ABUJA: The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa Command, has stated that some Nigerians are taking advantage of the federal government’s move to diversify the economy to export prohibited items from the seaports. Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Apapa Command, Jibrin Muhammed disclosed this in a chat with journalists in Lagos. He stated that his command has stepped up measures to ensure that all goods leaving the shores of Nigeria are properly vetted so as to save the country from needless embarrassment. The comptroller therefore, charged prospective exporters of made in Nigeria products and other raw materials to come to Apapa Command for their exports. Specifically, he said: “We have intercepted and detained some export containers of scrap metals, wet blue (leather) and unprocessed wood which in under export prohibition in the extant laws.” “Investigations are ongoing and sanctions will be applied in line with extant laws. However, the seized pharmaceuticals will be handed over to National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).” He stated that he was ready to facilitate export trade considering the country’s economic state and the federal government efforts at diversifying the nation’s economy through encouragement of exportation of agricultural products.
Speaking on measures put in place to enforce the ease of doing business in the country, he said the command created a functional customs examination centre to facilitate trade. Jubrin said creating the examination centre was to implement the federal government’s directive on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria. He added: “I want to use this medium to inform stakeholders that the Apapa Area Command has in line with the federal government’s directive on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria initiative created a functional Customs Examination Centre within APMT.” This, he added, serves as a coordinating centre for all stakeholders in cargo examination at the Apapa Port. “I have already held a meeting with all the critical agencies where we rubbed minds on the smooth operation of the centre and they have already keyed into the project. The system will continue to be perfected as the project progresses with intention to reduce human contact as well as time spent on cargo clearance,” he stated.
Jubrin said the command’s enforcement unit effected detentions including containers of different items, such as frozen fish, medicaments, pharmaceuticals which were either falsely declared and resulted to under payment of customs duties. “We have also intercepted and detained some export containers of scrap metal, wet Blue (leather and unprocessed wood which falls under export prohibition. Investigations are ongoing and sanctions will be applied in line with extant laws. Besides the revenue generated from import duties, over N1.8billion was also realised from infractions with the period under review. Jubrin said on resumption of office, he explained to his officers that value addition must be a propelling force for the command’s team. “This implies that we all must be committed to adding value that will leave the command progressively better each day. The principle over time has been internalised by officers and men of the command hence an impressive result recorded in the first five months of the year,” he added.