· As Lagos Free Trade Zone records N12.18bn in Q1 2023
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has narrated its experience handling the first commercial vessel that berthed at the Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos recently.
Recall that the Lekki Deep Seaport received the first commercial vessel GSL ALICE penultimate Friday. However, narrating what the experience was like receiving the first commercial vessel at the Deep Seaport, the Public Relations Officer of the Lekki Free Trade zone, SC Abdullahi-Lagos Abiola in a chat with our correspondent said the experience was not too shocking, as the zone provided enough manpower to receive the vessel when she arrived.
He stated that the Customs Area Comptroller of the FTZ; Comptroller Yisa Omagbehin was proactive enough to have deployed officers who had experience on how port operations are carried out to the port.
On cargo examination, he said the scanner installed in the port can scan a container in less than one minute. “They are still working on the scanner, only a few touches are left, the scanner is huge, very massive. According to the operators, the scanner can scan a container in less than a minute so issue of delay cannot happen here” he said.
He further explained that all government agencies were on ground to witness the arrival of the vessel, with all necessary documentation carried out. When asked if the service will rely on physical examination of cargoes at the port, he confirmed to our correspondent that a scanner is already being installed at the port that can scan a container in less than a minute, explaining that any form of delays and barriers will not be tolerated at the port.
Abiola, described the relationship with stakeholders and other sister agencies at the port as cordial, noting that they have come a long way to arrive at this position where they found themselves.
He added that there have been a series of meetings to ensure that all relevant agencies are carried along while also adding that the working relationship with the management of the Lekki port is quite commendable.
“The experience was nothing too serious, we had Customs officers fully on ground, the CAC was pro-active enough to have posted sufficient number of officers to go and man the port before the arrival of the vessel. Most of the officers that were deployed were officers who had experiences on how port operations are carried out, so it gives us that opportunity not to have any issues”.
“Also, all the agencies of government were on ground to witness the arrival, after which officers boarded the vessels, all necessary documentation was carried out, it was a very good exercise. We just hope the compliance level is maintained”, he added.
On possible challenges, he said “For now, there is no challenge other than if the volume of containers increases, we will have no other choice than to keep reminding the headquarters on the need to deploy more officers. But for now, we are very capable of handling the vessels coming in”.
“The relationship with stakeholders has been so robust, we have come a long way to arrive at this position where we found ourselves, there have been series of meetings in ensuring that all relevant agencies are carried along. Also the working relationship with the management of the port has been so cordial” he said.
Speaking on the revenue drive in the free zone, the PRO informed that the zone has raked-in a total of N12.18 billion in the first quarter of 2023.
Attributing the feat to the continuous effort of the CAC in stakeholders’ engagement, he said the FTZ has about 12 other zones under it including Eko Support, Eko Atlantic among others.
“In terms of revenue, we have been doing wonderfully well. In the first quarter of 2023, we generated N12.18 billion and this is due to the continuous effort of the Area Comptroller in her continuous engagement with stakeholders and close supervision.
“You know one of the reasons behind free zones is to encourage transfer of technology to also encourage exportation in order to boost our foreign reserves and to also create jobs for our teeming youths”, he said.