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Okun breaks ‘zero seizure’ jinx in PTML

Jacks up 2020 revenue collection by 19 percent

Out a revenue projection of N238 billion for 2020, the Ports and Terminals Multi-purpose Limited (PTML ) Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service generated a total of N189.3 billion from January to December 2020, recording a shortfall of N48.9 billion, due mainly to harsh operating environment and  the global corona virus pandemic that impacted adversely on world economics last year.

PTML Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Festus Okun said that despite the shortfall, the 2020 figure is 19percent  higher than a total of N159billion the command generated in 2019, even as he cited the Coconut/Tin Can Island Port chaotic traffic and attendant gridlock as a major factor responsible for the shortfall in the command’s projected revenue target.

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Okun explained that the gridlock impacted negatively on the turn-around time for import and export movements, which in turn negatively impacted the command’s overall operation; even as he disclosed that vehicle import constituted about eighty percent of the command’s total cargo throughput for the year under the review.

He said, “One of the greatest challenges faced by humanity in the year 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic and ours was not an exception. So many economies were shut down outside the country and even within Nigeria, so many sectors were shut down even our banks were not working optimally.

“The port access road also greatly impacted negatively on our operation. At a time, it took four to five days for cargoes released to move from this port to Tin Can before they will even join the main access road. But we later discovered that it was a little bit easy for cargoes to go out during the weekend, so we had to organise our officers to open the gate 24 hours from Friday to Monday and we discovered that it worked.

“Another area of challenge is the issue of 100 per cent physical examination of containerized cargo. This is due to the absence of scanners at the port. We are hoping that this will soon be a thing of the past once the e-Customs project is fully realised. If all these challenges were not there, we are sure that we would have realised our target or probably surpassed it.”

Continuing, Okun said the command also processed a total of 151,938metric tons of export goods, with a Free on Board (FOB) value of N117, 337, 234, 666.67, January to December 2020. The customs area controller also disclosed that the command, recorded a seizure of six by 20ft containers, made up of contrabands and trade goods that ran foul of the clearance formalities. The seized containers of Idole lightening soap, which flouts the prohibition rule, and lotion, which even though is customs trade goods but was impounded for false declaration, has a total Duty Paid Value of N287, 009, 745.00.

He said, “During the year under review, the Command made its first seizure in about six years. The seizure was effected because the importation was done in contravention of extant laws. While soap is listed under Schedule 111 of the Common external Tariff (CET), Import Prohibition (Trade), the lotion was falsely declared as bean seeds.”

He added that another area the command recorded important achievement in 2020, was the automation of the Bond Seat, which allowed for the easy administration of bond electronically, from execution, monitoring through to discharge.

He listed other great strides that made 2020 operational year, thick and eventful, including the command’s ability to guard against the outbreak of Covid-19 by adhering to all the prescribed protocols.

“The command put in place various measures in the area of capacity building for officers, strengthening of the dispute resolution committee and building a strong team for quality service delivery, thus engendering the ease of doing business. We have a functional help desk while we keep our doors open to stakeholders for direct access,” Okun said.

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