The federal governmentâ€™s initiative on export especially the agricultural commodities is yielding results as a total of 45, 462 metric tons with free on board (FOB) value of N29.146 billion of agricultural produce were exported out of Nigeria between January and March 2018.
Customs Area Controller, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Command, Comptroller Musa Abdulahi, disclosed this in a chat with journalists in Lagos.
Giving a breakdown of the products exported, he said agriculture products export was responsible for 38, 517 metric tons with FOB value of N22.435 billion while processed and manufactured goods exported was 6,945 metric tons valued at N6.711 billion.
This, he stated represents an appreciable improvement of 558.46 per cent in terms of volume and 402.24 per cent in terms of FOB value when compared with the 8,140 metric tons valued at N7.246 billion recorded between January and March 2017.
He listed the agriculture produce exported to include; cashew nut, rubber, hibiscus flower, cocoa butter, sesame seeds, processed wood, frozen shrimps and processed leather while the manufactured products were; empty bottles, biscuit, cigarette, polyethylene, billets, soap, hair cream and tissue paper.
Abdulahi said efforts have been intensified by his command under the federal government presidential initiative on ease of doing business to improve its performance rating.
According to him, â€œWe have made some gains in the 48 hours cargo clearance time. Some categories of goods are being cleared from the customs zone within six hours. Trade facilitation structures have been strengthened to sustain the gains here as follows: Fast track facilities-provided to compliment trader/importers, dispute resolution committee working as scheduled, help desk for enquiries and operational support, time release studies and securing of government revenue in disputed area through the use of bank guarantee/indemnity as provided in the import guideline.â€
He added general improvement in compliance with laid down standard operating procedures has resulted in fewer intervention due to voluntary compliance.
He said Tin Can Island Command is committed to the transformation of its revenue collection and reporting system with the implementation of NICIS11 with additional functionality, â€œwhich is an upgrade of the NICIS1.â€
â€œAs part of the specific gains with the implementation we have the biometric system and introduction of a one stop shop, which will enable treatment of declarations of valuations, classification and other related clearance issues/queries. In the meantime, the renovation of the space for the one stop shop is in progress.
â€œThere is also the automation of cargo examination and assignment process where examination officers are assigned examination automatically, this is designed to ensure transparency in the process. The vehicle valuation system is being further improved with the attachment of the valuation note issued to the SGD in the system, this will enable a quick verification of assessment and duty payment, â€œhe stated.
He confirmed the seizure of two containers of Tramadol imported from India.
He disclosed that the products were declared as electrical static converters and ciprofloxacin in a bid to evade arrest.
Abdullahi expressed concern that despite efforts to discourage importation of illicit drugs, some unrepentant elements still engage in such practice.
â€œOne by 40 and 2 by 20 containers of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg which were declared electrical static converters and ciprofloxacin. We are collaborating with NAFDAC and NDLEA on this seizure, â€he added.
He added that a suspect in connection with the containers was arrested by the Command, while the search for those behind the import continues.
â€œWe have gotten a suspect who is the agent and through him, we will get the importer and ensure they are prosecuted and thereafter the consignment will be destroyed. Those who are involved in this thing should stop because it is dangerous to our health. It is addictive and it can kill. We have to stand out against this. Just as the federal government has banned codeine, we expect this will happen to this drug quickly.
â€œThe import is coming from India and for export only. I think the government can explore the diplomatic way with the Indian Government by trying to see how we can prevent the importation of this type of dangerous drugs into the country, â€ he stressed.
The Controller also disclosed that three other containers of e-waste regarded as unhealthy to the environment were also intercepted.
Also seized were five containers of second-hand clothes and one container of used tyres which duty paid value was put at N124m.
The controller disclosed that there was an improvement in the revenue generation from the Command during the first quarter of this year.
He disclosed that the Command generated the sum of N104.5 billion in the first quarter of this year as against the N82.154 billion generated during the same period last year, representing an improvement of N22.68 billion.