Revenue : ‘’We will Surprise Nigeria’’  – Compt. Oloyede

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By Stephen Ubanna

 Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede, Area Controller, Tin can Island Command has given an insight  why the Command  would surprise Nigerian  this 2022, Fiscal year, in its revenue generation as the country approach the month of December. He has his reason. This is because the Command has virtually blocked all areas of revenue leakage at the port as obtained at PortHarcourt Area II, Onne Command, under the close watch of Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, which had genereated N115. 26 billion in six months despite the decline in the volume  of throughput through the port.

 The Tican Island Customs Comptroller who  had cited the issue of Machine Outside, MO, which was a major problem  AT the Tincan Island Command   over the years , leading to loss of billions of naira in government revenue disclosed  that the  matter had been addressed with the Automation of its operations.

 He had said that the Information Communication Staff, ICT, personnel who are  always on the  system 24 hours looking through  the back ends to know what the trading public  are doing  ‘’to ensure that they do  not against the system  since they are allowed to work 24 hours in their own system’’ have been able block to block all loopholes that may be used by the Agents to take delivery of their client’s cargoes at the port.

Compt. Oloyede: Signature Forged By A Syndicate To exit Vehicles From Tin can Island Port

 He gave an instance of the at  incident at  Five Star Logistics Terminal  that was said to have been discovered  while profiling the Concessionaire  payments  in three months of its  operations at the port. The Command ICT facility  had triggered off  when  it found an unpaid Assessment bill  of N97.3 billion.

 The Customs Comptroller who had been on the case with the Five Star Logistics Management was said to  have   communicated to Hameed Ali, a  retired Army Colonel and Comptroller, General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS,  about the development.

The Unpaid Assessment debt   was said to have been accumulated within an interval of three months.  The Concessionaire may not have known much  about the fraud  but Complete Oloyede had blamed it over their inability to protect the facility  that was given to them manage   to ensure that’’ the right thing was  done by the trading public’’. The discovery of the N97.3 billion unpaid Assessment debt at  the Five Star Logistics Terminal , may have  sent a signal to other Terminal operators at the port  that it is no longer going to be business as usual as the system could always trigger off at the  time if any unpaid Assessment was discovered.

On Friday, July 22, 2022, the Customs Comptroller, had broken the good news that the Concessionaire, which handles the only RORO, facility at the Tincan Island port has paid the N97.3 billion debt, stating that the receipt is  already with him. He had said that the Concessionaire had given reasons why it will not pay the debt but had   to pay it because the system does not work like that.

 Although, the Concessionaire had paid the outstanding N97.3 million debt as confirmed Comptroller Oloyede, he  had said that he do not  have the powers to order the reopening of the Terminal for full operation.  This is  because issue had been investigate  at the instance of the Comptroller General  and it must still go round through the same process for the Customs helmsman to confirm

 the Concessionaire  repayment,  notwithstanding the  receipt of payment was already  on his table.  He has made importers with their agents who are lamenting   of the impending huge economic loss to the nation due to Fiver Star Logistics Terminal closure that it was not closed as the staff are still doing their work.

 He may have kept the agents, particular, on a state of confusion when he opined that as soon as the Customs Comptroller General gives the order for the reopening of the terminal officially for the trading public, he will not hesitate to do so. Officials of Five Star Logistics Terminal for now, may have learnt their Lesson from the deactivation of their access point to the Customs portal that they may have blocked all loopholes exploited by Importers with their Agents to shortchange the government.

 Note that vehicle imports through the Tincan Island port alone, accounts for about 30 percent of the Command total annual revenue. Uche Ejesieme, a Chief Superintendent of Customs had said  that Five Stars Logistics Terminal  is very criticical to the Command Operations andcontribution to its  yearly revenue generations.

 Comptroller Oloyede  may have shocked Nigerians when hen he revealed that  since the deactivation  of the the Concessionaire  access to its portal because of its inability to protect it, in the last one month, the Command daily revenue had hit N 2.5 billion, stressing that the Command had also collected N4.2 billion for the government.

It was not surprising why the Tin can Island Customs  Comptroller could beat his chest  that the Command will surprise the nation this year  when he disclosed that Mercedes Benz and other brands of vehicles not captured in the Customs portal have been  included as ‘’the system has been updated’’.

