in the just released promotion list approved by the HHajia Zainab Ahmed , minister of Finance, Budget and National planning, led  Customs Board, had enlisted in the Service in 1991, as a Cadet officer.  An appreciative Musa, the Command Comptroller was said to have given him a bottle of  drink and other senior officers  who scaled the promotion hurdle.

 Note that as part of the on the job training,  he was said to have  attended  various Courses on Valuation, Risk Management and Cargo Selectivity, Corporate Governance, Leadership, System Audit, anti-smuggling Operations both within and  outside the country. 

A graduate of Estate Management, Ibrahim also has a Masters’  degree  in Business Administration, MBA, which has exposed to every facet of business analysis. An Associate member of  the  Nigerian Institute of  Estate Surveyors, Valuers  and National Institute of Management. Ibrahim is happily married with  Children. 

Described as a voracious reader,  his other hobbies  include writing  and Sports.

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