Abiola Seun |
The federal government has continued to reap the benefits of the recent closure of the nation’s land borders to import and export as shippers re-route already diverted cargoes to Cotonou, Benin Republic seaports back to Lagos port.
Speaking yesterday at the media briefing on the activities of the Apapa Area Command from January 1st to December 18th 2019, the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC), Compt. Mohammed Abba -Kura said since the beginning of the border closure, the command’s revenue have been on the increase.
According to him, the command generated N414billion from January to December 18th 2019 as against N404billion generated between January to December 2018.
Giving the breakdown, Compt. Abba-Kura said the command generated N112 billion between September to November 2019 as against N95billion generated in 2018 giving a difference of N17billion.
He said, “The land border closure has partly increased our revenue because if we look at the revenue profile of the command since the closure, you will see that every month, there are increment.”
The amount collected N414billion from January to December 19th 2019 however translates into about 111percent of the 2019 annual revenue target and in achieving this, the complementary roles of units likes the Customs intelligence unit (CIU) and valuation unit among others is specially acknowledged.”
The controller who however asked Nigeria to patronise made in Nigeria goods disclosed that importers have contacted him on plans to reroute trapped cargoes at borders and neighbouring countries ports.
“Nigeria should be patriotic and look inward to grow our economy because the border closure is an opportunity to let us grow. Though, importers taught the closure will be a month or two but now that they know it won’t end anytime soon, they came to ask if they can bring cargoes already in Cotonou and trapped at the border posts.”
He however said he told them not to alter the original port of origin so as not to lose revenue to the federal government.
The Controller further stated that the command had the highest revenue figure of N42, 726 billion in the month of October, which is the peak of the border closure. This precedent according to him, gives evidence to positive impacts of the policy, which has reduced incidences of smuggling through the land border and increased legitimate imports through the seaports tremendously.
Speaking on anti-smuggling, he said within the period under review, the Command seized a total of 112 containers of various items that flouted import procedures. He added that most notable among these items are pharmaceutical products, which include tramadol that were imported without necessary approval from regulatory agencies like NAFDAC.
His words, “Other items include Tomato paste, vegetable oil, ladies and girls fashion wears, expired rice, armoured glasses without End User Certificate (EUC) and drilling pipes labelled in foreign language etc. It is pertinent to emphasise here that virtually all these seized items are in gross violation of our extant laws and import guidelines. The Duty Paid Value (DPV) for these seizures stood at N12.8 billion.”
In the area of export, he said the Command recorded high level of compliance on export declaration. Within the period under review, he said the Command also recorded a total of volume 262, 095.09 metric tons of exported goods with Free on Board (FOB) value of $132.760 million.
He explained that most exported items were agricultural and mineral products. He therefore, urged exporters using the Apapa Port, to always ensure that minimum International standards are met before exporting their consignment to avoid the recurrent incidences of returning consignments after export.
He also appealed to the importers of pharmaceutical products to respect and comply with the country’s guidelines on importation of these products to rid the nation of counterfeited and prohibited medicaments with its attendant consequences to the nation.
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