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Customs

CTN as panacea for insecurity,  importation of contraband goods through ports.

Since the collapse of scanners at the nation’s  seaports and land borders,  the Nigeria Customs Service has been using manual method(100 percent examination)  to inspect cargoes but experts believe that  re-introduction of CTN at the ports would minimise the high incidence of insecurity through curbing of importation of arms and ammunitions through our ports into the country.

Eyewitness reporter writes

In 2015, the Nigerian Shippers Council was desirous to re-introduce the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) into the nation’s maritime industry.

But this was met with stiff opposition especially from local Manufacturers who thought it will add to cost of doing business at the ports.

But, the  Council at that time was interested in the overall national security and safety of Nigerians because it is believed that the CTN will help check importation of arms, ammunition and hazardous materials into the country.

Two years after the council bowed to pressure and suspended the laudable projects, arms and ammunitions were being imported freely into the country but few are being intercepted in and outside the nation’s seaports, a situation the council want to avert through the CTN but was thwarted by stakeholders.

For instance,  in January 2017, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intercepted 49 boxes containing 661 pieces of pump action rifles.

The ammunitions were intercepted by officers of the federal operations unit (FOU), Zone A, Ikeja, in a Mark truck with registration number BUG 265 XG, the 40 feet container with number; PONU/825914/3 along Mile 2 Apapa Road, in Lagos.

Thee boxes were concealed with steel and other merchandise goods.

Also in  May,  2017, another 440 pump action rifles were intercepted at the Tin Can Island Command, Lagos.

According to the then Zonal Co-ordinator of the Zone, Monday Abue, the cargo was shipped into the country from Turkey and concealed in POP.

On the 7th of September, 2017 another 1,100 rifles were further intercepted in a 20ft container  with No GESU2555208 during examination, while the Bill of Lading falsely indicated wash hand basins and water closets.

A week after, another container with about 475 pump action rifles with container number, CMAU189817/8 carrie about 475 pump action rifles.

However,  2018 was not spared as the Customs Service intercepted live ammunitions at the Tin-Can island port.

The Tin-Can Island Command of the service said the live ammunitions were concealed in a vehicle and container at the Lagos Port.

It was gathered that the interception were done in two different operations on the 9th and 10th of July respectively.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejiesieme , the first incident at the Terminal ‘C’, involved 1 x 40ft container No. TGHU 60143419, which on scheduled examination was found to contain 150 rounds of live ammunition and jack knives while  149 rounds of 38mm calibre live ammunition, 92 rounds of 9mm calibre live ammunition, 2 rounds Of 7.62MM calibre live ammunition,  11 cartridges of live ammunition,12 expenses empty shells of various calibre and one empty magazine were uncovered in another vehicle.”

This is part of the few interceptions that were made by the service while  many more may have eluded the eagle eye of the customs service.

But, stakeholders have argued that the CTN, if it had been  implemented in 2015 ,would have detected the contrabands before it was loaded on vessels to Nigeria.

Even,  the Central Bank of Nigeria agreed that the CTN would not only checkmate under declaration and share trade information but will also assist the Nigeria Customs Service to risk mitigation on imports, enhance and block revenue leakages at the ports.

Speaking, a frontline Importer, Ikechukwu Shedrack ,said the CTN would serve as a security measure to ensure safety and security of goods shipped from one part of the world to another.

“It is meant to be implemented worldwide. The regulation requires shippers to have a Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) accompanying all shipments.

“The CTN will help enhance security at a time Nigerian government is have difficulties in replacing obsolete scanners at the ports. It will give information of cargoes to be imported even before loading and it will help know what should be imported and what not to be imported into the country, especially if it were to be arms and ammunitions it will be intercepted at point of loading”

“Aside under declaration, the CTN will also bring trade information.

Research had also shown that the CTN, when reintroduced, is different from the old ways of monitoring cargoes as it has four distinct features from the previous tracking device.

It is noteworthy that, as can be seen from the agreement, four important features distinguish the current ICTN Scheme from the abolished version.

That is, the current scheme will be implemented at no cost to the shipper/consignee, at all and the current scheme is web based and therefore paperless,thus making the delay associated with obtaining Cargo Tracking Note and associated documentation by Shippers, under the abolished version of the scheme completely eliminated as the shipper needs not do anything apart from declaring in advance (i.e. at the loading port), information relating to the cargo.

Also,  the one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) per container CTN fee charged under the abolished version, paid by the shippers, which led to the stakeholders vehement protest against the scheme and its eventual abolishment, was radically modified and reduced to a token administrative fee of twenty five dollars ($25) per container, thereby making it the lowest in our West and Central African Sub-region.

This became necessary not only in view of Nigeria’s volume of trade but also to substantially downplay the insinuated revenue generation motive of the old version of the scheme in favour of the actual and more important Trader Information Generation motive which has tremendous potential to impact positively on the nation’s effort in Trade Facilitation, National Planning and National Security;

The NSC-TPMS Sharing Ration of the collectible Administrative fee was negotiated and reviewed from 60-40, under the abolished scheme, to 65-35 thereby raising the share accruable to the government.

