ABUJA: The Oyo/Osun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated N14.59 billion in 2015, as it prepared to build on its revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities.
The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Tope Ogunkua, made the disclosure on Monday in Ibadan when the Customs Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’, Mr Eporwei Edike, visited the command’s headquarters in Ibadan.
Ogunkua, who assumed duty on Jan.11, 2016, said that what was generated in 2015 fell short of the revenue target of N21.83 billion set for the command. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Ogunkua as saying that the command generated N15.20 billion in 2014.
The controller attributed the shortfall in revenue to election period, exchange rate and 41 items restricted from foreign exchange transaction by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2015. NAN reports that the command generated N932.86 million in January 2016.
“Our command is basically more of enforcement than seizures. All officers of the command are focused; which gives me an assurance that we will meet up our expectations.
“We made giant strides in the area of duty payment on second-hand vehicles as a result of aggressive enlightenment campaign organised by the management of the service, ‘’ NAN quotes Ogunkua as saying. He said that in 2015, the command intercepted 2,786 vehicles with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N294.36 million, adding that it also seized 1,625 vehicles in 2014 with a DPV of N163.64 million.
The controller said that the DPV on rice across the border between Nov. 2 and Dec. 31, 2015, was N191.08 million. Ogunkua said that in all in 2015, the command seized 182 items with a DPV of N442.67 million.
He said that in January 2016, officers of the command intercepted two trucks and five cars conveying 1,165 bags of rice along Saki-Oyo road with a DPV of N10.54 million. Ogunkua assured genuine rice importers that rice importation and duty payment through the border were still approved.
All recalcitrant smugglers will have the arms of the law catch up with them soon,’’ the controller said. He said that the current administration had zero tolerance for corruption and revenue leakages in all ramifications, adding that the area command was committed to enforcing same.
Responding, Edike urged officers of the command not to give excuse in 2016, adding that they should go back to their drawing board and re-strategise. The zonal coordinator said that although the officers had challenges in 2015, they should not relent and generate every money due for government.
If Customs could not meet up to expectations, government will not be happy with us. I know you focus more on enforcement but do not relent in generating money for government. I am calling for personal sacrifice,’’ he said.
Edike urged the officers to be mindful of national security, adding that they should not allow any illegal arms and ammunition to come into the country. He advised them to top up their game to avoid smuggling of harmful items into the country.
The zonal coordinator said that such items could affect numerous and innocent people in the country. Edike urged the officers to support the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hammed Ali to achieve his mandate.