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.