Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Area II Command Thursday engaged stakeholders on how to meet the N140.2 billion revenue target given the command by the management of the NCS.
This was just as the stakeholders made up of mainly port operators and regulators listed the deplorable state of the East-west Road and the absence of scanners at the port as some of the obstacles to the realization of the target.
Addressing the stakeholders, Customs Area Controller of Port Harcourt Area II Command, Onne Port, Comptroller Aliyu Galadima Saidu, said the increase in the revenue target was as a result of the impressive performance of the command last year.
He stated that the Command generated a total revenue of N107,336,142,823.59 last year, an increase of N11,642,640,87.26 (12 per cent) above the N95,712,502,149.33 target for the year.
He said the Command had to interface with stakeholders on how to overcome challenges and meet the target set for the command by the management of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
He said the gathering offered the opportunity for collective critical study, sharing of ideas, peer review of organisational findings and experiences towards boosting the efficiency of the command.
He stated: “Area II Command Onne Port was given a revenue target of N140,202,000,000 for the 2020. We are not only optimistic about meeting the target; we hope to surpass it through hard work, honesty and dedication to work and above all with your support.”
“Customs is responsible for a wide range of duties, which include suppression of smiggling of prohibited items, border and hinterland protection, collection of revenue and accounting for same for the government, trade controls and facilitation, preventing money laundering and capital flight profiling, intellectual property rights protection as well as consumer protection.
“We have a duty to further facilitate movement of legitimate goods, improve system documentation and enable all stakeholders key into change mantra agenda of the Comptroller General of Customers. In view if the above, the Command has decided to engage the stakeholders in regular meetings and in-house training at the operational level.”
However, after deliberations, the stakeholder in their resolution stated that the East-west Road leading the port was in a deal0portable condition and would constitute a huge obstacle to the realisation of the target especially since there was no rail line to the port.
They noted that while the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, had promised a rail link to the port, nothing has been done to actualise that in the foreseable future.
They therefore appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the completion of the East-west Road to help the port attain its optimum.
They also called on the Federal Government to install scanners at the port to ensure quick examination of containers and reduce the time spent in the clearance of goods.
The stakeholders in the meeting included the NCS, Nigerian Ports Authority, the Police, West African Containers Terminal, clearing and forwarding agents, shipping lines, and other operators.