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The Eagle Has Landed

John Johnson
If there was any Customs deployment that received unanimous and overwhelming endorsement of stakeholders, it was that of Comptroller Yusuf Ibrahim Malanta.
The “revenue mobiliser” made a triumphant entry into the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service in February, 2021 as its new Area Controller.
The deployment of Malanta to the command was as unique as it was coincidental.
As a crack system man with solid ICT background, Malanta had few years ago at the same command, awed both his employers and stakeholders with his high capacity for revenue mobilisation and ingenuous knack for plugging revenue leakages.
As an ASYCUDA  Project Manager(APM) at Apapa at that time, Malanta during this period, deployed his enormous knowledge of information technology to achieve twin purposes of plugging revenue leakages and revenue mobilisation.
During this period, the revenue profile of the command grew exponentially.
A dedicated and conscientious officer, Malanta was the invisible hands behind the record revenue hauls made by Apapa during his hay day as APM.
Despite his workaholic nature, Malanta also has a likeable visage which make him very accommodating and generally loved by officers and stakeholders in Apapa Command.
So it was like home coming for the likable officer when he was deployed to Apapa Command as its Area Controller.
Little wonder that he got an heroic reception from both the officers and stakeholders when he berthed at his old home as the landlord.
Like someone who knows Apapa Command like the back of  his hand, it took the ICT Scion little or no time before he hit the ground running.
Barely three weeks into his tenure as the Area Controller, Malanta has shown the stuff he is made of when the Command made a huge tramadol seizure.
Seizures of tramadol are not alien to the command as his predecessor made similar gigantic interception of the banned substance few years ago.
But what made the seizure recorded by Malanta unique under three weeks of his stewardship was the manner he deployed intelligence to track down the illicit drug.
Using forensic techniques which he called forensic manifest management system, he was able to profile countries of origin into different risk categories to determine the propensity of each of these countries for illicit trade.
He gave a graphic description of how he tracked and intercepted the banned sustain ace, among other seizures worth about N223million.
“The intercepted container with NO. SEGU 1793504 was falsely declared as ceramic tiles.

“Upon 100% physical examination, 1000 cartons of ceramic tiles were loaded in front while 554 cartons of 120mg of Tramadol capsules were concealed at the back of the container and such consignments usually come from one port to another.

“If you look at the bill of lading, you’ll realize the container is coming from India then to Lome before arriving at Lagos port”

“Acting on manifest management system, we were able to track and intercept a container No. 1793504 manifested as ceramic tiles. Upon 100% physical examination to ascertain its true contents, it was found to contain 554 cartons of Tramadol capsules (120mg) concealed with 1000 cartons of ceramic tiles”.
He has also used this method to detect some  infractions within the short period he assumed office, stating that nine and six  containers were respectively detected to have infractions within his first and second week in office.
“Barely three weeks after I resumed duty, I came in with strong determination, zeal and commitment to ensure that the confidence and trust bestowed on me by the CGC is upheld not abused. In line with that, the command’s anti-smuggling architecture has been redesigned to suppress smuggling to the barest minimum.”
In as much as Malanta has a likable personality which made his a toast of most stakeholders, he nevertheless broods no tolerance for non- complaint importers and their agents.
He warned non- complaint traders and clearing agents to steer clear of Apapa command as he is no friend to such people.
He however assured members of the business community that the command will increase sensitization, enlightenment and robust stakeholders’ engagement for seamless operations, with a view to educating the public on the harmful and destructive nature of these illegal importations.

He  further reiterated that the Command under his watch will not tolerate  unlawful behavior from any importer or declarant.

The Comptroller noted that he came to the Command to modify some of its operational  architecture to make it perform better, and be more productive and to boost its contribution to the national economy.

In as much as he wanted to be friendly and accommodating, Malanta vowed such attitude will not however made him to compromise his determination to boost the revenue generation of the command through ICT- driven detection of infractions and  plugging of revenue leakages.

 “The only way such insincere importers and freight forwarders can survive in the Command is to make true declarations in terms of classification of the goods, and its value, while ensuring that the content of the container is in consonance with what is in the Single Goods Declaration (SGD) as well as pay the appropriate duty on such goods”.

He said in order to reinvigorate the revenue machinery of the command for effective and efficient service delivery, he and his management team have put in place  fresh measures to improve on the operations of the Command.

He therefore advised the trading public using the command to be compliant to all the extant rules on goods importation and clearance procedures if they hope to survive the clinical efficient capacity for detection of any infraction by the ICT Czar in town.
For the unrepentant non-conformist to the rules of the game, they had better steer clear of Apapa command because the new sheriff is in town.
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Customs collects N1.7trn  revenue in 8 months

CGC, Ali


–embarks on aggressive revenue hunts to meet target

The Eyewitness reporter

The Nigeria Customs Service has collected a whooping sum of  N1,755,386,486,390.02  as revenue in the first eight months of the year spanning January and August.

The service made the highest monthly earnings of N241,903,781,854.46 in August as the service intensifies its aggressive revenue drive to meet the expectations of the Federal Government which has come to rely on the revenue from the service to fund its critical project.

This follows the diversification of government to non-oil sectors and expands its tax base due to the dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
The revenue in the first eight months of 2022 is N363,436,321,614.95 higher than N1,391,950,164,775.97 the customs collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

Abuja has increased its focus on non-oil revenue sources, prompting higher expectations from revenue collection agencies such as the NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.

