Seme Customs Command presents Q1 2023 performance scorecard, generates N350m revenue, others
Hands over fake $6m, seized contraband items to sister agencies
By Edu Abade,
The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has presented its performance scorecard for the First Quarter (Q1) of 2023, disclosing that the command generated a revenue of N350 million and handed over several seized contraband goods to its partner sister agencies.
Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, who made this known while presenting the scorecard during a media briefing at Seme, Badagry on April 4, 2023, saying it was exactly two months and two weeks since he assumed duties in the Command as the Customs Area new Controller.
“Upon my resumption, I pledged to adopt new strategies to boost trade, while enforcing the nation’s anti-smuggling laws along the Abidjan Lagos Corridor (ALCO) in line with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocols on free movement of goods and persons.
“I pledged to encourage compliant traders along the corridor while enforcing the law against inflexible offenders who will wish to test our resolve and in line with keeping to the promise the Command has in the first quarter of 2023 facilitated the movement of persons and legitimate goods,” he stayed.
On the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), he said about 425 trucks with fees amounting to N314. 7 million, 412 baggage declarations with duty of N58.8 million were realized, adding that the items imported under the ELTS arrangement include food products and beverages produced within the sub-region.
“For export, 1,243 trucks bearing 40,096.47 metric tons of made in Nigeria cargoes were declared on 165 Single Administrative Documents (SAD) with Free On Board (FoB) value of N4.2 billion and National Export Supervision Scheme Fees of N21.45 million.
“During the same period in 2022, 3006 trucks bearing 116,053.9 metric tons of cargo with FoB value of N6.5 billion with NESS Fees of N33 million was recorded, but regrettably, there is a shortfall in export of 75,000 metric tons of cargo due to competition between Dangote Cement and others in the Togo cement market.
He further explained that other sources of revenue for the Command comprised fees collected from the auction sales of seized items, especially petroleum products and other perishable items, adding that to this end, the command generated a total of N350.099 million in the first quarter of this year.
Nnadi pointed out that the figure came to N105.095 million or 23.09 percent short of the N455.195 million collected in the corresponding period of 2022.
He attributed the deficit to a lull in activities during the cashless policy and the wait by the traders for the outcome of the general election, the economic policy of Republic of Benin, who charge fees on goods in transit to Nigeria constitute tariff barriers to trade along the corridor, which he said, affected the command’s revenue and needed urgent review.
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“One of the core mandates of the service in Seme as elsewhere is trade facilitation. The Command is conscious of its strategic location as the foremost frontier for trade and tourism in West and Central Africa particularly the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and the emerging African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Nigeria has lots of potential in both trade regimes considering its GDP, population and industrial capacity, which is the highest in the West and Central Africa sub-region and indeed Africa.
“However, as I had earlier mentioned in my previous interactions with the media that the major source of revenue of the Command (import and export) have not been enhanced since the opening of the land Borders as directed by the Federal Government, as traders are still having challenges of having been out of business for over two years,” he stated.
He noted that where some traders have embraced the reality of the circumstances, they have requested and appealed for a review of the process of obtaining approvals for re-exportation, which requires that they go to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in Abuja for every application for re-exportation.
On anti-smuggling and enforcement activities, he said realising that a secured border will translate to more revenue even at the sea ports, the Seme Command in the first quarter of 2023 recorded milestones in its anti-smuggling operations.
Some of the anti-smuggling landmarks in the Command include the seizure of fake $6 million, an equivalent of N2.763 billion at an exchange rate of N460.52, which will be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) immediately after the media briefing.
Also seized in the first quarter is 2, 242 bags of 50kg rice equivalent to 112,100 kg or four trailer loads of foreign par boiled with Duty Paid Value of N72.7 million, 7, 587 by 30 litres of petrol, which is an equivalent of 227,610 liters or seven tanker loads of petrol with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N51 million, 684, 550 pieces of donkey skin with DPV of N10.6 million.
Also seized are six Maltese International Passports with the same picture of a lady, but bearing different names, two Senegalese International Passports , three Togolese International Passports, four Republic of Benin International Passports, one Republic of Niger International Passport and 10 International Driving Licenses of these various countries, which will be handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on the orders of the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col Hameed Ali (rtd.) and in line with the Service desire to consolidate the synergy between the NCS and its partner agencies.
Also seized by the Command are 1160 pieces of dead rats, 1102 pieces of dead tiny birds, 34 pieces of monkey skin and 14 parcels of cannabis sativa.
“These achievements so far, were not made on a platter of gold. It took the painstaking efforts of the officers, who spend hours on patrol and surveillance to record the seizures. We wish to reiterate that we will not relent on this effort and for this reason, the officers are being commended.
“The Command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitise and educate the public on socio-economic implication of smuggling, as well as perform its statutory function of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies. For this, we are once more calling on stakeholders in the Seme-Krake Corridor and beyond to prepare to embrace AfCFTA, while consolidating on the gains of ETLS,” he said.
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