Revenue, trade facilitation, others take centre stage as Customs boss, Hameed Ali visits stakeholders
THE Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Hameed Ali (rtd) has formerly commenced direct engagement with strategic stakeholders in the maritime sector.
Already, the Customs boss has met with the managements of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), among others
At the NSC, the Customs boss emphasized need to maximize cooperation and collaboration between Customs and Shippers Council.
He described NSC as a major player in the Nigerian maritime industry with an objective to regulate the ports’ economy, adding that 75 percent of Federal Government’s revenue comes from the maritime sector.
Ali said: “We need to establish the maximum cooperation and collaboration between customs and shippers council that can help us flush out bad element in the maritime environment”.
He said, some of the records and documents received by the customs are fake, adding that it cannot aid the effort of the Customs to get the actual information on the consignment coming into the country.
He added: “We affirmed that collaboration and intervention of the shippers council can rebuild and transform the maritime industry to global standard”.
The Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello , while welcoming the Customs boss described the Port as a community where stakeholders make positive contributions and communicate with one another to ensure there is conducive business environment for port operators”.
Bello said working together with other government agencies at the port would facilitate smooth operational standard.
He noted that, “being a regulator at the ports, we have been able to set a standard to monitor the daily activities at the port and develop the mechanism called International Cargo Tracking (ICT) to detect the actual items in the containers coming to the country.
Bello said, 80 percent of cargoes coming through the ports are undeclared but the introduction of the ICT will enable us as a nation get the advance information about the consignment and various items coming into the port.
“Also, both the importer and exporter doing business in the port must realize that we have law governing the maritime sector and those are the things shippers council is doing”, he said.
The management of NPA and the Customs boss also reiterated their resolve to work, collaborate and partner with a view to enhancing the revenue generation strategies of the Federal Government from the nation’s seaports.
Both the Managing Director NPA, Habib Abdullahi and the Comptroller General of NCS, stressed the need for the two agencies to see themselves as “partners in progress”, working together for the good of the nation’s economy.
The NPA Managing Director who commended the Customs boss for considering it fit to visit the Corporate Headquarters of NPA explained that as “Customs direct call ports”, the Authority would ensure that there is high level of operational efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery at the nation’s ports.
Abdullahi, according to a statement, explained that since the commencement of the present concession regime in 2006, activities have increased at the ports.
The Managing Director said there was the need for the two agencies to collaborate in ensuring proper security at the ports, especially the entrances, adding that “We think we should collaborate better in this area being the two of the foremost government agencies in the Port”.`
He appealed to all officers and men of the NCS to support and ensure the success of the newly appointed Comptroller General of the Service, pointing out that the success of the new Comptroller General should be of paramount concern to them all.
Earlier, the Customs boss solicited the support and cooperation of the NPA to ensure the improved performance of the revenue yielding agencies of the Federal Government, emphasising that the service need the support and cooperation of the Authority to enable them generate the necessary revenue for the national treasury as mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director General of NIMASA, Haruna Baba Jauro has reiterated the Agency’s commitment to collaborate with the Nigerian Custom Service to ensure seamless trade facilitation in Nigeria.
Jauro said this when Ali led members of the Customs management to NIMASA on a familiarisation visit in Lagos.
The Acting DG said that the Agency has put in place a number of innovations like the satellite surveillance system and committed itself to a number of strategic partnerships with the military to enhance security on Nigerian waters with the ultimate aim of engendering a friendly business environment.
A statement quoted Jauro as saying the country needs to facilitate seamless trade in the maritime sector emphasising that this was even more compelling now given the dwindling price of oil.
Jauro said: “NIMASA needs to partner with the Nigeria Customs in order to improve trade facilitation and also ensure that various loopholes through which Nigeria is losing revenue in these areas are blocked”.
He advocated for improved collaboration with the Nigeria Customs especially in the area of information sharing as both Agencies have critical roles to play in generating the needed revenues for the government.
Responding, Ali stated that his visit was to strengthen the existing relationship between the Nigeria Customs Service and NIMASA, noting that there were various areas of their functions that needed collaboration.
He said that since NIMASA is the major regulator of shipping in the country, the need to synergise in order to ensure that operators in the sector abide strictly by the laws of the country.
He re-echoed the importance of the maritime sector to the economy of Nigeria saying the sector must take the lead as the revenue earner of government in the face of dwindling oil revenues, saying the Nigeria Customs is committed to partnerships that will guarantee this increased revenue.