The bid by the federal government to diversify the Nigerian economy from crude oil seems to be yielding the desired result as export through the nation’s biggest port has been on the increase.
This is according to the Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which announced to newsmen in Lagos, at the weekend, that aside from an increase in exports, high level of compliance on export declaration has also been recorded.
Within the period under review, 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.
However, Controller of the Area Command, Comptroller Mohammed Abba-Kura decried the high incidences of returning consignments after export and implored exporters using the Apapa port to always ensure that minimum international standards are met before exporting their consignments.
Also, he announced that the command generated a total sum of N413.7 billion as revenue between January and December 2019.
Abba-Kura, said the ongoing partial closure of the land borders in the country contributed to the command’s success in revenue collection.
According to him, import and export activities have increased in Apapa as more shippers now use the port in bringing in and taking out of cargoes.
He disclosed that the command generated N414 billion from January to December 18th 2019, as against N404 billion generated between January to December 2018, which translates into about 111 per cent of the 2019 annual revenue target.
However, he said the command had the highest revenue figure of N42, 726 billion in the month of October, which was the peak of the border closure.
This precedent, according to him, gives credence to positive impacts of the policy, which has reduced incidences of smuggling through the land border and increased legitimate imports through the seaports tremendously.
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 were pharmaceutical products, which include tramadol that were imported without necessary approval from regulatory agencies like National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Other items included tomato paste, vegetable oil, ladies and girls fashion wears, expired rice, armored glasses without End User Certificate (EUC) and drilling pipes labelled in foreign language etc.
“It is pertinent to emphasised 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, ”Abba-Kura said.
In the area of export, he said the Command recorded high level of compliance on export declaration.
He explained that most exported items were agricultural and mineral products, and emphasised that exporters using the Apapa Port must 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.
“The huge billions you are losing today owing to non-compliance with import guidelines could have been channeled to other legitimate activities that add value to the nation’s growth and development, ”Abba-Kura added.
He added, “In our quest to ensure efficient service delivery to our esteemed stakeholders and in line with the Comptroller General of Customs 3Rs mandate, the command under my leadership came up with a deliberate and well-coordinated strategy that trained over 400 officers in general aspect of our operations with a view to maximizing their productivity.
“The results we are seeing today is the product of that training in addition to other mechanisms like 24 hours dispute resolution, maintaining an open and accessible door policy to address complains, constant engagement with the stakeholders as well as support by the management of the NCS and other sister agencies operating within the port.”