The Area II Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Onne Port in Rivers, says it colected ₦118.9billion (₦118,959,214,999.53k) in the out gone year 2020.
The figure was announced on Wednesday by Comptroller Mohammed Auwal, Area Controller, Area II Command, at a media briefing in Onne Port.
According to Auwal, this figure is N11.6 billion (₦11,623,072,175.04) higher than the N107.3 billion (₦107,336,142,824.29) generated by the command from January to December of 2019.
Auwal also stated that the command’s enforcement and anti-smuggling personnel made a total of 37 seizures with total duty paid value of over one billion naira (₦1,008,266,282.53) within the period in focus.
The Controller, who said that that news conference was the first since he took over the command on Sept. 1, 2020, disclosed that two suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures.
Auwal also said that the command recorded a total quantity of 2,577,803.31 metric tonnes of cargoes with Free on Board value (FOB) of $63,497,688.03 (N24.1billion or N24, 129, 121, 451.4) on exports.
He said the command also recorded N278.8 million (₦278,883,780.13) under the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) in 2020.
Auwal expressed gratitude to Comptroller General, retired Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, “for providing the result oriented leadership that has helped us to excel in many ways’’.
According to him, the feat was achieved by command’s personnel in the face of several challenges that impacted on shipping and port activities last year.
“Our operatives were resilient, being at work always, even during the COVID-19 Pandemic outbreak and the nationwide lockdown that followed.
“This increase in collection is fallout of due diligence and zero tolerance for compromise on the part of our officers and men.
“They were always at work in full observance of the Covid19 protocols – hand washing, use of bottle hand sanitisers, wearing of masks, avoiding handshakes and strictly observing physical distancing.
“We have never let our guards down even before the announcement of a second wave of the virus and we didn’t allow it impact adversely on our functions,’’ he said.
Auwal said his command also made remarkable increase from its N94 billion (₦94,044,676,428.17) collected in 2018.
He noted that the command also achieved ₦13 billion Naira monthly collection for the first time in its 37 years history under his watch.
A breakdown of the seizures made during the period are: 6,249,900 tablets of tramadol; 5,615 kegs of 25 litre of vegetable oil; 817 bags of 50kg of Rice; 3,047 bales of second hand clothing; and 86 bales of used hand bags.
Others are: 35 bales of used shoes; 1,460 pieces of used tyres; 6,500 pies of Aluminium zinc; 1,738 cartons of foreign soaps; 650 pieces of canvas; two units of Hiace bus; 3,440 pieces of donkey hides/skin; and 67 bales of fabrics.
Also, eight units of truck; 331 pieces of unprocessed wood; 76 pieces of doors; 641 bags of white cements; 110 pieces of car fan; and 100 pieces of motor radiator were seized by the command during the period.
He said: “We have strengthened our relationship with Importers, exporters, freight forwarders and other port users whose function interface with Nigeria Customs Service in Onne Port.
“Within the period I took charge, I have met with them separately and collectively even as we all have resolved to consolidate on our relationships in the interest of the government and our economy.
“We have seen marked improvement in compliance level continual promotion of due process in all we do.
“Our engagements have reinforced the promotion of ease of doing business, trade facilitation with emphasis on sincere declarations as a way of saving time and making legitimate profits.’’
Auwal said his command also enjoyed very robust inter agency collaboration with sister government agencies.
He said the agencies included the Nigerian Navy; Nigerian Army; Nigeria Police Force; Nigeria Immigration Service; Department of State Service; National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control; National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Nigerian Ports Authority; and Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
“Our relationships have resulted in information sharing, crime prevention, promotion of national economic interest and security,’’ he said.
He urged the command’s stakeholders, particularly port users, to continue to understand that “compliance is vital for seamless cargo clearance, exit, import and export’’.
He said: “This is how importers will enjoy trade facilitation, ease of business by following the due process.
“I urge them once again to keep abreast with the extant import and export prohibition lists, avoid duty evasion and imbibe the virtue of transparency at all times.’’
Auwal also thanks the media “ who have always responded, even at short notice to our calls’’.
“Your efforts at putting out credible information for promotion of viable commercial activities have not gone unnoticed.
“You are great pillars supporting us in communicating with our stakeholders because through you, we also get useful feedbacks,’’ Auwal said.