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COVID-19: Terminal Operators Decry Continued Physical Examination of Cargoes

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Terminal Operators Physical Examination of Cargoes

COVID-19: Terminal Operators Decry Continued Physical Examination of Cargoes

The Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has shown worry at the continued manual examination of cargoes at the seaports in the face of the current global coronavirus pandemic crisis.

The Chairman of the association, Princess Vicky Haastrup, expressed the worry in a statement in Lagos.

According to the chairman, there is a need for the Nigeria Customs Service to deploy technology to drive the process.

She said that the manual examination of cargoes was not efficient and did not promote social distancing.

”We have a situation where people must visit the port physically to do customs documentation and cargo examination before they can take delivery of their consignments; this is not safe at this time of health concerns; it is also inefficient.

”The Nigeria Customs Service should do everything possible to install functional scanners at the ports to reduce physical examination of cargoes to reduce human contacts.

”Customs should also make it possible for consignees to process their released documents and make necessary duty payments online, without visiting the ports or customs commands,” she said.

The chairman added that there was the need to reduce the number of government agencies participating in cargo examination at the ports in addition to reducing the number of checks carried out on cleared cargos both inside and outside the ports.

”Customs clearing process must become smart at this time,” she said.

She urged that due to the declining oil revenues, Nigeria must begin to make deliberate attempts to shift its balance of trade.

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According to Haastrup, Nigeria must move quickly from being a net importer to a net exporter of food.

She urged the Federal Government to support farmers more for better agricultural yields that would attract international market.

”Farmers will also need to be supported in reducing wastages experienced during harvests and in the course of getting their produce to the market.

”Funding and logistics support for farmers are also of great importance at this time.

”Adequate storage, inventory management and transportation are key activities that represent the most serious constraints facing our agric export today. These will need to be addressed by governments,” she said.

According to the chairman, governments should also strive to simplify the cumbersome processes and bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with documentation and processing of export cargoes.

She noted that at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, terminal operators engaged the Federal Government on the need to ensure that the nation’s seaports remained open during lockdowns so as to ensure that the supply chain was not disrupted.

”The ports had to remain open to ensure that there was no shortage of food, drugs and other essential supplies to Nigerians.

”The shipping sector is key in securing continuity of economic activities, ensuring supply chains to industries, transportation of essential goods, including energy and food supplies, transportation of vital medical and protective equipment.

”The maritime and connected transports were allowed to continue, and government worked actively to support the sector throughout the period of the crisis.

”I am happy that the president and the NPA saw the merit in this argument and classified the ports and shipping operations as essential services during the lockdown, and I give praise to the NPA, Customs and terminal operators for ensuring that the ports operated optimally during this period,” she said.

She said that in addition to sustaining its operations, the association donated N700 million to the Federal Government to support the country’s effort in curtailing the spread of the pandemic.

”We also supported the port community through massive awareness campaigns and donation of various protective items such as facemasks, hand gloves, overalls, hand sanitisers and infrared thermometers – to the NPA, Customs and other government agencies at the various port locations across the country.”

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Customs Corner

Customs MMAC, Western Marine, FCT, FOU Zone ‘B’ Commands Exchange Staff of Office

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Author: Cynthia Idowu; Lagos.

It’s indeed an era of change for the Nigeria Customs Service as the newly elevated senior Customs Officers have been transferred to various Commands as Customs Area Controllers.

The Murtala Muhammed Airport Cargo Command on the 27th of January welcomed the former Coordinator of the Comptroller-General of Customs Strikeforce Team ‘A’, Sani Yusuf to the Command as the new CAC, while the outgoing, Sambo Dangaladima bade farewell to the Command.

Comptroller M I Yusuf receiving the Staff of Office from Comptroller Sambo Dangaladima, the outgoing Comptroller

Handing over

Ag. CAC Comptroller SD Adamu of the Western Marine, handing over baton to the new CAC Comptroller Salefu

In his remark, Sani Yusuf charged the Officers and Men to sustain their level of discipline and improve the revenue collection of the Command. He sought their maximum cooperation to achieve the set objectives in the area of revenue, export, and anti-smuggling.

“I salute the exceptional achievements of the outgoing CAC and I will always refer to him whenever the need arises,” he said.

Comptroller Suleiman Jaji Bomoi

Comptroller Suleiman Jaji Bomoi delivering a farewell speech after handing over to the new FCT CAC, Comptroller Florence N. OGAR-MODEY

Similarly, Comptroller Salefu took over the realms of affairs of Western Marine Command from the Acting Customs Area Controller, SD Adamu at the Command’s headquarters in Ibafon, Apapa. Lagos.

Salefu who has worked in various Customs formations and most recently at the Department of Strategy, Research and Policy (SR&P) at Customs Headquarters, Abuja beaconed on the Operatives of the Western Marine to see “Leadership” as a constant phenomenon, hence their cooperation to suppress smuggling on the waterways to the barest minimum.

Ag. ACG Hamisu Albashir and Comptroller MI Jalo

Ag. ACG Hamisu Albashir and Comptroller MI Jalo holding the official handing-over Note.

The Federal Capital Territory Area Command, was not an exception as Comptroller FN Ogar -Modey applauded the excellent records set by the predecessor, Comptroller Suleiman Jaji Bomoi, and expressed willingness to also, always consult him whenever the need arises, as she takes over the mantle of leadership of the FCT Area Command.

