On Friday, Maritime activities closed with Comptroller Victor Dimka, Area Controller of Seme Border Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) saying the command generated N160 million between Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th February 2016. Mr. Dimka made the disclosure while receiving the Zone `A’ Coordinator of the NCS, Eporwei Edike, in the command.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Dimka, who assumed office in the third week of January, said the exchange rate was affecting the command’s revenue. He added that cars that were supposed to come through the border were being diverted to illegal routes. Nonetheless, they were able to make that amount in the space of two working days.
We are facing a lot of challenges which had resulted in low activities because of the issue of valuation of vehicles. We have tried to live up to expectation by issuing what is approved by the Customs Headquarters,’’ the controller said.
Mr. Dimka noted that officers of the command had become change agents and are assisting the Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali, in achieving his mandate. In his remark, the zonal coordinator said that the service had no doubt that change is inevitable in the Seme command. Edike said that he noticed something different on his way from Badagry to Seme where he saw only two check points. He commended the efforts of the comptroller in reducing the check points, adding that officers should be more committed to intelligent surveillance within their environment.
Smugglers are watching out for your weak link either from Seme command or Idiroko, so you must be active always,’’ says Edike. As you are generating revenue, you are also working for national security. If you allow one bullet to pass into the country unlawfully, it can harm the country,’’ he said.
Edike also advised the officers to collaborate with other security agencies for assistance on intelligence information. The zonal coordinator told the officers not to take any money belonging to the federal or state government, adding if they do, it could land them in prison. In a related development, Comptroller Wanidu Multafu, the Customs Area Controller, said that the command generated N536 million in January. The controller said that he had designated some officers to mount surveillance in some of the bush paths in the area, while some officers were designated to be at the checkpoints.
We have porous border which has been affecting us in generating more revenue because the smugglers escape through the various routes in the area. We have appealed to the rice dealers in the area to form a group and clear the rice through the border station to avoid being seized,’’ Multafu says.
He also said that he had closed the border three times since his resumption in the last few weeks due to illegal operations in the area. The command also recorded N20.7 billion in the corresponding period of 2015. Egbudin stated this at the monthly stakeholders meeting organized by the command in Lagos. He urged clearing agents and importers to be transparent in all their transactions.
We will pray that this year, we should be able exceed N500 billion and that is our expectation. So far, I do not think we are doing badly; even though we are not meeting the target,’’ says the controller.
Egbudin said that there had been a sharp drop in importation and noted that with honest and transparent declarations, the target of N1.1 trillion set aside for the service would be achieved. The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) had also saved the nation 2.7 billion dollars (N531.9 billion) in the last five years for preventing overcharging and leakages in freight (shipping) operations.
The Executive Secretary of the Council Mr Hassan Bello, made the disclosure on the sideline of the visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Marine Transport to the council’s headquarters in Lagos. Bello urged the committee to support the council to achieve its mandate as the port economic regulator.
We confirm the reasonableness of freight trade. Each time there is a request for forex, for foreign exchange to be paid; it comes to us and we check it. It was during the course of checking, that we discovered there were incidences of overcharging and there were incidences of exaggeration of freight.
There were incidences of freight rates that were paid for services that were not rendered; and that was what gave us 2.7 billion dollars,’’ the executive secretary said. Which means we were blocking the leakages, we were blocking the wastage,’’ says Bello.