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Tuesday, 20 November 2012 00:00
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NCS set to surpass revenue target at Seme border

Apparently not deterred by the cut recorded in their revenue collection in the month of October, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Seme Border Command, has said that it would surpass its set target for the year 2012.
This was disclosed by the new Customs Area Comptroller of the Command, Compt. Othman Abdu Saleh, in a press briefing in his office Friday.

He said that as at October 2012, the Command had collected the sum total of six billion,five hundred and eighty five million, eight hundred and fifty nine thousand, six hundred and fifty six naira five kobo (#6,585,859,656.05) out of the eight point four (#8.400,000,000) billion naira set target approved for the command for the year 2012.
He said that not minding the fact that the revenue dipped in the said month with the collection of six hundred and thirteen million, one hundred and eighty thousand, six hundred and fourteen naira, four kobo (#613,180,614.04), it was an improvement over that of October 2011 record of the sum of five hundred and thirty-nine million , eleven thousand, seven hundred and sixty one naira,seventy three kobo (#539,11,761.73).

He reiterated that in a bid to ensure that the command surpassed its target,”we have professionally engaged our officers and men to block all the sources of revenue leakages and maximize revenue  collection.
“Within over one month of my stewardship which commenced from the 3rd September 2012, the command was able to collect the sum of seven hundred  and seventy three million , four hundred and seventeen thousand, eight hundred and eleven naira, thirty eight kobo (#773,417,811.38) in contrast to the sum of  six hundred and thirty  five million, eight hundred and ninety eight  thousand, three hundred and ninety nine naira,eight kobo (#635,898,399.08) collected in September 2011. Going by this record, we wish to state that we will  surely surpass the set target”, he concluded.

Othman re-emphasize that part of the goals of the Seme Border command are to suppress smuggling, facilitate legitimate trade, collection of revenue and accounting for same and the general security duties for the well being of the country noting that the task before the  command is herculean but surmountable through the collaborative effort.
He went ahead to hint that in a bid to achieve this, he had met with  and sought the collaboration  and co-operation of the royal fathers, various security agencies and other stakeholders at the border stating that the action has been yielding a positive result.
On anti smuggling, the CAC remarked that the use of  reasonable coercion is employed by the command  as a last resort, hinting that the command’s strategies were aimed at sensitizing the greater number of people to turn away from smuggling to legitimate trade.

He however said that as part of their on going campaign against smuggling, the command recorded three hundred and seventeen (317) seizures with a duty paid value of one hundred and forty two million,two hundred and eighty eight thousand, three hundred and twenty two (#142,288,322.00) naira between January and October , 2012 confirming that five persons out of the twenty suspects arrested within the period had been convicted while others are at different stages of investigation and prosecution.
He said that in line with the spirit  of  inter- agency collaboration, the command had transferred to the National Drug law Enforcement  Agency (NDLEA) the hard drug related cases.
He further recalled that the command arrested a couple recently with thirty (30) compressed blocks of substance suspected to cannabis noting that the suspects, their exhibits and KIA Sophia car had since been handed over to NDLEA.

Commenting on the ECOWAS Trade liberalization Scheme(ETLS) where consignments are routed through the scanner to prevent the abuse of the scheme and also allay public misconception, Othman said that ETLS goods with a Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of six billion,five hundred fifty nine million, nine hundred and ninety two thousand, seven hundred and fifty three naira , eighty nine kobo (#6,559,992,753.89) were cleared in the command noting that the revenue loss as a result of the scheme’s concession amounted to one billion, eight hundred and forty four million, one hundred and sixty five thousand , one hundred and forty five naira, thirty eight kobo (#1,844,165,145.38) while the one per cent CISS revenue amounted  to fifty nine million,nine hundred and five thousand, three hundred and thirteen ( 59,903,313.00) naira.

On trade Facilitation, the CAC announced that the command has been compliant with the Customs Modernization process as the command had since deployed scanners to maximise the use of the scanner and information  and communication technology stating that a total of twenty five thousand and five hundred and twelve (25,512) declaration were processed from January to October ,2012. He further noted that the effective use of the E- Customs procedure had facilitated the clearance of goods within eight hours at the Seme border.

On the area of export,he disclosed that the export section had facilitated the export of made in Nigeria goods with Free on Board (FOB)values of eight billion, four hundred and eighty million, eight hundred and twenty five thousand, three hundred and twenty naira, six kobo(#8,488,825,323.06) between January and October 2012 saying that the Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) collected for the period also amounted to forty two million, five hundred and fifty nine thousand and ninety four naira, fifty four kobo (#42,559,094.54).
He went on to recall that the export section has not been generating revenue owing to the fact that it is a Federal  Government policies channeled towards promoting the export of made in Nigeria products and foreign exchange earning.

Othman stated that the command had been well motivated thanks to the on going capacity building initiatives of the Comptroller General of Customs which had helped them carry out their assigned duties better than before saying that they had been adequately provided for logistically and that the man power need of the command had been taken care of owing to the recent deployment of newly recruited and trained personnel.
Without mincing words, he warned that under his watchful eyes, his command will not accommodate smuggling under any giuse whatsoever, falsification, fraud, dishonest and under declaration as well as all forms anti- social activities.

He advised the trading communities to embrace legitimate trade and shun smuggling urging anyone who is in doubt about government fiscal policies on import/ export procedures  to contact the Nigeria customs Service website on WWW.customs .gov ng.for the list of import/.export prohibition.
“Our message this yuletide is this, avoid smuggling as the command is adequately prepared to foil any of such attempt. We will cofront smuggling head on and implore all to join hands in protecting the national economy, this is a Nigerian project for the Nigerian people. We cannot do it all alone , therefore , we passionately appeal to the good people of Nigeria through the media for support in achieving these goals”, he stated.

The Comptroller listed some of their challenges to include the deplorable state of the Seme –Lagos highway, which tend to hider legitimate trade, the improper method adopted by the Customs administration of the Republic of Benin in the escort  and canalization of imported vehicles.
He admitted that discussion  was on going with the view to stemming the tide, inadequate offices as a result of the border reconstruction project and the attendant delay in its completion and the dishonest declaration by some importers or their agents.
He noted that dome of these the command had been able to surmount while the rest are on the process of being tackled tenaciously, assuring that the command is undaunted in the task of sustaining the global best practices in all facets of their operations.

 Othma said that the state of Seme-Lagos highway had definitely taken its toll on the volume of revenue collected by the command in the area, saying that previously, the command used to witness about 50,60 to 70 trucks per week but now because of he bad road, the traffic has drastically reduced.
He said: “The situation is even better  because of the dry season. Definitely the bad road is affectinng us and affecting us seriously. You can see that in October we couldn’t meet out target. In the last three months, the drivers form Benin Republic, you know they are the people that used to carry these goods embarked on a strike action tor twom weeks and that affected our revenue.”

On the way forward, he prayed that the road be fixed so that there will be free vehicular movement in the area which will in turn translate to in crease revenue generation in the command.
On the readiness of the men and officers of the command to take over the customs modernisation process scheme, he said that the command is totally ready to take over the from the current managers of the scheme noting that his men had been trained both in scanning, ECT and enforcement.
He said that in CPC or the ICT section, “it is his men that are actually doing the job while global scan officers only standby , watch and give directives where necessary.”

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