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‘We’re determined to grow revenue, raise compliance level at PTML’

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Customs Controller in charge of Nigeria’s automobile port at Port Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML) in Apapa, Lagos, Florence Olusunmbo Dixon, in this interview with journalists, spoke on the command’s mid-year performance and strategy for increased revenue generation, as well as compliance level of importers and agents. EDU ABADE reports

What is unique about PTML as it is often described as a model port? 
We are more of a roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) cargo port command. Most of our cargoes here are vehicles. This is what is unique about PTML, unlike other sports where you have vehicle seats but vehicles may not be the highest items being imported through there. We also have a few other cargoes coming here too.

Under your watch the Command made its highest monthly revenue collection earlier this year. How did you achieve this? 
The volume of trade is one factor responsible for this and in addition, we as customs officers prevent revenue leakages of any kind. Yes, we collected N14.8b in January 2019. That is unprecedented and I will say it was possible because we are improving on our operations thereby encouraging more importers to use the port. It’s a result of hard work and commitment by all my officers. I can’t do it all alone.

What about your half-year revenue scorecard? 
I am pleased to say we have done well here. Between January and June this year, we collected N75.7 billion, which is N15 billion above our half-year target of N60.3 billion.

This is a clear indication that we are ready to meet and surpass our 2019 target. Our officers’ commitment is increasing by the day and we are totally focused on our mandate to collect revenue and facilitate trade without compromising national security and interest.

How compliant are your stakeholders with NICIS2 and overall customs modernisation drive? 
We are improving in that. I can say they are 60 percent compliant and it will go higher because we are not giving room for infractions. Where we discover or suspect deviance, we arrest and detain suspects in our cell. For discovered revenue shortfalls, we don’t hesitate to issue Demand Notice (DN) and achieve maximum collection on all transactions.

Where there are an accurate declaration and total compliance, how soon can importers and agents clear their vehicles under your command? 
If the documents and declarations made are accurate, cargoes can exit customs control in this port within six hours. On this, we need to emphasis sincere declaration and total compliance. These are the ingredients for faster clearance here.

What is the degree or frequency of interaction between your command management team and your stakeholders? 
Always. My office is open. My other officers to do the same. We treat every issue with lawful speed to facilitate trade except where we suspect non- compliance requiring demand notice. No one can hurry us up when they fail the total compliance tests, but if you comply, be sure of fast service.

I interact regularly with my stakeholders. We treat issues as they come. We don’t allow them to accumulate and I think that has helped in contributing to our success.


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