With barely four months to the end of the year, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Dikko Abdulahi, said he is optimistic that the Service will meet and surpass its N1.2 trilion target for the year.
Speaking while fielding questions from newsmen after a closed door meeting with senior officers in the various Customs formation in Zone ‘A’, Abdullahi said he is impressed with the revenue collected so far by some major commands as well as seizures recorded by the Federal Operations Unit, the anti-smuggling arm of the NCS in the Zone.
He attributed the high revenue collection to the effective implementation of the pre-arrival assessment report (PAAR) regime.
“The outcome of the meeting is to tell them I’m very happy with them from their activities so far. I have been monitoring the revenue collection and even the Federal Operations Unit has done well with the increased seizures they have recorded. With all of this, I’m sure we are going to hit our target this year,” he said.
He said the officers have been advised to maintain due diligence by ensuring that no revenue leakage is recorded and also to avoid delaying jobs unnecessarily noting that when in doubt, they should consult their colleagues in order to facilitate trade.
“They don’t have to delay anybody if there are issues as regards classification. If an officer is in doubt he should consult his colleagues so that the person (importer) will not suffer unnecessary,” he said.
On the incessant querying of PAAR document by officers, the Customs boss maintained that PAAR can be queried because the officers issuing document at the Customs headquarters only work with documents submitted by the importer or his agent.
He said, ”How can an officer not query PAAR? We are dealing with documents and we give you PAAR based on your documentation but when we open the container and find out that what you have there is different from what you declared, can’t we query it? We are not querying PAAR but the importer’s integrity and the level of his compliance. So when we notice that what you give us is false, we have to amend it.”
The Customs boss also refuted allegations that field officers have been a stumbling block to the success of PAAR. He said officers will not delay job when agents are honest in their declarations.
“No officer will not want PAAR to work.I don’t think so. Whoever is in the field is being trained for that. It is either the person is ignorant of what he is supposed to do or he fails to do it and he is now apportioning blame on the wrong person.
“Tell them to do the right thing. If they do the right thing officers will not be difficult but when you say you bring in paper and when we open we see a different thing; who is now wrong and who is right?” he queried.—Ships and Ports