Out-going Area controller of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMIA) Customs Command, Comptroller Emmanuel Edede, said the most important feat during his tenure was the enthronement of peace and tranquility at the command.
He said during a brief handover to his successor, Deputy Comptroller Anyaogu Ukonu, that apart from making the area very conducive for business, he also ensured the plugging of revenue leakages. Recalling that the airport was like a harbinger of touts before he mounted the saddle, Edede stated that he can now beat his chest that it now has the semblance of a major international gateway to the country.
Compt. Emmanuel Edede revealed that the command raked it more than N48 billion as revenue last year.
Though, he stated that this figure was against the N55 billion it made in the previous year, he attributed the shortfall to reduction in imports by some of the firms that imported their equipments through the international airport.
He singled out the major telecommunications firm, – MTN as contributing about N2 billion to the nation’s coffers in the period under review as import duty on its equipment.
According to him, decrease in its duty payment was also consequent upon the reduction in the importation of its telecommunication equipment last year. He however expressed hope that with the current governments’ ease of doing business, now entrenched in the command, the firms would improve on their import requirements which will translate into more revenue generation.
Edede noted also that he was confident that with the new Acting Controller, Deputy Comptroller Ukonu, the command would no doubt up the ante in its revenue drive as well as keep a close watch on possible influx of contrabands through the airport.
Ukonu, a thorough bred officer and until his appointment was the Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement, at the command. He is known for being firm and can be described as a non ‘revenue risk’ to the service. While in Calabar some years ago, he had nipped in the bud the unwholesome activities by construction companies who were importing cargoes that they were not authorized to bring into the country, thereby evading duties. It is on this lapse that Deputy Comptroller Ukonu uncovered the tricks of Unicem firm.
A special concession given to the company to import steel bars fell under one of the chapters approved for them by the Federal Ministry of Finance. However, Ukonu insisted on a 100 per cent examination of their imports and curiously discovered huge iron rods which did not fall under the approved chapters for the company.
Ukonu discarded all entreaties and raised a Debit Note (DN) of about N1.5 billion which the company paid into government coffers. While at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) zone ‘C’ he was a terror to smugglers as he intercepted several truck loads of Textile and imported rice.