Controller, Ogun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Mamudu Haruna has said that an average of 1,000 vehicles are now been cleared weekly through the Idiroko border under the Vehicle Import Transit Scheme (VITS).
Haruna who disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen at Idiroko on Wednesday said since the launch of the scheme at Idiroko, the command had recorded an increase in the number of vehicles cleared through the border on which import duties were collected.
He said the scheme accounted for the increased revenue generation of the command as importers now come forward to make duty payment instead of risk seizures of their goods.
The Customs boss noted that although the command is still contending with the challenge of some unscrupulous importers who divert goods through unapproved routes, his officers have been further reinforced with the provision of five additional Hilux patrol vehicles by the customs headquarters.
“The scheme has assisted so much in getting revenue and a lot of people now come and pay their duty. In a week we have up to a 1,000 vehicles. We have challenges but we are fighting it,” he said.
He warned that importers who have their goods seized for failing to pay appropriate duty would have such goods forfeited to the Federal Government.
“Any vehicle that vied (sic) through the bush or decide to follow an unapproved route instead of following the normal procedure to pay the appropriate duty will be arrested and once we arrest them we are going to prosecute them. Since the inception of the scheme till date, we have never allowed anybody whose vehicle has been arrested to come forward to pay duty on that seizure. If they abandon the vehicle, the vehicle is completely gone because we will not accept it if they come back to pay duty,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Customs boss while giving account of his stewardship between November 2013 and December 2014 said the command collected N6.5 billion representing an increase of N1.1 billion over the N5.4 billion collected over the same period of 2013.
He said the command also recorded 1,482 seizures including 65 trucks of smuggled rice, vehicles, frozen products and motor cycles with a duty paid value (DPV) of N1.6 billion in the period under review as against 1,226 seizures recorded in 2013 with DPV of N1.1 billion.
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