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How I reinvented revenue drive at Apapa Customs—Yusuf Malanta —-rakes in N366billon in six months.

Eyewitness reporter
Since Comptroller Yusuf Malanta Ibrahim took over the mantle of leadership at the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service in February 2021, the command has gone into a heightened revenue frenzy that is unprecedented in the history of the flagship command.
He has not only sustained the rich tradition of the command as the revenue basket of the service but has also reinvented the revenue drive of the command that has made it to consistently break all the revenue records in the history of the command.
At the press conference he held Tuesday to unveil the half-year performance of the command, Comptroller Malanta revealed what he did differently from his predecessors that has set the command on a new revenue trajectory.
“When I came in, I looked at the existing structure and discovered there were gaps and I proceeded to plugged the identified loopholes.
“I met a revenue of N48 billion. But ever since then, I have consistently grown the revenue profile of the command through the efforts of my committed and dedicated staff and support management staff.
“So in subsequent months, I have grown the revenue which I met from  N48 billion to N52 billion, N64 billion, and N66 billion.
“And today, (June), we are talking about N 78.4 billion.
But Malanta vowed that he was not going to stop at that as he intended to keep on building the revenue arsenal of the command.
While revealing the performance indices of the command in the first half of the year, Malanta disclosed that a whopping sum of N366 billion was realised between January to June, 2021.
This figure, according to him, represents a 61 percent increase when compared to the N227 billion that was collected with the corresponding period in 2020.
The command has continued to break all revenue barriers to set new revenue records when it again recorded an astounding N 78.4 billion in the month of June 21st which clearly shows an increase of over 90 percent when compared to the N 42.4 billion collected in the corresponding month under review.
This figure also dwarfed the sum of N65.5 billion which the command collected in April.
Similarly, the command processed export cargoes worth N272.3 billion between January to June 2021.
 The exports which passed through the command within the period under review included Agricultural goods such as sesame seed, ginger, hibiscus flower, and other mineral resources.
“The total tonnage of the said export stood at 1.6 million tones with FOB value of $103 billion.”
“This spectacular achievement was made possible by our officers’ resilience and commitment in ensuring collections of appropriate revenue, robust stakeholders’ engagement and seamless facilitation of compliant trade.”
Malanta further stated that the anti-smuggling operations of the command led to the interception of contraband smuggled into the country.
The seized items which worth N27.6billion include unregistered pharmaceutical, used clothing, tomato paste among others.
“Nonetheless, our sustained anti-smuggling campaign and the increased level of compliance have resulted in a reduction of smuggling activities throughout the command.
“Thus, for the period under review, the Command recorded 10 seizures of various uncustoms goods such as tomato paste, used clothing, unregistered pharmaceutical drugs with a Duty Paid Value of N442 million
“This unprecedented record is a great validation of our new approach to revenue drive. It is also fitting to emphasize here that this volume of revenue has never been recorded in the history of the flagship Command of the Nigeria Customs Service.”
“Consequent upon the above and in line with the provision of Extant laws, trade guidelines and enforcement of Government Fiscal Policy, the Command was able to strengthen its anti-smuggling operation against economic saboteurs through a timely credible intelligence-driven network which led to the seizure of 46 containers between January to June 2021 with Duty Paid Value of N27.6 billion.”
These unprecedented achievements were made amidst economic contraction that was worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But, according to Malanta, the command was able to navigate through these difficult times with the vision of the management, commitment, and dedication of men and officers of the command.
 “I am not stopping at our present achievements.
“With the type of management team I have and the type of structure we have put in place, we shall continue to preach compliance.
“It is when there is compliance that cargo throughput will be faster and when cargo throughput is faster, the revenue declaration will be faster and therefore, revenue will be coming automatically” Comptroller Ibrahim declared.
The success story of Apapa command under the leadership of Malanta revolves around the use and deployment of ICT.
As a system man who is well versatile in the use of ICT, Malanta uses information technology to identify and plug revenue loopholes and this has boosted the revenue performance of the command.
Also, the command, under the prompting of the Area Comptroller, has developed strong inter-agency collaboration and deep stakeholders’ engagement that has helped the command to continue to break all the revenue barriers.
The command had also relentlessly preached the gospel of compliance which has so far changed the orientation of importers and their agents to made correct declarations and payment of Customs duties.
To underscore the importance he attached to compliance, Malanta created a new unit called Compliance unit to drive this crusade, advocacy that has started to yield high dividends as evidenced by the level of compliance among those who ply their trade in the command and the resultant accrued revenue.
The use of intelligence is another forte of the command which Malanta has successfully used to track cargoes bound for the command.
This explains the impressive records of seizures of contraband made by the command.
With this new ” structure” created by Malanta, it is hoped that the command will sustain the new revenue trajectory which has been responsible for the monthly revenue harvests that are expected to be further boosted by the hike in exchange rates for Customs duties.
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Customs

National Assembly summons Customs, CBN, Finance Ministry, Webb Fontaine over unutilised scanners at ports

The Eyewitness reporter
The joint committee on Customs and Excise of the National Assembly has summoned the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col.(retd) Hameed Ali to appear before it to explain the controversial contract for the provision of scanning machines at the ports and why they have not been functional despite enormous resources committed into their procurement.
To join the Customs boss for questioning are the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele, and the Minister of Finance,  Mrs Zainab Ahmed as well as the officials of Webb Fontaine, the IT providers.
The apparently angry members of the joint committee, who gave the directive during their investigative hearing on Sunday in Abuja, said they were miffed by the non-utilization of the scanners procured at huge costs by the federal government.
According to Francis Alimikhena, the Joint Committee Chairman, the national assembly will not brood absenteeism or representations from those summoned as the matter is of utmost economic importance to the country.
“We do not want to see any representation. We want to take a decision about Nigeria. This is about the revenue of the country.”

“We want to see the minister, the CG customs, the CBN governor, President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF),” declared the committee chairman.

“We do not want to see any representation. We want to take a decision about Nigeria. This is about the revenue of the country. Webb Fontaine is essential in this matter. They have made serious money in this country.”

Mr Alimikhena said the contract was given to Webb Fontaine by the Finance Ministry to provide the IT infrastructure for the NCS for scanning.

Not happy with the development, he frowned upon the absence of the Minister, the CBN governor and other stakeholders involved at the Sunday investigative hearing.

He however asked that the customs, CBN, ministry of finance, Webb Fontaine and other invited stakeholders to appear before the committee at the next hearing slated for Thursday, September 29th, 2022, warning that the committee would not attend to any representatives as the issue at stake involved revenue generation to the country.

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Customs

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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Customs

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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