The Lilypond Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has lamented that the lull in business activities in the command in the last quarter of the year is posing a serious threat towards the realization of its target allocated to it by the Customs high command.
Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office yesterday, Public Relations Officer of the command, Charles Agumuo said unlike what obtained in the past years when business activities recorded increase towards the end of the year, the command has been experiencing low level of business activities, a situation he attributed to irregular transfer of containers to the terminal.
Agumuo who acknowledged that containers were been transferred from the premier port in Apapa, explained that even when the command received vessels, cargoes designated to the command were often diverted elsewhere.
“You know there are inland container terminals at the north, they consume most of the containers, and it is only few that come to Lilypond. That is not to say we are not benefitting. We have been benefitting from the transfer but our appeal is that there should be a structure in place where we know that this is what the command gets every week not that a vessel laden with 600 containers will be destined to Lilypond and out of that 600 only 150 will be acknowledged,” he said.
He also identified insecurity in the northern part of the country as another factor contributing to the downturn in business activities at the command.
He however expressed optimism that the command will realize its N1.4 billion revenue target for the month haven collected N1.1billion by 28th October.
“We are hoping for a better tomorrow probably before the year finally passes we hope there will be improvement. Our main concern is our revenue generation. To us here, facilitation of trade is our baby. We don’t have problem facilitating trade because that is why we are here,” he said.
He urged clearing agents and their importers to patronize the command, noting that officers at the command have been well-sensitized to make the command user-friendly as according to him, they ‘wear human face’ and don’t delay containers unnecessary.