From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Onne Port, Area 2 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Rivers State said on Wednesday that it generated N118,959,214,999 between January and December 2020.
Customs Area Controller Mohammed Auwal made the disclosure this when he briefed journalists in Port Harcourt.
Auwal stated that the figure was N11,623, 072,175 higher than the total sum that was generated between January and December 2019.
‘In the face of several challenges that impacted on shipping and port activities last year, our operatives were resilient, being at work always, even during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and the nationwide lockdown that followed.
‘Last year, this Command collected a total of N118,959,214,999.53. This figure is N11,623, 072,175.04 higher than the N107,336,142,824.29 collected from January to December of 2019.
‘The increase in collection is a fallout of due diligence and zero tolerance for compromise on the part of our officers and men, who were always at work in full observance of the COVID-19 protocols – hand washing, use of hand sanitisers, wearing of masks, avoiding and strictly observing physical distancing.
‘We have never let our guards down even before the announcement of a second wave of the virus and we didn’t allow it to impact adversely on our functions. We have also made a remarkable increase from our N94,044, 676,428.17 that was collected in 2018.’
The Customs boss further said that the Area 2 command made a total of 37 seizures in the year, 2020, with total duty paid value of N1,008,266,282.53, while two suspects were arrested in connection with some of the seizures.
He listed some of the commodities seized, which included: 6,249,900 tablets of tramadol, 5,615 kegs of 25 litres of vegetable oil, 817 bags of 50 kilogrammes of rice, 3,047 bales of second-hand clothing.
Auwal reminded port users that compliance was vital for seamless cargo clearance, exit import and export, adding that it was the only way importers would enjoy trade facilitation and ease of doing business.
‘It is imperative that I use this opportunity to inform stakeholders, particularly Port users, that compliance is vital for seamless cargo clearance exit, import and export,’ he said.
‘This is how importers will enjoy trade facilitation, ease of doing business by following the due process. I urge them once again to keep abreast with the extant import and export prohibition lists, avoid duty evasion and imbibe the virtue of transparency at all times.’