HALF YEAR REPORT: Apapa Customs Hits N1.023Trilllion Revenue, Records 11 Containers of Prohibited Items

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By Innocent Orok

The Apapa Customs Command said its generated over N1trillion in the first six months of 2024.

According to Comptroller Babatunde Olomu who disclosed this to newsmen at the Command of Monday, he said “Since assuming office on May 6, 2024, the thrust of my leadership has been robust intelligence gathering for enhanced revenue collection backed with deliberately improved customs-community relations.

” I am pleased to report that our efforts at promoting trade facilitation are yielding good results with attendant ease of doing business, prevention of revenue losses, and closer interactions with sister government agencies and private sector stakeholders, including members of the host communities in which we operate.

“We are also not leaving anything to chance for economic saboteurs as our non- intrusive inspection (NII) regime is fully in place where scanners are deployed for cargo examination with support of physical examination where and when necessary.”

He said for the first half of 2024, that is between January-June, the command generated a total of N1,023,663,842,255.63. This shows an increase of 143% above the figures of N421,382,166,378.46 collected in the corresponding period in 2023.

Comptroller Olomu said “Whereas this collection is coming despite a sharp reduction in the volume of trade, it is necessary to note that extra measures have been put in place to prevent losses of government revenue.

“Upon taking over as Area Controller of Apapa, I set up a revenue recovery committee comprising of seasoned and dedicated officers with a mandate to carryout more detailed look into areas of leakages, especially in bonded terminals under Apapa Command, ” he said.

On trade facilitation Olomu said “We are applying a blend of intelligence with community relations for better awareness of our operating environment to achieve greater trade facilitation and fight criminality.

“I have a team of dedicated officers charged with the responsibility of addressing all complaints or disputes within record time before escalation to my office for prompt action.

“I don’t run an open-door policy because for me, there is literally no door at all if you want to access my office. My office is open for everyone to discuss anything that will facilitate legitimate trade and promote government interest at all times, including receiving information on suspected smuggling activities”, Comptroller Olomu assured.

In the area of anti- smuggling operations, he said within the period under review, the command made seizures of eleven (11) containers comprising of prohibited items such as expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals, footwears, used clothing, armored cables, frozen poultry products etc., with a Duty Paid Value of N424,105,975.00) as against 42 seizures with a DPV of N1.4 billion made in the corresponding period in 2023.

“Members of the press, it is pertinent to mention that just last week, we uncovered a large quantity of expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals in 3x40ft container numbers TCKU 6928184, MRKU 4422733, MRSU 5550243, and another 3x40ft container nos. MNBU 3934925, MEDU 9107559 and MEDU 9752980 loaded with 7,580 cartons of frozen poultry products unfit for human consumption, which is against schedule 3 of the revised import prohibition list of the Common External Tariff (CET). These importations violate section 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.

“Let me state that the harmful effects of fake and unregistered pharmaceutical products on citizens are unquantifiable and as a responsible service, we owe Nigerians the duty of preventing them from being exposed to this dangerous importation.

“In light of the above, I want to use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to perpetrators of smuggling, duty evasion and other forms of criminality frowned upon by the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and other extant laws, that Apapa command is poised to nip illicit importation in the bud”, Olomu warned.

He reiterated the CGC’s zero tolerance for smuggling, “I have reformed the command way of treating transires by ensuring more meticulous management of cargoes moving from the mother port to bonded terminals. This has become necessary to prevent a situation where smugglers attempt to perpetuate illegalities in bonded terminals.

“To sustain this tempo, no cargo is allowed to exit from our control without thorough inspection using the scanner. We shall not compromise on this as we will keep making seizures, detention and arrests where necessary to protect the national economy and prevent Nigerians from exposure to dangerous or unwholesome products like illicit drugs”, he assured.

In the area of relationship with sister agencies, the Apapa CAC said “We are in close touch with sister government agencies working like a team with shared responsibilities. I want to commend the Nigeria Police, Department of State Service (DSS), NDLEA, NAFDAC, SON, NIS, NAQS, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and others for their support so far. We made progress together and will continue to collaborate in the national interest.”

Comptroller Olomu uses
the medium to register his utmost appreciation to the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR dsm psc (+) and the entire Management team for providing the needed support and leadership in discharging their responsibilities.

“Finally, I want to thank officers and men of the command for their resilience, our stakeholders for their support and urge that we continually work together to achieve a better second half for 2024.”

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