By Bon Peters, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
The Nigeria Customs Service Area 1, Command Port Harcourt Rivers state says that despite some daunting challenges in the Maritime sector, the Command had been able to generate and collect the total sum of Fifty Seven Billion, Four Hundred and Five Million, Eight hundred and Thirty Four Thousand, Four hundred and Twenty Naira and Sixty Eight Kobo (₦57,405,834,420.68) from January to July, 2023.
Disclosing this to newsmen Monday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, the Customs Area 1 Controller, Comptroller CD Wada said When compared to the corresponding period of 2022, which stood at Fifty One Billion, Eight Hundred and Sixty Eight Million, Three hundred and Thirty Four Thousand, Three hundred and Ten Naira, and Fifty One Kobo (₦51,868,334,310.51),there was a significant difference of Five Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand, One hundred and Ten Naira (₦5,537,500,110.00)which was realized.
According to him, the difference in these figures represents a 10.6 per cent increase in the revenue figure.
He noted that apart from the month of April where the Maritime sector experienced a global shipping downtime, which affected the revenue of the Command’s records, every other month had surpassed its corresponding months of the year 2022, adding that the significant milestone was achieved in the month of March where the sum of Eleven Billion, Six Hundred and Seventy Five Million, Nine Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirty Seven Naira and Ninety Nine Kobo (₦11,675,918,637.99) was realized, as against Eight Billion, Three Hundred and Ten Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Three Naira and Sixty Nine Kobo (₦8,310,978,933.69) of March 2022.
Comptroller Wada however, stressed that such “feat could not have been achieved without painstakingly engaging with our critical stakeholders through several forms of sensitization programs and other forms of training particularly on issues of Non-conformity with statutory clearance procedures.” even as he emphasized that the feedback the Command got could be attributed to some of their successes. He said the Command also insisted that all unpaid assessment must be paid.
Speaking on intervention, in terms of additional value through interventions, the Command generated a total sum of Nine Hundred and Eighty Eight Million, One Hundred and Twenty Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Four Naira (₦988,127,504) in the period under review. He added that “this interventions were derived from Demand Notices (DN) issued to importers with infractions on their importation.”
In the aspect of Anti-Smuggling activities, Comptroller Wada also disclosed that the Command had put more emphasis on 100 percent physical examination policy of the service, and as a result, some containers suspected to have falsely declared had been placed under detention, pending further investigation. Comptroller warned any would be smuggler to avoid Area 1 Command, as according to him their containers would be seized and culprits arrested and prosecuted in the court of law.
Speaking further, he stated that within the period under review, the Command had embarked on a working tour to Bayelsa and Ahoada Out-Stations to appraise the Customs activities in those Areas saying “the visit to Bayelsa State also afforded us the opportunities to pay courtesy visits to the heads of other Government Security agencies. The purpose of this visit was to seek further collaboration and synergy with them in order to foster a better working relationship and to achieve National interest in line with the extant guidelines.”
I am very optimistic that with the Command’s strategy of maximizing the collection of Customs duties, other levies, and payment of all unpaid assessments, the Command will surpass the revenue collected in 2022 even as he said
“We cannot thank the Ag. Comptroller General of Customs BA Adeniyi MFR and his management team enough for their timely support and encouragement towards the achievements of these successes.”
“Also a big thank you goes to the stakeholders, especially the compliant traders among them and the distinguished gentlemen of the press for their professional reportage.