BY FUNMI AKUKO
Comptroller Babatunde Olomu fsi, PhD, a onetime DC Enforcement at the Apapa Customs Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is the current Customs Area Controller (CAC) Delta /Edo Command.
He is not only part of the headquarters think-tanks, Olomu comes across as one of the most cerebral minds in the headquarters and strategic planning team. Thus his posting to the Delta/Edo Command, regarded as one of the ‘dead area commands’ figuratively speaking, was considered a deliberate management decision aimed at driving the rejuvenation of the command and bringing it around as a performing customs port in terms of economic sustainability.
It is not a secret that the command which consist of the Warri and Koko ports together with few excise factories and oil and gas terminals has been under the wood for years as the command revenue projections has suffered steady decline.
Consequently, the customs command annual revenue target has since plunged below average despite concerted efforts by successive administration to tie the dip. This was the situation when Olomu took over control of the command. Determined to make a difference and relying in part on the special tactical exposure afforded him by headquarters, he quickly devised a new operational strategy which he figured could turn the tide.
Thus he was believed to have reasoned that in the absence of the right traffic cargo inflow, there was need to retool the customs service excise tool by enhancing the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) to become operative and effective in the operational terminals and excise factories. Armed with his new blueprint and economic designs, Olomu went on working tour of all the terminals, and with official audacity announced that most of the affected terminals have fallen short of their obligations to the federal government that has provided them the enabling environment to carry on their businesses; and demanded the payment of the required taxes and fees.
He followed up with enlarged stakeholders meetings where he impressed it on the stakeholders that they must fulfill their own obligations to make the business relationship cordial and mutually beneficial.
That effectively corrected the hitherto revenue dislocation as the command in 2022 generated N5,680.756,692.25 in revenue. This was in addition to the recovery of N839, 507,095.00 through issuance of a total of 33 Debit Notes (DN). It is believed that out of its monthly revenue target of N84, 240,000. 00, the Command is now generating an average of N46 million per month.
Armed by the relevant laws, Olomu was believed to have reached out to the authorities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and with particular focus on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and on the need for customs officers to be involved in the examination of oil cargoes for export at the products loading terminals.
It is more so since the customs are statutorily empowered to participate in the fiscalisation and de-fiscalisation process of crude lifting and exportation, and the concomitant screening and signing of the NXP and CCI forms.
It is believed that presently, the Delta/ Edo Customs Command and critical stakeholders including Multi-national Oil Companies, Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies, PIAs, NNPCL and others are on the same page; and strengthened through the necessary feedback mechanism. Inside sources revealed that the stakeholders meeting held on January 31, 2023 also had Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigeria Oil Company (NIOC) and other major oil companies operating in the command in attendance. In the current economic map is the Forcados and Excravos Oil terminal.
The operative clauses under the CEMA include section 32(b)of the extant guidelines on quality and value inspections, No5, section 6, Export guidelines for oil, gas and non oil , and section 19 which mandates customs officers to participate in the fiscalisation and de-fiscalisation process.
…Posts N10.9b Into FG Coffers Q1
Meanwhile, the command between January and March 2023 generated and posted a total revenue of Ten Billion, Nine Hundred and Ninety Four Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Two Thousand, Four Hundred and Eleven Naira, Fifty Kobo (N10, 994,852,411.50) into the Federation and Non- Federation accounts.
Olomu who made the disclosure when he briefed the press on the command’s first quarter activities, explained that out of the figure, excise duty collection accounted for One Billion Four Hundred and Ninety Three Million Four Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nine Naira Five Kobo (N1, 493,415,809.5).
Above figure is Seven Hundred and Twenty Seven Million, Thirty Six Thousand, Eighty Nine Naira Seventy Five Kobo (N727, 036, 089.75) over and above the collection of the corresponding period for 2022, translating to an increase of 6.8percent.
This is even as the command recovered a total of Seventy Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nine Naira (N78, 990,809.00) through the issuance of demand notices (DN).
Speaking Olomu said: “For the first quarter 2023, inspite of the obvious challenges recorded in the trade supply chain occasioned by lull in port activities, Edo/DeltaArea command was able to generate a total revenue of Ten Billion, Nine Hundred and Ninety Four Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Two Thousand, Four Hundred and ElevenNaira Fifty Kobo (N10, 994,852,411.50) and remitted same to the Federation and Non- Federation accounts of the Federal Government.
“Additionally, excise duty also forms a steady and reliable part of our monthly/annual revenue collections. The main area of Excise duty collection in the Command is Guiness Brewery, Coca-Cola and 7up Bottling Company which all together accounted for a total of One Billion Four Hundred and Ninety Three Million Four Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nine Naira Five Kobo N1, 493,415,809.5.”
