Tincan Island Port is one of the key ports in the country. TCIP Customs Command is charged and entrusted with the responsibilities of revenue generation and accounting for same, suppression of smuggling, promotion/facilitation of trade and enforcement of the fiscal/monetary policies of the federal government. It is in the realization of the foregoing that deliberate and concerted efforts were formulated for the realization of these onerous task.
The command, during the period under review year 2019 generated a total of Three Hundred and Forty Six Billion, Five Hundred and Eight Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty Six Naira and Fifty Four Kobo (N346,508,836,486.54) and remitted same into the federation account. You will recall that the command was given a target of Three Hundred and Forty Two Billion, Three Hundred and Six Million, Eighty Thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety Six Naira and Sixty Three Kobo (N342,306,080,496.63).
The command during the year under review 2019 strengthened it’s anti-smuggling operations for optimal performance. Consequently, the command effected a total seizure of 16x40ft, 37x20ft (53 containers) and 3 non-containerized Cargoes. The seizures includes rice, used tyres, pharmaceuticals, vegetable oil, military accoutrements e.t.c with a total DPV of Five Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Six Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty Naira (N5,876,465,640.00). If compared with 2018 seizures, it indicates a recorded improvement from the seizures of 14x40ft, 2x20ft (16 Containers) and 5 uncontainerised others ranging from bales of second hand clothing, furniture, children toys, used bags and shoes, expired medicaments, used tyres, used fridges e.t.c with a total DPV of Two Billion, Eight Hundred and Eighty-Three Million, Five Hundred and Thirty-One Thousand, Five Hundred Naira (N2,883,531,500.00) recorded during the prevailing year of 2018.
The command also embarked on sensitization of stakeholders and would be exporters on the need to take advantage of the potentials inherent in export. To this effect, the command recorded an increase in the quantity of export in 2019.
Generally speaking, the command exported items with a total tonnage of Two Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nineteen Point Five (269,819.5) Tons with a total FOB value of One Hundred and Thirty Billion, One Hundred and Eighty Six Million, Eight Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighty One Naira (N130,186,894,481.00) in 2019 as against the total tonnage of Two Hundred and Fifty Four Thousand, Seven Hundred Sixty Two Point Seventy Seven (254,762.77) Tons with a total FOB value of One Hundred and Forty Five Billion, Three Hundred and Twenty Two Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Six Naira (N145,322,990,396.00) exported in 2018. The command will continue to sensitize and encourage export as a means of attaining balance of trade for the interest of the Nation.
Trade facilitation is a key component of the building blocks of the World Customs Organization arising from the KYOTO Convention and the SAFE framework of standard, other international treaties of Customs administrations and World Trade Organization (WTO). This is further domesticated with the presidential directive on ease of doing business initiative.
As an eloquent testimony and our renewed enthusiasm to enhance our efficiency, the Command, during the period under reference, articulated various Trade Facilitation initiatives, which have been instituted as part of our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) including the use of barge for movement of cargo.
Accordingly, the Command developed a more cordial working relationship with the Critical Stakeholder through constant Engagement.
Similarly, a re-invigorated Dispute Resolution Committee was constituted to deal expeditiously with disputes arising from Valuation, Classification, PAAR, Rules of Origin
etc. Importers or their Agents are encouraged to take advantage of the availability of Bond facility to take delivery of their consignments where disputes persisted.
Further to the above is the “TIME RELEASE STUDIES” a means of assessing the performance of officers in the 48hours Cargo Clearance Trade Value Chain, with the aim of identifying areas of avoidable delays by the personnel and ways of forestalling it.
Added to these is a re-engineered help desk, domiciled in the office of the PRO, where inquiries are channeled and when such inquiries are beyond the scope of the PR Unit, it is escalated to the CAC.
The last but not the least is the ONE STOP SHOP – a facility where all alerts/interventions emanating from Q & A, CIU, Valuation, compliance/strike force would be synchronized with a bid to ensuring that issues are resolved without going through unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks.
CAPACITY BUILDING AND TRAINING
As part of measures to increase the efficiency and capacity of the operations, the Command took steps to develop a training curriculum that is germane to the operations of the Service. Some of the trainings includes but not limited to Data Analysis, NICIS II Awareness, Skill GAP and Profiling Training, End-User Certificate Requirements and Documents, Bond Seat Training, Valuation and Classification Courses etc.
In the light of the above, another set of newly promoted 13 Deputy Comptrollers and 13 Assistant Comptrollers in the Command, are currently undergoing a training programme that is targeted at familiarizing them with their new schedules and developing the needed skill sets, such trainings will remain regular.
The command, while basking in the euphoria of the remarkable achievements, is not isolated from challenges which limited its operations in terms of Revenue etc. Part of the major challenge we had is the issue of poor access and road infrastructure, lack of Government Warehouse facility, non availability of operational equipment by the Terminal Operators among others, lack of scanners. Similarly to the above was the removal of some Terminals that were hitherto under the Command, this affected the volume of cargo handled by the Command and by implication the revenue accruable to the command.
These and many more contributed to the operational limitations, absence of which the Command would have achieved even more. The importance of conducive working environment cannot be over emphasized.
Finally, I wish to pay tribute to the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali Rtd and members of his management for their tremendous support with the provision of appropriate softwares (NICIS II) and hardwares, working tools, vehicles etc and leadership which no doubt put us on our toes. We promise not to renege on our responsibilities as we intend to strive for more efficiency and effectiveness. We will not let our guards down,
having realized the enormity of the task ahead. The command is at the vanguard of this drive and have developed strategies for the actualization of the mandate. To this effect we must give kudos to the stakeholders, particularly the various freight forwarding groups for their support to the command. The command will continue to cherish the contributions of our patriotic and compliant stakeholders while urging non compliant stakeholders to toe the line of patriotism.
In the same vein, may I specially commend the media, who as the watch dog of the society, have always supported the service and command through thick and thin. We appreciate the fact that there are few operational gaps, but we are consoled by the fact that our actions have degraded and decimated the activities of those who are best known for circumventing the fiscal policies.
Similarly, the role of NPA, Security Agencies (DSS, POLICE, NDLEA) and those of the regulatory agencies (NAFDAC, SON and NESREA) must be commended. They collaborated with the Service as the lead agency in the port. We will seek ways of strengthening the collaboration/synergy in the New Year.
May I also commend the officers and men of the command for their commitment during the period under review. This no doubt led to the monumental success.
Customs Area Controller