By Innocent Orok
Due to the patriotic zeal of Officers and Men of the Nigeria Customs Service, Seme border Command, the Command is targeting over N5bn Revenue collection before the end of 2023. It’s also optimistic that the export proceeds through the Command will hit all time high of N12bn before the end of the year.
The Customs Area Controller of Seme – Krake border Command, Comptroller Timi Bomodi disclosed this to our Correspondent at the border Command. Bomodi said at the end of November 2023, the Command has collected over N4.4bn, while it’s export proceeds within the same period stood at over N8bn .
He said the new drive of the Customs revenue policy as champion by the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR is impacting on increase revenue collection at the Command.
” When I assume office on September 18, the command had collected about N1.9bn which was in excess of what was expected.The command had reached its target for the year by September 18.
“But am glad to report that by the end of November, the command would have collected about N4.4bn.
In addition to that which is about N2.1bn against September and November.
Hopefully, by the end of the year we will be doing over N5bn.”
He said the new approach by the new management of Customs is yielding fruits
“Seme is fundamental to regional trade. When you talk about Lagos corridor, you are actually making reference to Seme Command.Seme is the major artery through which goods move from Lagos all the way down to Abidjan and other routes and countries.
“A Lot needs to be done, a lot is being done and hopefully we want to see an increment in trade to the extent. We are paying attention to critical infrastructure, We have interacted with members of ECOWAS. We feel there are certain things that needs to be put right within the confines of trading brotherhood and try to enhance our functions with all government agencies here.
Talking on exports, Bomodi said the Customs have simplified processes for exports, he called on all exporters to follow the simplified processes and document their exports , no matter how small it is.Which according to him will provide data for government planning
“Also, CG has simplified many things, and has removed those consideration that would negatively impact on trade.
“Ultimately, we are looking that at the end of the year, we will be doing between N11bn and N12bn. By the time we see trade on this route boosted, Seme has the potential of generating well over N25-N30b.
“Potentially we hope that by the time fiscal policy is reviewed other exclusions, especially regards to the importation of cars will be taken out. We hope to aspire higher because we don’t import cars through the land borders, but if the government decides to change that policy, Seme, we believe will be high in her revenue.We are also hoping that will happen.
On anti- smuggling activities, he said “We have made a lot of seizures, a lot of positives have been made. We have made a lot of seizures regards to certain items that before now affected by monetary policies. Seizures regarding petroleum products that people try to move across the border that runs into billions.
“Also, seizures of animals protected under national protection from illicit trade and endangered species. Those seizures were significant to the extent that to sustain over a period of time and we kept on doing advocacy concerning these kinds of animals.
“A lot of people don’t understand why they need to protect them, and why trading in them is considered illegal Internationally. But it’s a job we must do, if we must talk about a sustainable environment in which there is a balance between man and nature.
“If We don’t have that kind of balance ultimately it will affects man, we wouldn’t know from where our problems are coming from.
“We saw that two public health related issues, Ebola and Covid. Essentially the first time we would have transfer of viral disease from animals to man.You don’t look at certain things as important until you begin to see the other effect.
“I tell people if you think of vultures as evil, a lot of people don’t know that vultures are extinct. Vultures are protected now. We have this cultural belief that vultures are evil, because anywhere you see vultures are where there are dead bodies.
“We misinterpret their mood in nature. Many go about attacking them. When you make cultures extinct, there will be none to clean up the system, when there are dead bodies, vultures clean up the cacas so that other animals would not feast on them to spread disease. When you make vultures extinct, it means when animals die we will eventually start seeing the manifestation of diseases that we are not used to prior to this time”, Bomodi disclosed.
On the Command’s relationship with Benin counterpart he said, ” Our relationship with Benin since after the CG meeting has been cordial, we had meetings with officials from Benin in Abuja to the effect we have been harmonizing operations of Customs on both sides.
“We are discussing with each other, we are at the point where our various operating systems are being brought together under one platform known as SIGMAT. Our technical team are liaising with theirs to make it more effective.
“If we don’t have two systems that are interfacing properly, it become difficult to regulate the movement of goods from Benin to Nigeria and from Nigeria to Benin. It’s the systems that should determine and interface.
“We are not at the ultimate point yet, but we are moving towards that. Hopefully, before the end of the first quarter of next year.
Comptroller Bomodi commended the CGC, Adewale Adeniyi MFR for his new collaboration, partnership and innovations he has brought to the Service.
“With the coming of the current Comptroller General, we have had many strategic reviews, we have seen results in just a short while. Now things are beginning to pick up. Even up to the level of
Human relations with immediate past members of the management, these things are fundamental to how officers operate.
“Because even in your house, if your wife or children are doing well, and you don’t take out time to encourage them and to applaud their efforts. That motivation will not be there. It may appear you are taking them for granted.
When the officers in Service see how well those that are retired are being appreciated, it incentivizes them.
“Life does not end at the time of Service alone, a lot of people begin to look forward to the time of retirement and embrace it and know that this department of which they have spent the major part of thier lives would always remember them. Fundamentally, it touches their hearts on what they do as Customs officers. It can motivate the Officers to be more productive.
“Here in Seme our actions are basically guided by the responsibilities of the service
Which is to collect revenue, facilitate trade and prevent smuggling.
“We try to make this place user friendly for those that are engaged in trade: Export, import as much as possible we are encouraging them to make use of our facilities to the extent that all our processes and procedures have been further simplified to ensure that things work right.
“Secondly we have reduced obstacles hindering businesses before, unlike before, the intention is to ensure our stakeholders to have beautiful experience of the convenience to transact business, facilitation of trade is a primary consideration”, Bomodi said.