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Why we adopted direct auction sale for scrap vehicles—-Customs

seized vehicles waiting to be auctioned


The Eyewitness reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has explained the reason why it recently disposed of scrap vehicles under its control through the direct auction sale method.
In an exclusive interview with our reporter, the National Public Relations Officer (NPRO) of the Service, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, explained that no sane person could purchase those damaged vehicles for use except those who melt them into metal as raw materials.
” Yes, the vehicles we auctioned through direct sales were all scraps. They are vehicles used by smugglers which are purposely built for their nefarious activities.
“These vehicles are damaged beyond repairs and the service could not upload such vehicles on its auction portal to the general public.
“That was why we sold them directly at very ridiculously low prices to iron smelting companies who will melt them into iron.
“These vehicles litter all our commands in the country and are constituting an environmental nuisance.
“So we needed to evacuate them from those places for the safety of our officers who are constantly being faced with the danger of attacks from snakes and other dangerous reptiles which hide under the cover of these scrap vehicles”, Bomodi declared.
He said his explanation was meant to clarify what he described as false information and misconception being peddled to the public by auctioneers.
The auctioneers have accused the Customs of branding about 6000 seized vehicles as scraps before selling them off at cheap prices to their cronies.
The aggrieved auctioneers have further claimed that the Customs conducted the auction of the vehicles without open competitive bidding as it’s enshrined in the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Act, 2007.
“So far, about 6,000 vehicles have been sold to their cronies through the so-called direct auction allocation.
“The vehicles, which could have fetched the government huge revenue, were sold as scraps at giveaway prices.

“We all know that it is a ploy to enrich their favoured contractors at the expense of the government.

” The government is being denied the revenue it would have realised from open competitive auctions.
” If this government is serious, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali should be answering tough questions from either the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the National Assembly by now,” the Auctioneers claimed.
They further alleged that instead of selling the confiscated goods through public auctions as mandated by the law, the NCS had been selecting the dealers it sells to.
“What the BPP Act says
Section 55 (3) (5) of the BPP Act stipulates that open competitive bidding shall be the primary source of receiving offers for the purchase of any public property offered for sale.
“For the purposes of this Act, public property is defined as resources in the form of tangible and non-tangible assets (ranging from serviceable to the unserviceable).

“According to a letter from the NCS to a company, AMEX West Africa Limited and dated March 25, 2022, with reference number: NCS/ADM/MGT/012/S.2/C, signed by the Chairman, Direct Disposal of Scraps Committee, Comptroller A.D Sanusi, titled, ‘Direct auction allocation of scrap vehicles and other items,’ it was indicated therein that 338 vehicles were sold for N3,380,000 through direct auction allocation in Abuja.
It read, ‘’I am directed to inform you that the Comptroller-General of Customs, acting on the provisions of Customs and Exercise Management (Disposal of goods) Act, CAP C46, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, hereby allocates the under-listed 338 lots of various scrap vehicles domiciled at Katsina State Area Command to your company as auction sales for the purpose of disposal, smelting and fabrication into raw materials for production valued at N3,380,000 only.

“All vehicles disposed of must be evacuated from the premises within 10 working days after payment or risk forfeiture.

” Furthermore, you are to note the following: Application for replacement of allocated vehicles would not be entertained. All allocation letters transferred or sold by the allottee to a third party shall be at the buyer’s risk.’’
However, Bomodi stated that the auctioneers were only being mischievous and clever by half in their claims as the vehicles auctioned through the direct disposal method were actually scraps and not branded as such.
He disclosed that Customs still conducts open bidding auction exercises on its auction portal.
“The last time we conducted the auction of serviceable vehicles on our portal was early this year and another round of the exercise will soon be conducted” he disclosed.

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Anger, frustration among freight forwarders as government increases Customs exchange rate again

CGC, Ali
The Eyewitness reporter
There was a wild wave of anger, despondence and frustration among the freight forwarders Monday as they were slammed with yet another increase in the Customs exchange rate.
Our reporter gathered that Customs brokers woke up Monday to find a new exchange rate on the Customs portal, different from the one left there last Friday.
From the screenshot of the portal shared with our reporter, the rate has been increased from $409 to  $422. 3, a difference of $13.
Confirming the increment, Mrs Onome Monije, the Public Relations officer of the Tin Can chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said the change in the exchange rate was dumped on the agents without any prior notice.
Mrs Monije declared that the increment would automatically lead to higher costs in goods clearance and the value of goods in the market.
While absolving Customs of any blame since “they were merely implementing government fiscal policy as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)”, she however appealed to the authority to always give freight forwarders prior notice of such changes.
The ANLCA chieftain admonished her colleagues not to cut corners but intimate their importers of the new development in order to comply with the new changes in the customs exchange rate.
However,  there was angst among a cross-section of freight forwarders who expressed frustration and disappointment over the latest increase.
They expressed anger that it has become a normal practice by the government cum Customs to slap such increases on them without prior notice.
They feared that the latest increase will further lead to astronomical increases in the cost of clearance, especially vehicles, which costs, they said, have already been jerked out of reach of average Nigerians.
According to Onome, the increment will result in a minimum of an additional 40,000 on a single small vehicle while it will result in a minimum of N100, 000 or more on a big vehicle whose clearing cost prior to now, is over a million.
She said the additional cost will be graduated depending on the volume of the consignment.
The new change, which has already taken immediate effect, may lead to a momentary delay or sluggishness in clearance procedure as the importers and their agents may have to adjust to the new reality.
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