By Silas Onuoha
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has generated N2.3trillion revenue in the year 2021,between January to date thereby exceeding it’s target.The Deputy National PRO of the service,Timi Bomodi, who disclosed this at a stakeholders and media briefing in Lagos on Monday also said the Service has achieved 90 percent automation of its operation and has excdeeded it’s 2021 revenue collection target by over N6 billion even when the year has not ended despite the harsh operating atmosphere occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the NDPRO, Timi Bomodi.This was achieved through the diligence and hard work of the Service personnel and the support of key stakeholders.
“The 2021 has been eventful for Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), as it achieves major milestones, despites the debilitating effect of COVID-19, which has had negative effects on the socio-economic lives of people around the globe.
“As usual the year began with high expectations with regards to revenue generation and the enforcement of fiscal policy, and based on the target achieved in 2020, the service was given the onerous task of collecting N1.679 trillion into the federation account.
“In all its key performance indexes, the Service was able to achieve remarkable successes through the diligence and hard work of its officers and the support of key stakeholders. In the current year, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has already exceeded expectations in revenue generation by going beyond the target set for it by the government, generating N2.3 trillion.”
In anti-smuggling activities Bomodi said the Nigeria Customs Service made landmark seizures of prohibited items, and items prohibited by trade.This includes arms and ammunition, pangolin scales and hard drugs among others.
He went on.
“In August, the Service made seizures of 17,137 kg of pangolin scales, 44 kg elephant tusks and 60 kg in pangolin claws all valued at over N22billion.
“This was made possible through active collaboration between NCS, U.S, the UK, and German officials who helped in tracking the suspicious shipment and led to the arrest and prosecution of some foreign nationals and their local collaborators.
“In October FOU operatives in Zone A seized 751 bullets concealed in garri sacks, while arms, ammunition and military uniforms were intercepted at Tincan port Lagos in September just to mention a few.
“Our warehouses in all border formations are overflowing with seizures of rice, groundnut oil, used clothing, used vehicles and others.
“At Apapa Area 1 Command, through the cooperation of other sister agencies and the Nigerian Navy a landmark seizure of cocaine with a DPV of $54 million was made. This seizure was unique for the fact that the illicit substance was found in one of the compartments of a bulk carrier of sugar.
“In the same Command 97 containers carrying illicit, expired drugs and other offensive goods with a DPV of N17.5billion were seized.
According to Bomodi, the Nigeria Customs Service is looking forward to a work environment where respect for principles and practice of international trade are the watchwords.
“We hope in the coming year 2022, importers, exporters and their agents will comply willingly and take full advantage of the opportunities Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) offers for expedited clearance,” he said.
Bomodi stated that the e-customs project, which is expected to take off next year 2022 would provide end-to-end automation aimed at eliminating physical contact and the potential for subjective judgements based on unethical consideration.
Speaking further he said.“The Service in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance has also introduced the National Vehicle Registry VReg portal which among other things incorporates an automated vehicle valuation mechanism that authenticate Vehicle Identity Number (VIN) and validates the make, model and year of manufacture for easy assessment of value for Customs purposes.
“NCS has also introduced mobile applications for verifying the authenticity of documents by enforcement officers on patrol. This app will eliminate delays in verifying genuine Customs documents on our highways making it difficult for forgers to get away with their illegal acts, while easing the journeys of law-abiding citizens.
“If we claim to love this country and its citizens, we can not continue with business as usual. The world is a global village and accessing data from any corner of the earth is as easy as a click of the mouse. It is no longer possible for anyone to hide the facts of any transaction when it comes to making declarations for Customs purposes,”he said.
Speaking also, the Area Controller of Apapa command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf made clear that in facilitating trade, the Service has deployed tools such as the fast-track scheme and provisional release among others to enable compliant traders clear their consignment on time from the port without incurring demurrage.
“The NCS is also making sure that the deployment of scanners ensures the use of selectivity in the trade supply chain so that items that are suspicious are deployed for physical examination while those not suspicious will be released outrightly or go through documentary checks.”
While he urged importers to ensure they make honest and transparent declaration, Comptroller. Malanta maintained that the Nigeria Customs Service will only facilitate legitimate trade.