… Generates N129bn from Onne Port in 9 months***
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) released its report on the verification of privately-owned airplanes in the country on Tuesday in Abuja.
It threatened to impound 29 jets on which the owners did not pay statutory import duties.
Customs’ spokesman, Mr Joseph Attah, told a news conference that the 29 airplanes would be impounded if the owners did not show up at the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum given.
The newsmen report that on May 31, Customs announced its plan to verify import documents of privately-owned airplanes in the country.
The exercise took place between June 7 and Aug. 6 at the Tariff and Trade Department of the Service.
Attah explained that within the stipulated period, 86 private jets or airplane operators showed up for the exercise and presented relevant documents for verification.
He added that 57 of them were verified as commercial charter operators and were duly cleared for operations.
He said the 29 private jets/airplanes owners and or their representatives were issued with demand notices on Oct. 11 and were given 14 days to make payments to designated Federal Government accounts.
He said they would be issued Aircraft Clearance Certificates after payment.
“Owners of private aircraft for which no presentations were made for verification, and whose status remains uncertain are requested to immediately furnish Customs Service with documents for verification and clearance.
“To this effect, all 57 commercial charter jets or aircraft operators who presented their documents for verification are requested to come to the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters, Abuja, to collect their clearance certificates.
“All 29 private jets/aircraft owners and or their representatives who have been issued with demand notices have 14 days from Oct. 11 to collect and make payments to the designated Federal Government accounts.
“They will be issued with Aircraft Clearance Certificates after payment,’’ Attah said.
The spokesperson implored all concerned to avail themselves of this opportunity, as Customs would not hesitate to activate enforcement procedures on identified defaulters.
Attah also told newsmen that the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria had been put on notice to ensure that only privately-owned airplanes cleared by Customs were allowed to operate within the country’s airspace.
In another development, the Nigeria Customs Service, Area II Command Onne Port, has generated N128,317,325,936.68 as revenue from January to September 2021.
The collected figure is N45,761,404,176.65 above the total of N82,555,921,760.03 collected within same period in 2020, representing a 55.4 per cent increase.
A statement by Ifeoma Ojekwu, Customs Public Officer, Area ll Command Onne Port, said that a comparative breakdown of the third quarter collections between 2020 and 2021 indicated steady increases which contributed in the cumulative 55.4 percent difference.
According to it, for July, August and September 2020, the Command collected N10.9bn, N12.2bn and N13.1bn respectively which was overtaken by 2021 figures of N14bn, N17.8bn and N18.2bn respectively.
The Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed attributed the steady monthly increases to volume of trade, strict adherence to extant customs procedure, blocking of possible areas of revenue leakages and zero tolerance for infractions capable of undermining national economy and security.
The newsmen report that the progress had been attributed to Mohammed’s improved interface with stakeholders in an enhanced Customs community relations system also paid off with remarkable degrees of compliance by the port users in Onne.
The area controller had commended the uncompromising disposition of the officers and men of the Command, and expressed optimism that more revenue collection, increased trade facilitation and time saving advantages would be achieved in the command with the introduction of recently procured mobile scanner.
“Before the arrival of the scanner, examinations of cargoes were usually done manually and physically, whereby containers were positioned by the terminal operators.
“ Then, gang of labourers will discharge the goods before Customs and other agencies will carry out the examination. Customs must also cut off the seal manually.
“This takes time because of the unpacking of the goods in the container,” he is quoted to have said.
He said that virtually everything in the container must be moved out of the container and then back into the container before examination is concluded, which makes the process cumbersome and time consuming.
“With the coming of the scanner, which is a non-intrusive apparatus, cargo examination will now be conducted with the use of x-ray.
“We can now double our daily containers examination which saves time, increases revenue, detects infractions easily and facilitate trade,’’ Mohammed said.
On anti-smuggling activities, the statement said that the command made 29 seizures totalling N9,763,129,216.00 Duty Paid Value (DPV) within the period under review.
“The breakdown of the seized items is as follows: 3,057 bags of 50 kg rice; 89 bales and 3,200 pieces of textile fabrics; 37 cartons and 4,824 pieces of wine/alcoholic beverages.
“Also, 1,650 cartons of tomato paste, 7,560 pieces of raw hides/unprocessed leather; 2,230 cartons of beers/spirits, 1,387 cartons of Tramadol and 124 cartons of tapentadol.
“Other seizures made include two units of used Mitsubishi buses; 210 bales of second hand clothing, 4,029 pcs of used tyres, 16 units of used engine gear box and auto spare parts.
“Also, 310 pallets of laser ketchup and 956 Jerrycans of 25 litres of vegetable oil, 750 cartons of supergold candle, 2,970 cartons of foreign soap and 500 cartons of medicaments.’’.
According to the command, nine suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures and are at various stages of investigation and prosecution in courts of competent jurisdiction.
On export, the command said it processed commodities and products including sesame seeds, ginger, cocoa beans, hibiscus, fluorite ore, lead ore, palm kernel shell, cotton, float glass and others.
The exported commodities and products totaling 767,089.53 metric tonnes with free on board value of $250,789,911.39 also has a total Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) value of N463,085,649.23.
The controller advised port users to stay on the path of compliance and obedience to laws.
He urged that they keep abreast with extant import and export guidelines to avoid their cargoes being seized and them facing arrest or prosecution in accordance with the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
To achieve concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the port community in achieving seamless cargo movement, the statement said that Mohammed recently convened a forum where they jointly agreed to work together more harmoniously.
“Key actors in the recently convened meeting included terminal operators, shipping companies, licensed customs agents, freight forwarders, haulage operators and others.
“Their robust interactions have resulted in a new resolve for enhanced cooperation aimed at developing on their existing cooperation.
“While commending newly promoted officers in the Command, Comptroller Mohammed admonished that they should see their elevations as renewed calls to more service.
“He urged them to continually justify the confidence reposed on them and advise them to see their new ranks as positions of higher responsibilities in the NCS and national interest,’’ the statement said.