He asserted  that ‘’the implementation  of the Vin-Valuation  data service, which depends  solely  on the information  stored on the Customs   and third party  databases to determine the value of the imported  vehicle for the purpose  of determining Customs duty’’,  based on   its  unique Identification  , known as the Chasis Number, would certainly  help to  jerk up the Command’s daily  revenue from imported vehicles.

Giving an insider information about the VIN –Valuation service as a digital guru,  he disclosed that ‘’the objective  is to simplify  and facilitate  the Customs  clearance process  of Legitimately imported vehicles  by providing  uniform, fair and neutral value  across  board  on vehicles with identical brands, model and year of manufacture in  line  with the provisions  of  Article VII of General Agreement  on Tariffs and Trade, GATT,  of 1994’’.   

However, he noted that that there vehicles imported from Dubai ,United Arab Emirate , UAE,  which  are still not captured in the portal. This may have informed why he has asked the Leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders,NAGAFF, National Association of Managing Directors Of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, and  other Associations, to provide the Command  with the list of vehicle brands that are still not yet captured in the Customs portal for  proper valuation.

Besides the implementation of the VIN-Valuation service expected to boost the Command’s  daily revenue generation  at the Tin can Island Command,  Comptroller Oloyede, who could not hide his feelings had said  that the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures  based on the Economic Community of West African States, Common  External Tariff,  ECOWAS CET,  which include ‘’ the introduction of  excise duty  on non –alcoholic beverages, cigarettes,  and tobacco products as well as Telecommunication services was another major  boost to its revenue collections.

Note that the 2022, Fiscal Policy Measure, as  approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for implementation by  the NCS, which was made up, of  2022-26, Supplementary Protection Measures, SPM,  for implementation  of the ECOWAS CET, the Annex I, had introduced an  Import Adjustment Tax, IAT which included additional taxes and levy On 172  tariff lines  of extant ECOWAS CET goods.

The  Customs Comptroller  further  said  that’’ the  utilizationchapters, 98 and 99,  initially reserved  by the World Customs Organisation for  contracting parties will boost its revenue generation  during the year. The two WCO chapters, he had said ‘’ accommodate imports by bonafide assemblers  and manufacturers  who use these products of input in the  critical sectors of the economy.

He noted that initially goods in these WCO Chapters  were prohibited from exportation but with the 2022 Fiscal Policy  which allows such goods imports into Nigeria to be exported subject to  payment  of 2.5%  of the current market value of the items being exported, will further increase  its monthly   revenue generation  or the government.

 He had volunteered information  that between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022, the Command  had generated and  paid into the Federation Account about N274. 321 billion, which shows a 27% increase over the revenue collection by the Command within the same period in 2021.

 The Tin can Island Customs boss, believes that the deployment of the Customs non –intrusive scanners for examination of cargoes at the port would add to its revenue collections. This is because of the hundreds of Containerised cargoes that would be examined daily compared to the few Containers   the   examined manually on a daily basis as delays would be eliminated.

Indeed, while Comptroller Oloyede is still optimistic of surprising Nigerians in its revenue collection this Fiscal year, he still has one major challenge at hand to tackle at port : forging of his signature by desperate Agents to exit their cargo from the port.  The Tin can Island Customs boss had confirmed   that a syndicate of four Agents who specialize in forging  signature  had forged his signature to take delivery of their  vehicles from the port  were not lucky as they were caught in the act by Customs personnel on duty at the Terminal. 

Many believe that the syndicate could forge the Area Controller’s signature to take delivery of their clients’, vehicles because the signature aspect of Area Controllers has not been automated. The Customs Comptroller had confirmed   that the syndicate had attempted  to use  his  forged  signature  to exit four units  of used truck heads,  one unit of  used Toyota Sequoia, 2008 model, one unit of used Mercedes Benz, GL450, 2008 model and one unit  of used 2011 Toyota Runner but were disappointed  because of the tight security at the port.

.  They were said to have been promptly arrested by eagle eye officers at the port and subsequently detained.  The high profile agents, as described by the Tincan Island Area Controller were said to have been handed over  to the police for further investigation. According a Customs Lawyer, who spoke with the Value News  Platform, the case is still on going and may not be resolved in one day as a 2016, case is still on the Area Controller’s office, awaiting Court judgment on it.   

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