Comptroller Musa Jalo also got his name imprinted as the 22nd Comptroller of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) “B” Kaduna.

While handing over the mantle of leadership to Jalo, the outgoing CAC now Ag. ACG Hamisu Albashir charged the Officers/Men of the Unit to be civil and polite while on patrol duties all the time.

“Do not compare leaders because every human has his inherent strength and weakness, always work together as a team and accord the new CAC, all necessary support to move the Command forward” he emphasized.

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Customs Corner

2022: Customs Tincan Island Command Makes N574bn Revenue, N1.8bn Seizures; Facilitates $589m Export

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Author: Cynthia Idowu; Lagos

The Tincan Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced revenue collection of N574,290,210,599.38 from January to December 2022, indicating an increase of N80bn (16.33%) from the N493,682,369,264.35 collected in 2021.

In the area of export, the Command recorded a significant increase in the FOB of Exports in the period under review to the tune of $589,696,648 (N242,365,322,333.00) as against the $496,075,796 (141,985,109,159.00) recorded in the year 2021, which shows a decrease in Tonnage of Export from 1,723,986.8 in 2021 to 336,179.5 in 2022.

The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede made this known during a press briefing
on Friday at the Command Headquarters in Lagos.

He further disclosed that the increase in revenue was due to the modalities put in place such as the identification of areas of revenue leakages, blocking same, and leveraged on available facilities on the NICIS II Platform for enhanced Risk Management which further enhanced accelerated Customs Clearance Processes, Trade Facilitation and ensured collection of appropriate duties and taxes.

The Command made a total of 38 seizures including 763pkgs of cannabis Sativa weighing 345.1kg with a street value of N714,600,000, 2594 pieces of ammunition, and other prohibited items, with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,846,372,083.50.

A total of 60 suspects were detained during the period under review and were granted administrative bail while the Command has 8 cases pending in court.

The CAC acknowledged the prominent roles played by the Customs Intelligence Unit, Valuation Unit, Federal Operations Unit, CGC Strike Force, and Customs Police as well as interventions of Sister Regulatory Agencies like the NDLEA, NAFDAC, DSS, SON, the Nigeria Police, and others in ensuring the seizures and detentions were made.

Compt. Oloyede pointed out that the Command also ensured robust and continuous stakeholder engagements and collaboration with all sister government agencies and maritime associations, which led to timely intelligence sharing, utilization, and voluntary compliance with the government’s extant laws by the trading public.

“The Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) which is a structure put in place by the Command for prompt resolution of Trade Disputes led to a reduction in average clearance time of such issue laden imports”.

Speaking further on the VIN valuation and automation of 846 procedure, he said: “The VIN Valuation has simplified and facilitated the Customs Clearance Process of imported vehicles by providing a uniform, fair and neutral value across the board on vehicles with identical brands, model and year of manufacture in line with the provisions of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of 1994.

“Regardless, the Command is poised to continue building on the Automation, Simplification, Standardization, and Harmonization of all Customs Processes in line with the Revised Kyoto Convention and international best practices”.

The CAC thanked the
Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Ibrahim Hameed Ali (rtd), and his management, officers and men of the Command, stakeholders, and the media for their support.

He also appreciated sister agencies involved in the export chain with special commendation to the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) for their seamless collaboration in facilitating the clearance process of export-related cargo at the Tincan Island Port Command.

Compt. Oloyede’s 2023 projection for the Command includes an improved revenue profile, facilitation of legitimate trade, and enhanced capacity and skills of officers and men of the Command.

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Customs Corner

Ag. ACG Yusuf Malanta Hands Over Apapa Command to Comptroller Auwal Mohammed

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Authorw: Lucy Ulugbe; Lagos.

Newly Promoted Acting, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Yusuf Malanta has handed over the mantle of leadership of Apapa Command to Comptroller Auwal Mohammed.

Speaking at the handover ceremony which took place at the Command on Friday, the elated out-going Area Controller, Ag. ACG Yusuf Malanta encouraged officers at the Command to extend his successor, Comptroller Mohammed, the same level of support he received while heading the Command.

He described him as a dedicated officer who believes strongly in due process.

“We are now in the era of due process. I know Comptroller Auwal can do it better, he has a much more midas touch”

“I urge the stakeholders to continue to be compliant, the era of cutting corners should stop, go straight and you would be there earlier than you think. Trade can only be predicted when you are compliant” he added.

In response, the new Area Controller, Auwal Mohammed appreciated the outgoing CAC for inheriting a well-structured Command, while also noting that he is ready for the job and prepared to surpass the N1 Trillion revenue generated by the Command in 2022.

“I will make sure we continue to conduct 100% physical examination so that we can account for all cargoes in every container, by so doing, the revenue will be sustained, and when we make the port user-friendly, more volume of trade will come in, and more revenue will be collected and we will surpass the N1 Trillion already achieved”. He said.

As part of efforts to reward excellence, Acg. Malanta presented awards to deserving officers for excellent performance.

“The Service is rewarding those who have played a good role in ensuring that the Customs system is enhanced and compliance is strictly adhered to. However, the fact that your name isn’t called doesn’t mean that your work isn’t recognized. You should continue to blow your trumpets by yourself with exemplary conduct and professionalism”. He said.

One of the recipients of the awards was the public relations officer of the Command, Usman Abubakar.

The awards extended to excellent officers of sister agencies from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

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