Customs: Compt. Ibrahim, Gives PTML, A New Direction, Recovers N477.8million, Lost Government Revenue

By Stephen Ubanna

 Not many are surprised at the substantial works that had been done at Port Terminal Multi- services Limited, PTML, over the last two months targeted at improving the revenue generation of the Command by Compt. Mahmood Ibrahim.

 This is because of his antecedents in all the Commands he had served in the past as Head of Unit, particular,  Tincan Island, where he was the  Head of the Compliant Unit and Port Harcourt Area II, Command, Rivers state, Onne, where he was the Officer-in charge of the exit gate where he was said to have introduced some reforms that had contributed to the Commands’ revenue generation but unsettled the fraudulent importers and agents  at the port.

 It was therefore not very surprising that when he was promoted to the elitist rank of Comptroller and redeployed by Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs service,NCS, to PTML, he did not have any difficulty in hitting the ground running by ensuring that importers  with their agents do the right thing by being’’ trade compliant’’.

 A senior Customs officer, who spoke to The Value News on condition of anonymity disclosed that on assumption of duties last January he was encouraged to rejig the Management team to give the Command a new direction based on what he saw on ground.

  The officer stopped short at saying that he has’’ satinized the Command’’, noting that the Command may not be enjoying the full benefits of the reforms that had be carried for now in terms of revenue generation  but hopes to do so between now and December 31, 2023 and beyond  .

 The  source disclosed that much may not  have been achieved by the Command in terms of revenue generation  in the first quarter of 2023,, because his redeployment to the Command had fallen on the  date fixed  forcountry’s Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as the governorship and state Assembly elections, by Prof.Mahmood Yakubu, led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The February 25, 2023, Presidential and National elections as well as the March 18, governorship and state Assembly elections, was said to have forced most importers, across the country,  to adopt a wait and see attitude in placing orders for cargoes from their foreign Customers, particular, from the Asian countries of China and India.

Even importers whose cargoes including vehicles, have arrived the terminal were said to have abandoned it at the terminal which was said to have adversely affected its first three months of 2023, revenue generation and amount paid into the Federation Account.

PTML: Turned To A Model Terminal

A Statement issued by Yakubu Muhammad, a Chief Superintendent of Customs, CSC, and the Command spokesperson , at the nstance of the Area Controller, shows that despite the elections and the lackadaisical  of the importers and their agents in taking delivery of their cargoes or placing orders for  fresh imports, the Command  generated N43,721.215,776.15,  between January and March, 2023.

Given a breakdown of the monthly revenue generation, he had said the Command generated N13,128, 893,878.68, in the month of January and  N14,748, 081,466.31, in February.  He disclosed that N15,843,240,431.76, was generated and paid into the Federation  Account in the month of March, which was a signal of improved revenue  generation in the months ahead as the elections are over.

  The Customs Comptroller may have known that some fraudulent importers with their agents may want to take advantage of the elections and the low activities at the terminal to try to come up with some bad jobs that he had ‘’blocked all areas of revenue leakage’’ .Even the vehicle Seat which had been known over the years for bad jobs was said to have  suddenly become one of the major sources of revenue for the Command because of the strict supervision of the female Deputy Comptroller ,  overseeing the unit and who has the backing of the Area Controller .

PTML, Car Park

 Muhammad,  the Command , spokesperson,  may have given an insight why the Area Controller has beamed his searchlight on the vehicle Seat and thrown his weight behind the Deputy Comptroller, overseeing the unit  when he said that ‘’the Command  deal more on’’ Roll On, Roll off vehicular cargoes’’.

He had said that both not for ‘’the officers  application of knowledge acquired  through  training  and experience  in protecting  areas of revenue pitfall in the Command  for which Demand Notices, DN, are issued to defaulting importers through their agents, the revenue situation might have been worse  between January and March 31, 2023.

  Being a revenue mobiliser, he had said that the Command Area Controller, acting on the recommendations of his unit Heads  had recovered  n477.8 million, lost revenue for the government in this first quarter of  2023. Note that this is money that could have entered into private accounts of the fraudulent importers and agents both not for the strict measures put in place to block areas of revenue leakage by the Customs Comptroller.

Besides the recovery of the huge amount for the government in three months, it was said to have made two major seizures of Containerised cargoes, which according to valuation experts, have a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N10,487,800.00, that were said to have contravened the  government 2023, fiscal policy.  The two seized Containers: marked ACLU9664782 and ACLU9715690, were said to have been laden with 2,598 pieces of used tyres, 18 pieces of used washing machines and fridges, mattresses and other household items, which are liable to outright seizure.

PTML: Stalked Containeried Cargoes

 CSC.Muhammad, the PTML, spokesperson, who may have spoken the mind1 of the Area Controller, when he disclosed that the Command  achieved a major milestone during the period under review by gaining  access  to Godwin Emefile led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, ‘’Trade Monitoring  System, TRMS, portal, which an inside informed The Value News online Magazine that’’ it makes inspection of declaration  easier and faster’’.

Tere is no gainsaying the fact  that through Comptroller Ibrahim’s close supervision and monitoring about what is happening at the terminals, using  his Close Circuit Television, CCTV, and reports from informants,   ‘’there has been a remarkable improvement  in the conduct  of examination  of cargoes by officers’’, thus ‘’preserving  the record four-hour clearance  time of vehicles for compliant declarants at the terminal’’, a record yet to be matched by- Tincan Island Command, Five Star terminal, meant for all vehicles import through the port.

Given the government drive to encourage  more export of Nigerian goods, to the international Commodity market, the Command was said to have handled and   processed a total  of 1,932 Containers s document between January and March 31, 2023, which according to the Customs Area Controller, weighed a total tonnage of 38, 137, 66, with Free on Board, FOB,  value of  $48,,006,020.41 or N20,272,942,419.14, going by the current official exchange rate of N422.3 to the North American country of the United States, US,  one dollar.

An appreciative Comptroller Ibrahim had said that the Command could not have achieved all that under his Leadership within the short period without ‘’ the support and motivation of Ali, the Customs Comptroller General’’.  

 Aware of what obtains in other Customs Command nationwide, the PTML Customs boss,  described as a ‘’workaholic’’ in Customs circles may have taken ‘’the well-being  of the officers on duty in the Command very serious  that he had sought the approval and financial backing of the Headquarters to establish  a fully equipped  clinic ‘’to address officers matters while  at work’’. T The increased patronage of the clinic within the short period of its existence speaks volume, an indications that many officers are suffering in silence  while on duty.

Many believe that if past Area Controllers of the Command had deemed it necessary to establish such a clinic in the Command, Comptroller Ibrahim would have channeled the money approved for the establishment of the clinic to other areas that requires immediate attention in the Command.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *