Customs moves for ease of doing business at Rivers port
The Port Harcourt Area One Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Rivers State has vowed to stop all forms of harassments by various agencies at the port and dismantle noticeable bottlenecks with a view to ensuring ease of doing business in the zone.
The new Customs Area Controller for the Command, Awwal Abba Mohammed, pointed out that a conducive environment was key to business growth and improved revenue, adding that the milieu the service creates would determine whether the importer or agent would return to the port or not.
In an interview at the weekend, Mohammed pledged that any consignment with proper declaration would be cleared and released within 24 hours to speedy up maritime businesses and generate more revenues for the nation.
He disclosed that the command generated N52 .8 billion last year, surpassing its N 47.9 billion target by N4.9 billion.
The Customs chief said with a friendlier environment, the command would equally surpass its 2020 revenue target of N83.1 billion.
His words: “We will make the environment user-friendly, the way the environment is will determine if the importer or agent will come back. We will make sure we stop all forms of harassments by agencies and make stakeholders feel comfortable. I will make sure that I remove all bottlenecks, give agents and stakeholders access to us for easy and smooth movement of cargoes in Port Harcourt Command.
“Last year, the revenue target of the area was N47.9 billion and the area generated N52 .8 billion which means the area surpassed the revenue target by N4.9 billion. This year 2020, the revenue target is N83.1 billion and this means we are expected to generate an average of N200 million everyday in the command and to generate such amount is not by force, the agents and importers need to come and pay for their consignments and one of the strategies to achieve this, is to ensure ease of doing business.”
He added: “I have introduced some changes. Old cargoes coming into the port must be examined 100 per cent and released under 24 hours if we are convinced that proper declarations have been made, proper duties paid and items imported are not on the prohibited lists. But If you jump procedures, you are delaying the release of your goods, but if proper procedures are followed, nothing will stop the release of cargoes within 24 hours in Port Harcourt port.”
Mohammed admitted that the use of scanners would have been more efficient in achieving the task, but noted that without the facilities, the command had a way of conducting technical examinations within the stipulated time.
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