Apapa Command banks on digital transformation for N4.1tr Customs target

  • Posts N870.4b revenue, over 5mMT export worth $641m, 103 seizures at N31.22 in 2021

By Anthony Nwachukwu

The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it will leverage the agency’s digital transformation and improved stakeholder-compliance to help achieve and possibly surpass the N4.1 trillion target handed it by the Federal Government for 2022.

This is as Compt. Yusuf Malanta announced a record revenue of N870.4 billion for 2021 “in spite of the enormous challenges faced in the trade supply chain”, including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on world economies, high cost of freight, incessant gridlock, rail construction through the port, as well as battle for compliance from stakeholders.

Reviewing the command’s 2021 activities Thursday in Lagos, Malanta declared 2022 as “a year of hope and high expectations, particularly with increase in the service revenue target to N4.1 trillion,” stating that the command was determined to do more and surpass its revenue target for 2022, by God’s grace.

“We hope that the service will surely leverage the deployment of digital transformation of customs business processes, which will further take care of many control mechanisms through its risk management system,” he added.

“This transformation will further harmonise the activities of our stakeholders toward a seamless ease of doing business in the port.

He disclosed that export goods totaling about 5,000380 metric tons, with Free on Board (FOB) value of $641 million (over N245 billion), were facilitated through the Apapa Port in 2021 following the Federal Government’s export incentive schemes and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) facilitation and automation of NXP and CCI.

According to him, the command’s sustained trade facilitation strategies yielded positive impact on export trade through the Apapa Port, as it recorded a boom of about 110 per cent increase in tonnage above the 2020 figure in the export of non-oil commodities.

The figure, he said, was in excess of the 1,000300 metric tons exported in 2020 and its FOB value of $340 million, while the items included steel bars, agricultural and mineral products.

On smuggling, Malanta explained that in line with extant circulars, trade guidelines and government fiscal policies, the command further strengthened its operations against economic saboteurs through credible, intelligence-driven operations and partnership with other relevant agencies for effective port management in the period under review.

Consequently, it made a total of 103 seizures, including the 46.55kg of cocaine concealed in MV Karteria and MV Chayanee Naree, which were laden with raw sugar, all with approximate Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N31.22 billion.

The other seized items included containers of foreign parboiled rice, tomato paste, second-hand clothes, unregistered pharmaceuticals like captagon pills, tramadol and codeine syrup, all of which were condemned by a competent court of law, while the suspects are still undergoing investigation and interrogation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no matter whose ox is gored, the command is not going to tolerate any form of illicit behaviour in the trade supply chain,” he warned.

“We are not only going to expose these recalcitrant traders (importers and their cronies), we will also ensure that they are brought to book with maximum penalty under the laws of the land.”

Malanta further commended the doggedness and tireless commitment of the officers and men of the command for the achievements.

Meanwhile, the command has “diligently strengthened our risk assessment capacity through forensic system audit and dispute resolution procedures in accordance with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) standard,” he said.

“Trade disputes were amicably resolved in an atmosphere that promoted compliance, with visible results in higher revenue indicating less cost of doing business and seizures.

“The command has also achieved a robust industrial harmony with all government agencies in the Apapa Port, especially our host, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), other sister-agencies (DSS, NAFDAC, NDLEA and SON), as well as shipping lines and terminal operators, whose tremendous contributions have been a source of great success in the past year.”

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