Controller, Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Muhammed Abba-Kura, has appealed to exporters using the Apapa port to always ensure that minimum international standards are met before exporting their consignment to avoid the recurrent incidences of returning consignments after export.
Speaking at a media briefing last weekend on the activities of the command so far this year, Abba- Kura said Nigeria’s agricultural produce has suffered in the last few years from rejection in the international markets due to poor adherence to standards and maintenance of required quality.
He said some containers of agricultural produce meant for export were recently rejected from the Apapa port.
He, however, noted that some exporters have been compliant on export declaration, as the command recorded a total volume of 262,095.09 metric tons of exported goods with Free on Board (FOB) value of $132.76 million within the review period.
On revenue performance, he said the command generated N414 billion from January to December 19th 2019 as against N404 billion generated between January and December 2018, which translates to about 111 per cent of its 2019 annual revenue target.
He said the command had the highest revenue figure of N42.73 billion in October.
The high revenue collection, according to him, is part of the gains recorded as a result of the nation’s land border closure to import and export as shippers now import cargoes through the seaports.
He said the border closure policy has reduced incidences of smuggling through the land border and increased legitimate imports through the seaports.
On anti-smuggling, he said within the period under review, the command seized a total of 112 containers of various items that flouted import procedures with a Duty Paid Value of N12.8 billion.
Among the seized items are containers of empty sacks of rice falsely declared as cotton waste and pharmaceutical products, which include tramadol that were imported without necessary approval from regulatory agencies.
Other items include 18 containers of tomato paste, vegetable oil, ladies and girls fashion wears, three containers of expired rice, alcoholic drinks, armoured glasses without End User Certificate (EUC) and drilling pipes labelled in foreign language, among others.
“The empty sacks of rice were imported from Thailand and they were meant for re-bagging of local or expired foreign rice to deceive members of the public. The importer of these empty sacks of rice is an unpatriotic Nigeria because we have local industries that produce this kind of bags, so why should he even bring them in?
“It is pertinent to emphasise here that virtually all these seized items are in gross violation of our extant laws and import guidelines. The duty paid value for these seizures stood at N12.8 billion,” he said.
The Customs boss also appealed to importers of pharmaceutical products to respect and comply with the country’s guidelines on importation to rid the nation of counterfeited and prohibited medicaments.