Against all expectations, the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it generated the sum of N31.2 billion in March 2020, beating its N26 billion for the same period of 2019 by N5.2 billion.
The feat was in spite of the global economic shutdown in response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has also significantly reduced international trade across Nigerian ports.
In a statement, the Command Public Relations Officer, Uche Ejesieme, explained that the record was not accidental, as Comptroller Musa Baba Abdullahi already had a clear roadmap to actualise his mandate, mindful of the enormous expectations from the command as a major revenue collector.
The strategy includes “the mobilisation of critical stakeholders through series of roundtables and consultations towards ensuring that trade facilitation is given a boost, in line with global best practices,” the statement read in part.
Abdullahi, at those parleys, “solicited the support of all parties in the trade value chain, particularly on the issue of compliance with the fiscal and monetary policies of the Federal Government and the need to adhere strictly.
“Further to this is the removal of all manner of bureaucratic bottlenecks and obstacles that might hinder access to information and intervention in critical areas. This is exemplified in the open-door policy of the area controller, as well as the establishment of trade facilitation and dispute resolution platforms for expeditious resolution of disputes arising from the various transactions.”
He expressed hopes that all things being equal, the operational templates in place would lead to huge revenue collection.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that the command began sensitisation campaign on Covid-19 at the outset of the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan, China in November 2019, following a circular from the customs headquarters, which compelled all commands to commence awareness and education on its containment.
More so, after the report of the index case in Nigeria, the command began a more intensive and aggressive campaign, which included lectures on the safest measures for officers and stakeholders to keep safe, as well as social distancing, the use of latex gloves, sanitisers and regular handwashing, among others, Ejesieme explained.
“Beyond this, the area controller directed the erection of signage at strategic places in the command that conveyed very salient information to stakeholders on additional measures we have adopted to ensure the safety and health of our employees and other stakeholders,” he stated.