-by Barnabas Esiet.
The Tincan Island Port command of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), under the dynamic leadership of Comptroller, Musa Abdulahi, has witnessed unprecedented growth in revenue despite adverse headwinds during the 2020 fiscal year.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the command, Uche Ejesieme, who disclosed this in an exclusive chat with newsmen in Lagos, noted that the laudable achievement is owing particularly to innovations in the command’s operational architecture introduced by Comptroller Abdulahi with the support of the Comptroller General of NCS, Hameed Ali.
Comptroller General of NCS, Hameed Ali
He said as at January 2019, the command recorded N346.6bn revenue, exceeding target by over N4bn and this year as at December 21, N349.9bn out of the projected N350bn has already been realized.
In his words, “The year has been very challenging, we started with the pandemic to the protest and now we are facing a new wave of the pandemic and technically perhaps another lockdown, but despite all that, the NCS has been doing its best by the Grace of God and with the facilities put in place, we’ve been able to block leakages to collect maximum revenue.”
“This year as at December 21, we’ve generated N349.9bn, almost superseding the figure we recorded last year even though the year has not yet ended, our target for the current year is N350.6bn. This improvement is attributable to the quality leadership provided by the comptroller General, Ali.” Ejesieme noted.
NCS Comptroller, Tincan Port, Musa Abdulahi
On efforts by the NCS to integrate technology into its operations, the PRO said scanners have already been approved for use in the nation’s ports, land borders and other critical areas of operation which would help improve effectiveness and efficiency in no small measure.
“Recently the comptroller General, Hameed Ali, announced the approval of scanners by the federal government for our operations, we’re expecting that any moment from now we will start to see the use of these scanners in the sea ports, land borders and in all areas of critical operation,” he said.
“With the scanners we believe our operations would be seamless, faster and timely. We also have aerial surveillance aircraft like the helicopter that sends data to the ground operatives to process and adapt for appropriate uses.” Ejesieme added.
NCS National PRO, Deputy Comptroller, Joseph Attah
With respect to collaboration with other stakeholders, the Tincan Command PRO said they are in constant synergy with them. “In this command we arrange for stakeholders meeting every fortnight where we review our activities, compare notes, share information, intelligence and remind ourselves of our statutory responsibilities towards achieving government’s set goals in our various capacities”.
Responding to inquiries on the command’s efforts to fight smuggling and other forms of criminality, the PRO said three categories of clients have been identified, ‘in the course of our operations over the years, we’ve been able to identify three categories of clients ; voluntary complaint, the undecided and the recalcitrant. I categorize them in my own understanding based on some of our findings”.
“The compliant ones are mainly multinationals who always pay their dues without cutting corners, the second set require constant supervision and guidance while the third group comprises those who often seek to cut corners through forgeries, even if their wares attract zero duty. This set is the one we’re focusing our surveillance on as we cannot afford to sit back and watch while they scuttle the efforts of the NCS and the federal government to facilitate trade, ease of doing business and speedy clearing time. “He added.
NCS PRO, Tincan Port Command, Uche Ejesieme, busy in his office
On conflict resolution, Ejesieme said the Comptroller General has constituted a committee to identify bottlenecks in the course of transactions and resolve them amicably. He noted that a help desk, domiciled in the PRO office, is also available to sort out issues.
Regarding the preparedness of the Service for the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AcFTA), the PRO said the borders closure by the federal government was a dress rehearsal for the project.”it was compelling for the borders to be closed to check some irregularities and illegal imports the country was able to achieve some of the objectives as even producers within the country especially those in the agriculture value chain benefited immensely.”
Ejesieme gave assurance that the NCS is well prepared after learning from the borders closure and would expect that all originating goods would align with extant laws as these goods would be escorted across the borders.
NCS PRO, Tincan Port Command, Uche Ejesieme
He commended the Comptroller General, the Tincan Port Comptroller, Abdulahi and the National PRO, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, for making his work easier through their unrelenting support.