Area Controller, Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Charles Edike has said that changes in the exchange rate have affected activities of the command especially as it concerns revenue collection. Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office on Wednesday, Edike said because of the dwindling value of the Naira, most importers are afraid of importing while those that have already placed their orders have also asked their shippers to hold on. “The exchange rate has affected our revenue. Importers are afraid to import because they don’t know what will happen if they import and the exchange rate falls back. So people are a little sceptical. They are still watching. Most of them that have even placed orders have asked their shippers to hold on,” he said. Meanwhile, the Command said it generated the sum N143.94 billion as revenue in the first half of year. A breakdown of the revenue according to statistics obtained shows that N20.7 billion was collected in January; N21.6billion was collected in February; N32.3 billion in March while N20.7 billion was collected in April. In the month of May, the command collected N23.8billion and N24.6 billion in June. A total sum of N74.3billion within the period was deposited into the Federation Account which comprises income generated from import duty, CET and others while the sum of N69.6 billion went into the Non Federation account which comprises income generated from 5 percent VAT, Wheat Flour Levy, Rice Levy, NAC Levy, 7 percent Port Levy and Sugar Levy among others. Speaking on a recent complaint by agents operating at the command over the incessant placement of alerts on consignments by valuation officers, Edike maintained that alerts are issued basically to call the attention of operational officers to suspected infractions mostly under declaration on imported items and not necessarily to raise a Debit Note (DN). He however noted that where under declarations are made, DN would be raised against the affected importer to pay additional Customs duty. Edike said such complaint on placement of alerts will only emanate from agents who are not honest in their declaration. “Alert means caution. Be careful. It does not mean go and pay DN. But if there is need for the agent to pay an additional duty why won’t he pay? The person who isued the alert must have suspected something from the documentation. “If officers are going to conduct examination on a consignment and there is an alert on it, it means the officers should examine the container properly. People who shout about alert are people who have things to hide,” he said.
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