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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