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‘How We Mitigated Threats of Noncompliance In 2023’ Compt. Nnadi


In the run up to preparations for the collection of the 2024 Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) staggering revenue target of one trillion, one hundred and thirty billion, seven hundred and sixty eight million, fifty one thousand, eight hundred and eighty one naira, twenty nine kobo (N1, 130,768,051,881.29), astute and dependable area customs chief, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni, has identified compliance in customs trade as key element to efficient  revenue collection.

He explained that a successful regime of compliance is however, only possible  when all stakeholders are involved and positively commit to strategies, trade tools and all the operational re-engineering processes needed to achieve results.

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Speaking further, the Tin Can Island Command Customs Area Controller posited that effective blockade of associated leakages within the revenue collection system will pave the way for the realization of the NCS 2024 revenue target, which has been described as overly ambitious in some quarters.

Insisting that there is nothing administratively wrong with  revenue target of the federal government, Comptroller Nnadi argued that once the major challenge which is noncompliance to import/export extant laws in the service’s  system has been tackled; every other thing incidental to efficient collection will fall in place.

This is even as he noted that if the strategies the command deployed in 2023 under his watch are carefully re-enacted, there is no reason the current fiscal year revenue projection will not be achieved.

He proceeded to provide a doable and believable 2023 kit sample he and his management team deployed to mitigate the threats of noncompliance.

According to him, the command started the 2023 fiscal year by impressing the public guidelines for the restoration and maintenance of operational activities which ensures conformity with the service mandate.

His words, “Key among these guidelines are trade facilitation, persistent risk management application, steady revenue generation and additionally, the command devised and implemented strategies that enhanced and sustained its ability to mitigate threats of noncompliance as well as the challenges of inadequate logistics and infrastructure at the port.

“As part of this committed efforts, we made reasonable attempts to optimize the use of scanners. We introduced 24 hours operation and weekend operations. We made attempts and succeeded in automating the bond seat, including continuous capacity building for officers of the command. We also revamped our dispute resolution committee and we engaged in regular stakeholders meeting and sensitization.

“It has been our effort to decongest the port corridors with the support of our sister agencies like the Nigerian Post Authority and the various transport unions. We have also contributed in mitigating the effects of insecurity along the port corridor through our engagement with our sister agency, the Nigerian Port Authority. One of the key areas that we used effectively to optimize our performance in Tin Can Port in 2023 was capacity building.

“Operational process of Nigerian Customs under review was aligned with the 2023 International Custom Day team which was nurturing the next generation, promoting a culture of knowledge sharing and promotional pride in customs. We recognized that nurturing the young will help the NCS, particularly now that we are undergoing a transition. We also recognized that such nurturing of officers will not just be enough if we don’t also engage with our stakeholders. So for that reason, we made deliberate attempts to relate effectively with all our stakeholders from other government agencies to clearing agents and importers.”

The NCS centre striker also talked about the radical reforms and strengthening that the Bond Seat underwent; which became the compass to the overall success.

“One of such attempts resulted in the automation of the bond seat which handles transires for the command. This has been manual in the past but considering the volume of activities that is going on there, we decided to automate them. One significant thing about this automation is that it was initiated, carried out, executed and completed by an officer of the command, in the person of the Superintendent of Customs Samuel Kolawole Bello. This is very significant in service investment in its human capacity. Let me state that we are also expecting to introduce more of that, using internally generated resources.”

Savvy and with appetite for essential details, loyalty and gratitude, Nandi disclosed that much of the direction came from above; for which he expressed his profound appreciation.

“We want to thank the Comptroller General of Customs and the management for encouraging officers to attain such enviable position that they can introduce world class information technology activities into our system.”

Nnadi explains that the command under his watch will consolidate on the 24 hours port operations it helped in putting in place last year, noting that the 2024 revenue target needs a round-the-clock port operation to be able to make meaningful achievement.

“Let me remind all of us too that within the year 2023, Tin Can Island Port Command experimented and implemented 24 hours cargo clearance. We did that because we believe that the port is not supposed to sleep. I know that in the past we’ve been able to achieve 24 hours port operations in certain aspects of our activities, including ship side operation and enforcement activities. But we felt that in order to enhance the Nigerian economy through service delivery, we needed to introduce all round 24 hours operation for all our activities.

“We started that by including the scanning operations that are sometimes interrupted even in the night.”

Speaking about 2023, the TCIP Controller said out of a target of  N801,142,297,407, the command was able to generate a total of N716,479,007,576 , 74 kobo, which translates to 89.43%; despite all the economic difficulties in the nation, particularly in the first half of the year 2023.

An officer with vision and big heart, Nnadi specially recognized the command’s stakeholders for their show of patriotism, commerce and commitment in the demand for compliance and third party revenue collection engagement.

To further consolidate on the essential partnership between the customs command and clearing agents, importers, freight forwarders and others, he has dedicated 2024 operations and its successes or otherwise to the stakeholders.

He said, “This is very significant and I commend officers and men of the command. But particularly I commend the freight forwarders, importers and the agents who paid this duty. I must give it to them that they are the ones that helped us to generate this revenue. And for that reason, Tin Can Island Port Command has declared the year 2024 as the year of stakeholders to reciprocate the support we received from them in 2023.”

He however warned that the command will not accept half measures or be obliged to negotiate on account of its gesture, even as he promised to wield the big stick as and at when necessary.

“We have decided that 2024 is going to be the year of stakeholders in Tin Can Island Port Command. We pledge to devote our time, resources, human capacity to serve them and deliver quality service to them. Let me state that in doing that, again, we will encourage those who are already compliant to do more.

“We will encourage those who are not compliant but are willing to change to do more, but we will not hesitate to deal decisively with those who are not compliant and are not willing to change.”

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