Customs boss, Hameed Ali begins week-long visit to Lagos today

Barring any last minute changes, the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali is expected to start a week- long working visit to Customs commands and formations in Lagos and other parts of southwest Nigeria today, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY can authoritatively report.

According to a reliable source, Ali will meet with stakeholders, senior officers, and pay courtesy visit on the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, and his counterparts in Oyo and Ogun States, Abiola Ajimobi and IbikunleAmosun respectively.

According to the source, the working visit would enable the officers discuss operational challenges that are germane to the progress of the Service with the Customs management especially on revenue generation.

The Customs boss is also expected to visit the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), Five Star Logistics Terminal, Niger Dock and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) among others.

Meanwhile, the Service has issued a set target for the various revenue generating commands in the country as part of measures to realise its N1trillion 2016 revenue target.

According to the proportionate budget distribution of targets set for the commands, a copy of which was sighted by SHIP & PORTS DAILY, the targets were set based on the 2015 performance of each of the commands.

Going by an annual target of N384 billion, the flagship command, the Apapa Area Command has the highest monthly revenue target of N32 billion while the Tin Can Island Command has a monthly target of N29.4billion and is expected to generate a total of N353 billion for the full year.

Seme command has a year target of N14.3 billion and is expected to generate N1.2 billion monthly, while PTML command has a monthly target of N6.9billion.

KLT and Lilypond commands are expected to generate N808.1million and N890 million monthly while Murtala Mohammed International Airport command has a monthly target of N4.7billion.

Some customs officers and clearing agents have however reacted to the development.Some of them who spoke with SHIPS & PORTSDAILY condemned the Customs management for imposing set targets on the commands even in the face of the prevailing economic policies which they say have stifled importation into the country.

According to the officers who would not want their identities revealed for fear of reprisal, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) forex restriction has adversely affected Customs revenue generation and they cannot continue to subject agents to undue payment by issuing outrageous demand notices all in the quest to meet their target.

“We don’t import. Ours is to generate revenue for the government but we will only collect revenue due to government.

“We can’t continue to issue DN to agents who have paid their duty correctly because we want to meet our target,” one of the senior officers said.

One of the agents, UgochukwuNnadi also expressed his doubts about the commands meeting the set monthly target.

He said, “It is not a realistic target at all with what is happening now in the country. If you go to the port everywhere is dry because there is no importation hence there has been low patronage of the port. Those that travelled before now cannot travel again because they cannot source foreign exchange and it is only when importers travel and bring in goods that Customs can collect and assess revenue.

“So for Customs to be eyeing such bogus target from the commands, I don’t know how they want to make it because the policies are not favourable and the climate is very harsh. So for me, it is not feasible at all.”

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