Also,  all vessels loading and unloading or in transit (Export/Import and Transit) departing from Nigeria Ports or having Nigerian Ports as final destination or transiting through Nigerian ports shall, before any movement, obtain a Movement Reference Number (MRN).

The MRN will be allocated to the vessels by Nigerian Shippers’ Council irrespective of the origin of the vessel of cargoes.

 The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr. Hassan Bello had then disclosed that the CTN would be reintroduced to help curb importation of arms and ammunition into the country.

He said, “The Cargo Tracking Note would soon be reintroduced at a very negligible cost. CTN is a security thing because when we have it, there won’t be smuggling of firearms and all other contrabands.

” Smuggling of contraband won’t happen because everything coming in will be tracked, we will know the weight of the cargo, values and materials used.”

Bello stated further that the CTN would also help the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to fight substandard products and fake drugs respectively.

 “SON and NAFDAC will benefit by knowing whether products being imported are fake or not.

“I am calling on all the port stakeholders such as manufacturers, shippers and the rest to support this. That is why the Nigerian Shippers Council wants to develop the port community system because what the port needs is unity.

” There is need for everyone to come together on a platform to know what the other is doing. It is good for data collection for planning and for you to know your customers,” said Bello.
But the desire of the Shippers’Council to reintroduce the controvesial CTN was not to be at that period as it  was again aborted as stakeholders effectively shut down the move despite the efforts of the council to convince them.
But the country may once again have a shot at the CTN few years after  it was shot down by the sceptical stakeholders.
Following the resurgence of insecurity in the country which has assumed a verocious dimension, the Federal government has asked the Nigerian Shippers’Council to resuscitate the move to reintroduce the controvesial CTN to track all imports in order to identify and curtail importation of arms and ammunitions into the country through the ports.
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Customs

Hameed Ali, Customs boss, in last minute  frenzied promotion, reshuffle of officers 

CGC, Ali
The Eyewitness reporter
In what appears to be his last major assignment before his second-term tenure as the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service winds down on May 29th, 2023, Hammed Ali, the Customs boss, has undertaken a comprehensive restructuring of the service through mass promotion, a reshuffle of the management team and rejigging of the area Controllers.
Col.(rtd) Ali kickstarted the massive exercise with a promotion galore of officers when on January 5th, 2023, three ACGs were appointed and 1490 officers were promoted to their next ranks by the Customs board upon his recommendation.
Not done yet with what stakeholders described as his parting gift to officers, a week later, the CGC announced the reshuffle of the management team of the service by infusing some newly promoted ACGs into the team while swapping the positions of some old members.
The icing on the cake was when he reshuffled the Area Controllers by rewarding some newly promoted Controllers with juicy Area commands while swapping the positions of the old ones.
The latest exercise, announced Saturday, January 21st, 2023, was the new disposition at the command structure of the service.
In the new posting, Comptroller Timi Bomodi, who was until now, the National Public Relations Officer of the Service and newly promoted to the Comptroller cadre, was posted to head the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) in Lagos, while  Comptroller Dera Nnadi, who had just concluded his management course at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos, was posted to Seme Area Command as its Area Controller.
Nnadi had a short stint at Ogun Command, Idiroko, as its Area Controller before he left for NIPSS.

In the new posting, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed was moved from Port Harcourt Area 2 command to head Apapa Command vacated by the revenue czar in the service, ACG Malanta Ibrahim Yusuf.

Others include Compt OA Salefu who now heads Western Marine Command Lagos, Compt AM Ibrahim heads PTML Terminal Lagos and Compt M.S Yusuf superintendents over the Muritala Muhammed Airport command in Lagos.

Compt CD Wada goes to Port Harcourt Area1 command as its Area Controller, while M.I Jalo heads Federal Operations Unit Zone B  while B . Mohammed heads Lillypond command in Lagos.

The promotions and reshuffle of officers have however elicited mixed reactions among the Customs officers.

For those who benefited from the parting gift of Hammed Ali, it was a welcome development, but for those who hold the short end of the stick in the exercise, it left a sour taste in their mouth.

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Customs

ACG Yusuf allays fears of possible revenue dip in Apapa Customs

 