Giving the comparative analysis, he said “When compared to the corresponding period last year, the command had an increase of Seven Hundred and Twenty Seven Million, Thirty Six Thousand, Eighty Nine Naira Seventy Five Kobo (N727, 036, 089.75); this indicates an increased collection of 6.8%. We are determined to do more and possible surpass our revenue target for the year 2023, by God’s grace.
“Also for the first quarter of the year, the command was able to raise 13 demand notice (DN) as compared to 8 demand notice for the corresponding period of 2022. The demand notice of 2023 is worth Seventy Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety Thousand, Eight Hundred and Nine Naira (N78, 990,809.00).”
Explaining some technical background to the operations of the command, he said, “As you all know, the statutory responsibility of Revenue generation and accounting for same, trade facilitation, suppression of smuggling and implementation of Government policies has being the primary preoccupation of the Edo/Delta Command with her headquarters at Warri, NPA complex. The command co-ordinates and monitors ports activities, jetties and outstations as well as oversee the activities of some excise factories in Edo State.
“On assumption of duty, I immediately summoned a stakeholders meeting because they are the heartbeat of the Nigeria Customs Service. I also went further to scrutinize the operations of the Export Seat, Forcados Terminal and Escravos Export Terminal on the activities relating to the lifting and exportation of crude oil. This led to a stakeholders meeting of the International Oil Companies (IOC’s), Pre-Shipment Inspection Agencies (PIA’s) and the Local Oil Companies (LOC’s) operating within the Command.”
He also disclosed that the command realized Twenty Four Billion, Five Hundred and Seventy Six Million, and Thirty Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty Six Dollar, Ninety Six Cents (USD$24,576,039,926.96) respectively, from processed oil export, with an additional Three Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty Dollar, Seventy Nine Cents(USD$392,280.79) from non oil export cargo.
“Statistics from the export seat shows that the free on board (FOB) value for oil export for the first quarter of 2023 stood at Twenty Four Billion, Five Hundred and Seventy Six Million, and Thirty Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty Six Dollar, Ninety Six Cents (USD$24,576,039,926.96). While the non-oil export value stood at Three Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty Dollar, Seventy Nine Cents (USD$392,280.79).”
The erudite Edo/Delta Customs boss revealed that the command Government Warehouse located at its Benin City Out Station has been upgraded into a modern storage facility that caters for seizures from sister stations and units; and expressed gratitude the customs leadership and management for it and various other infrastructural supports.
“Towards ensuring the security of seizures and detentions domiciled in the Command, the Area was recently blessed with an ultra-modern Government warehouse in Benin outstation Aduwawa, where seizures brought in by Federal Operation Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri, Strike Force Unit Zone ‘C’ and Joint Border Drill Patrol team are been handed over to officers and men of Edo/Delta command for proper documentation and safe keeping.
“Mere words cannot convey the depth of our gratitude to the CGC and his management team for this beautiful piece of art constructed at the Benin outstation of the Area Command.
“This press briefing will be incomplete if I fail to recognise in uttermost respect the special attention, love, dedication and care the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service and the entire Management team has accorded the Command. In general, their support and encouragement has been overwhelming and has yielded the following capital projects for the Command.”
|S/N||DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT||LOCATION||PROJECT LEVEL|
|a..||Construction of 16 Man Rank and File||Customs Barracks, Airport Road, Warri||Completed 12th January 2023|
|b.||Construction of Ultra-Modern Government Warehouse||Customs House, Aduwawa Benin City||Completed 28th February 2023|
|c.||Construction of 2 Nos. 16 Man Rank and File||Customs House, Aduwawa Benin City||60% Completed|
|d.||Renovation of 4 Nos. 3-Bedroom Flats and Boys Quarters||Customs Barracks, Airport Road, Warri||Recently awarded
|e.||Renovation of 5 Blocks of 2-Bedroom Flats Semi-Detached||Customs Barracks, Airport Road, Warri||50% completed|
He also commended his management team, officers and men of the command for their individual and collective roles in achieving the impressive first quarter scorecard; while not leaving out the cooperation of sister agencies.
“The Command enjoys synergy with relevant stakeholders which include but not limited to NPA Port Manager, Air Force Commander, Navy Commander, Department of State Services Edo/Delta State as well as the NDLEA Port Commander amongst others.
“On my assumption of office, I paid homage to the Olu of Warri with my management team to receive the King’s blessings. These entire visits were geared towards a robust collaboration between the Service and my counterparts to aid in a seamless process of carrying out my statutory functions.”