Customs Area Comptroller in charge of Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command in Lagos, Mrs. Modupeola Adeyanju Aremu, has said that achieving the N10 billion monthly revenue collections, first in the history of the command, is something she hopes to maintain.
The Customs boss said if the right strategies are deployed, nothing is impossible. “I have an uncompromising resolve to collect all ‘collectable revenue’,” she said.
Last year, your command achieved unprecedented monthly revenue collection. How did you do this?
Some factors are responsible. One of them is that the Federal Government’s policy banning vehicle importation through the land borders played a huge role. More people brought in their cars into Nigeria through our port and this translated to increased revenue collection by the PTML Command.
Another factor is the diligence and commitment to work shown by the officers and men of the command. We pursue maximum collection of government revenue without compromising national security.
What has been your major challenge?
We have challenges in terms of physical examination and non-availability of scanners. Scanning procedure takes less than a minute to show the entire content of a container. But when you do physical examination, it takes more time and that is really tedious.
How would you rate importers’ and agents’ compliance to rules here?
PTML is a RORO (Roll On Roll Off) port and our imports are basically automobiles that are moved on tyres from vessels into the terminal. I will say we have 70 per cent compliance from stakeholders and we are working to increase it.
How has the bad road affected your operations?
Vehicles take up to five days to access the port and same five days to exit the area, causing a ripple effect on the economy and importers will somehow transfer the costs to the consumers of whatever they import.
Coping with many stakeholder bodies and multiple associations
We have a strategy of listening to all stakeholders and guiding them to be on the right side of the law at all times. I apply an all inclusive management strategy and relate fairly with all groups in ways that don’t impede our duties or compromise our official functions.
We keep them abreast of developments and try as much as possible to ensure they are enlightened. For instance, our migration from ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) to NICIS (Nigeria Customs Information System) was done with training for agents operating here. We see them as part of our critical stakeholders and we try to equip them with the right knowledge to function better. As a leader, I have learnt to manage people to achieve results without friction. I adopt a listening strategy, which calms them down to also take to counsel when offered.
I create opportunities for them to talk, express themselves so I can appreciate their complaints better and know the degree of intervention or line of advise to offer at any point in time. I appreciate our diversities, knowing we are from different backgrounds and I put these into consideration in the management of people and issues concerning them.
What is your target for 2018 and how do you intend to achieve it?
Our target for 2018 is about N122 billion and this translates to N10.2 billion monthly. I am optimistic we will meet and surpass it. We are working to block all possible areas of revenue leakage.
What was your total collection last year and were you able to meet your target?
PTML collected N98.8 billion in 2017. We exceeded our target. We look forward to doing better this year.
We no longer read about arrests, detention, concealment and other infractions here, how did you do it?
When I came on board, I told everyone about my administrative policy. Integrity is my watchword and I assured them that with increased and sustained compliance, they have nothing to worry about. That is paying off. I made it clear that I am here to collect the maximum collectable revenue.
Not mincing words about that. I mean every bit of it and that is what I am doing here. Some people believe women are good at pursuing money; and in this case, I am pursuing collection of government revenue without compromise. There is something positively outstanding about women leaders and I pick those very good traits associated with my gender.