By Silas Onuoha
The Lilypond Export Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has recorded export trade worth over N86.4billion in the first quarter of the year 2023.
Briefing Journalists during a press conference on Wednesday at the command, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Compt. Babandede Mohammed, informed that the Command processed non-oil export with a total tonnage of 118,184.96 from January to March, 2023.
“Within the period under review, the command has processed non-oil export with a total tonnage of 118,184.96. Available trade statistics show that the command processed export goods worth N86,426,279,070.59 which is equivalent to free on-board value (FOB) of $204,656,119.04.
“The items processed are agricultural produce like Cocoa Beans, Cashew Nuts, Sesame seeds, Hibiscus flower, Soya beans and Ginger. Other items exported are mineral resources such as Lithium Ore, Manganese Ore, and Zircon Sand to mention but a few. Manufactured goods exported are Instant Noodles, Cosmetics, Cigarettes and Beverages.
According to Compt. Mohammed. “The Nigeria Customs Service in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority approved the establishment of Export Processing Terminals (EPTs) with the mandate to undertake stuffing, examination, and document processing for non-oil export cargos accessing the Lagos Ports by road, rail and barges.
This establishment is geared towards:
• Fast-tracking export businesses for quick turnover
• To ensure proper documentation and repatriation of export proceeds back to the country
• To decongest the ports and all the roads leading to the ports.
“To achieve this, Lilypond Export Command was created and commissioned on 1st November 2022”, he said.
The CAC went further: “Lilypond, despite being a new Command has recorded some achievements. It has drastically reduced delay in export processing.
It makes the business of export effective and efficient since all agencies are domiciled in one place, as a one-stop- shop. It has reduced congestion along port access roads to the port and also inside the port terminals, giving space for import containers.
” It has reduced cost of export business. It has reduced contract cancellation. The issue of pilfering of cargo has been eliminated.
Released containers can access the port within 48hrs for loading on to awaiting vessel. The Command in collaboration with shipping lines reduced the turnaround time of a vessel, which decreases the cost of shipping.
“The Command has completely erased the issue of rejection and return of our Agro-produce, which was usually caused by delay and lack of requisite phytosanitary certificates”.
Speaking on inter-agency collaboration, Compt. Babandede explained; “In Lilypond Export Command, we have excellent inter-agency collaboration with other government agencies. I want to appreciate the Nigerian Ports Authority for coming up with the concept of Export Processing Terminals and providing necessary support to the Command. I also want to commend the patriotic role of our sister agencies partnering with us in our quest to effectively perform our statutory functions in compliance with extant laws.
“Since the establishment of this Command, I have been meeting with various stakeholders comprising Terminal Operators, Exporters, Licensed Agents, Freight Forwarders, and Shipping Lines. May I use this medium to reassure our stakeholders that Lilypond Export Command will continue to facilitate their legitimate trade.
“On this note, I want to humbly extend my profound appreciation to CGC Hameed Ibrahim Ali, CFR and his Management team for their continuous support. I also want to commend my officers and men of the Command for their contributions to the successes achieved so far; and appeal to them to double their efforts, in order to achieve greater heights in the coming months.”
He thanked the media for doing an excellent job in showcasing the strides recorded by the Nigeria Customs Service in the export value chain.