Apapa Customs Command revenue hits N1bn daily
· Duty collected on rice drops to 0%
The transfer of implementation of the Destination Inspection (DI) scheme from service providers to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seems to have started yielding dividends for the service as the daily revenue collection for the premiere command has hit a record N1 billion daily.
Customs Area Controller (CAC), Apapa Area Command of the NCS, Comptroller Charles Edike, disclosed this yesterday when he featured as guest at the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) Roundtable meeting in Apapa, Lagos yesterday.
Edike said that at the takeover of the DI scheme on December 1st, 2013; the command was collecting between N400 million and N500 million daily until sometimes last week when the collection practically doubled. He attributed the rise in the revenue to measures instituted by the NCS Comptroller General, Dikko Inde Abdullahi, to address the various teething problems encountered at the onset of the DI takeover.
Edike also said that it is impossible to hack into the Customs risk management platform used for issuing the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) which was introduced on December 1st by NCS to replace the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) hitherto issued by the former DI service providers. He said adequate firewall and security measures have been built around the Customs online platform to protect it from hackers in order to protect government revenue.
The Apapa CAC also allayed the fears of importers agents on the possibility of their paying increased Customs duty on their consignments as a result of the switch from RAR to PAAR.
He said the NCS management was aware that many agents have been apprehensive and concerned that they may be required to pay higher import duty on consignments that have been granted provisional release as stated in the guidelines. He however dispelled such fears and emphasized that if agents were honest with their initial declarations under the RAR platform, there won’t be cause for anxiety.
He said because of the exchange rate given by the Central Bank of Nigeria, there might be slight difference on the duty payable on a particular consignment under the new e -clearance system but this will be very minimal.
“If what you paid abinitio is same thing as what is in the PAAR, we will tell you thank you but if there is a difference, then we will call you to come and pay the difference. This difference is what the agents are afraid of that how will they go back to meet their importers but after we had meetings with them, we explained that if they are straight forward and transparent, there is not going to be any difference between the PAAR and the RAR even if there is any, it is going to be a minor difference so long as you did not go to tailor your invoice and Form M because that same invoice and Form M is what the PAAR would use to assess and give you duty to pay. It is only if you had tailored your document that is when the difference will be significant,” he said.
He disclosed that about 317 applications were received on the first day of commencement of the provisional release but only 43 paid for import duty after the guidelines was issued.
“We noticed that for the first two days, there was a large volume of about 317 applications for provision release was made and approved but surprisingly, they didn’t go to pay, they just applied, in fact only 43 paid. The second day it continued and immediately I call the CGC but before then I called the agents to ask them why they are not paying even after the CGC has given this window, they expressed fear that after they pay and the PAAR comes out and there is increase in value; how will they go back to meet their importers for additional payment,” he said.
Edike also disclosed that the command’s revenue on rice has plunged to an all time low as it has recorded zero income on imported rice since July this year. He said the hike in the import duty on rice to 110 per cent by the Federal Government early this year has impacted negatively on the Apapa Command revenue.
“The glory of Apapa Port is rice. The bulk of Apapa revenue is rice but now rice is not coming in at all but despite that, we are still not doing badly on revenue,” he said.
He said the command collected N131.38 billion as import duty on rice in 2011; N125.35 billion in 2012 and a paltry N11 million collected so far this year.