Seme Customs command records N5.3bn revenue in ten months

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…Collects over N678M as revenue for October

Notwithstanding the drastic downturn in the economic activities along the Lagos-Abidjan corridor, the Seme command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has recorded a total of N5.3 billion as revenue from January to October, 2017.

Also, the anti-smuggling unit of the command made a total of 469 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N508,469,776.32 for the period under review.

A close evaluation of the command’s performance indices for the last ten months revealed that the command had performed creditably in the face of many limiting factors and hiccups that have militated against its performance.

With the adoption of a more inclusive approach in the fight against smuggling activities, the collaborative efforts with other relevant security agencies and the stakeholders have led to a tremendous decline in smuggling activities and increase in revenue collection.

Speaking on the total revenue collected for the period under review, the Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Aliyu Mohammed disclosed that the feat was achieved with the cooperation of his officers and men whose resilience and doggedness could not be compromised in implementing the policy of the federal government banning the importation of rice and vehicles through the land borders.

Mohammed stated that the intensified and aggressive anti-smuggling operations in the command had led to a drastic reduction in revenue leakages adding that it also led to the curbing of most cross border crimes perpetrated through the land border even as restated that the fight against smuggling must be sustained.

Meanwhile, the command raked in the sum of N678,237,118.22 as revenue for the month of October, 2017 while a total of 123 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N184,366,505.00 was made in the same month under review.

He submitted that the different types of seizures made in the command was a pointer to the fact that smuggling through Seme border had been combated to the barest minimum.

The seized items according to the command’s helmsman ranged from fairly used vehicles to rice, second hand clothing, shoes, frozen poultry products, mosquito repellent coils, expired fertilizer and used tyres among others.

Commenting further on the movement of goods through the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) which was adopted to promote regional trade and integration, the Customs Area Controller said that under his watch the command was committed to the implementation of extant laws regarding transit scheme, even as he affirmed that no import goods meant to pay duty was allowed to pass through the ECOWAS scheme.

He stressed that the rule of origin and the enterprise list were strictly used to ensure that infractions to evade duty through false declaration were avoided, while legitimate ECOWAS goods within the West Africa sub region were facilitated through the scheme.

For the period under review, the ECOWAS compliant goods with Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of N11,192,249,590.01 were cleared through the corridor while the 1% Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) fee amounted to N111,694,121.61 with revenue loss of N3,141,661,339.47.

The CAC noted that the command in compliance with government policy of encouraging the export of home made goods has facilitated the export of made in Nigeria goods with Free on Board (FOB) value of N9,919,324,238.49 and a total NESS collection that amounted to N49,598,169.64 saying that the command also meticulously supervised the corridor to ensure that none of the export prohibitions was allowed to pass to another country.

On the activities at the Non-Intrusive Unit (scanner site), the Customs Area Comptroller reiterated that security and trade facilitation was strictly enhanced under the scanner unit.

He restated that the performance of the functional scanner machine had saved the command from sponsored petitions of alleged smuggling of weapons into the country through the land borders adding that the scanner which was in good working condition was helping in protecting the nation’s territorial integrity as suspected images noticed during scanning process were subjected to 100% examination.

“The frequency and quantity of goods scanned per day compared to the manual examination also help to facilitate legitimate trade which is in line with the executive order on the ease of doing business.

“The command is also collaborating with other security agencies for a well-coordinated border security and management. The result of collaboration with our Beninoise counterpart has curbed a lot of cross border crimes to the barest minimum.

“On Baggage/Currency declaration unit, passengers baggage (accompanied and unaccompanied) are subjected to physical examination. The Passengers baggage electronic system (PEBES) is also used for the assessment of dutiable passenger baggage, while travelers declare their currency once it is above 10,000 USD.

“The command has also arrested a total of 23 suspects undergoing different stages of investigation and prosecution, with one person convicted”, he disclosed.

The CAC warned that as the festive period approaches, the command was ever ready to ensure that no contraband passed through the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor, while advising economic saboteurs to stay clear of Seme border or when arrested would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

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