— as he resumes in Abuja as ACG, ICT/modernisation
The Eyewitness reporter
The outgoing Area Controller of the Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, the newly promoted Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Malanta Ibrahim Yusuf, has expressed optimism about the capability of his successor at the Apapa command to surpass his record-breaking revenue generation.
Following his elevation and eventual deployment to head the ICT/ modernisation project of the service at the headquarters, stakeholders have expressed fears over what will become the revenue trajectory of the Apapa Customs command which Malanta has raised to an unprecedented height.
In 2022, the Apapa command grossed a dizzying figure of N1. 022 trillion under the leadership of Malanta, the revenue Czar of the customs.
He also promised to surpass the feat, which is unprecedented in the history of the service, by marshaling the command to realise a projected sum of N 1. 5 trillion in 2023.
“Now that he (ACG Yusuf) has been called for higher duty at Abuja, can his successor match his towering credentials in revenue generation?
“Won’t his shoes be too big for the fellow who takes over from him” an agitated stakeholder muttered.
But the new ACG calmly said, “he (his successor) would do better than I did”
Stakeholders said it remains to be seen how the successor to the man who won the Revenue mobiliser of the year award last year from the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) for his exemplary leadership and soar-away revenue performance in the Apapa Customs command, will match his oversized shoes.
“Taking over from Malanta would present a big challenge for whoever succeeds him because of the record in revenue performance which has been set by the new ACG.
“The least he (Malanta’s successor) could do is to sustain the tempo, even if he can’t surpass it as this would be the yardstick that would be used to measure his performance.
“It’s a real burden,” another source said of the person who will take over from the revenue marshal.
It could be recalled that Malanta was among the newly deployed senior officers to the management cadre in the service following his promotion to the ACG.
In a statement signed by Comptroller Timi Bomodi, the National Public Relations Officer of the service, the new disposition followed the statutory retirement of some members of the management team of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Consequent upon this, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col.(rtd) Hameed Ali, approved the appointment and redeployment of the management members to enhance strategic and effective service delivery.

A breakdown of the appointment is as follows; EI Edorhe DCG Finance, Admin & Technical Service; HK Gummi DCG Tariff and Trade; M Abba-Kura Ag. DCG Enforcement, Inspection & Investigation; AG Saidu Ag. DCG Human Resource Development; JP Ajoku Ag. DCG Excise, Free Trade Zone & Industrial Incentives; BA Adeniyi Ag. DCG Strategic Research and Policy and GA Itotoh Ag. DCG Training and Doctrine Command.

Others are: O Peters Ag. ACG/Zonal Coordinator Zone ‘D’; AI Alfa Ag. ACG Strategic Research and Policy; HJ Swomen Ag. ACG Excise, Free Trade Zone & Industrial Incentives; KC Egwuh Ag. ACG Training and Doctrine Command; MBA Musa Ag. ACG Tariff and Trade; A Dappa-Williams Ag. ACG Enforcement Inspection & Investigation and BM Jibo Ag. ACG Headquarters.

Also appointed are: A Hamisu Ag. ACG/Commandant Nigeria Customs Command & Staff College; Y Salihu Ag. ACG Finance & Admin; MI Yusuf Ag. ACG ICT/Modernization; SA Bomai Ag. ACG Board; CK Niagwan Ag. ACG Finance, Admin & Technical Services and KI Adeola Ag. ACG Training and Doctrine Command.

While thanking the retired members of the management for their meritorious service and support, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) CFR congratulated the newly appointed officers and charged them to redouble their efforts in ensuring the Service achieves greater heights in its mandates of revenue generation, suppression of smuggling and trade facilitation.

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Customs

What we did differently to achieve N1trillion naira revenue in 2022–Compt. Yusuf

 

The Eyewitness reporter
The Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service has broken the revenue record of the service when it realised the sum of N1.022 trillion naira revenue in 2022.
The amount, which is unprecedented in the history of customs, is about half of the total amount realised by the entire service in 2022 which was put at N2.6 trillion Naira.
Addressing the press Thursday, the Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Ibrahim Malanta Yusuf, disclosed that the amount was 16.07 percent higher than the N870.388 billion collected in 2021.
Comptroller Yusuf said the command was able to achieve the feat through the resilience of men and officers in blocking revenue leakages and ensuring that all unpaid declarations and unutilized PAARs were traced and accounted to the federal government coffers.
He also attributed this laudable achievement to the creation of an enabling environment for officers which triggered motivation and productivity.
“There was a change in the environment which was made conducive and this brings motivation of staff which in turns brings productivity” the Customs chief declared
 On export trade, the command also recorded a total of $68.5 million Free on Board(FOB) value with a naira equivalent of N28.2 billion of Non- oil commodities with a total tonnage of 6.4 million metric tonnes exported through Apapa port.
Agricultural products topped the list of exports that passed through the command.
Comptroller Yusuf further disclosed that the anti-smuggling efforts of the command yielded a bountiful harvest in the year under review with a total seizure of 157 containers with a duty paid value (DPV) of N14.4 billion.
This was higher than the seizures made in 2021 which were 102 containers with a DPV of N 31.8 billion.
Fake and prohibited drugs without the necessary NAFDAC certification and overdose drugs of Tramadol top the list of seizures.
60 suspects were arrested in connection with some of these seizures and are in various stages of investigations and prosecution by relevant government agencies.
Comptroller Yusuf lauded the cooperation and collaboration with other agencies of government which he said contributed immensely to the successes recorded by the command.
He also expressed appreciation to the stakeholders for their support to the command, especially their financial support towards the renovation of a befitting ultra-modern conference room at the command.
Subsequently, the commands awarded certificates of appreciation to the deserving stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the command decorated the 37 men and officers of the command who were promoted to their next ranks.
Among them are four Comptrollers, 10 Deputy Comptrollers, six Assistant Controllers, eight Chief Superintendents of Customs (CSC), five Superintendents of Customs(SC)  and four Deputy Superintendents of Customs.
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