The 20.31 per cent increase in the level of revenue recorded by the
Nigerian Customs Service from all its activities at its Apapa Command
in the first quarter of this year as against the figure in the same
period of last year has been attributed to improved compliance to
procedures by officers and stakeholders including importers and agents
among other factors.
The Deputy Comptroller, Revenue / Automated System for Customs
Data(APM) of the Command , Muhammed Gaya who confirmed this
development in an interview with  Marine&Economy in Lagos last week
said  that the enhanced compliance was however due to the consistent
sensitization carried out by the Command management since the
beginning of this year.
Statistics collated by Marine&Economy  indicated that a total sum of
N61, 711,096,726.00 was made as revenue by the Command  between
January and March  this year  compared to N61,711,096,726.00 in the
corresponding period of 2016 , a difference of N15,728,548,989.20.
A breakdown showed that a sum of N25, 958,919,218.73 was recorded as
revenue in January this year, N24, 767,582,067.43 in February and N26,
713, 144,429.13 in March.  When this is contrasted against the revenue
realized monthly in the first quarter of 2016, the Command also
exceeded the figure for each period.
The  Command has remained  as one of the few among its peers that has
been able to exceed its revenue consistently this year particularly
when the economic recession is yet to abate and the factors that have
led to the drop in the level of importation are still present, though
not as severe as before.
Gaya said the fact that the Command has been able to plug loopholes in
revenue , stepped up the training of  the officers as well as educated
the  stakeholders constantly  on the need to abide by the rules have
assisted greatly in the level of revenue generated during the period.
According to him, the sensitization process has improved the level of
commitment to duty among the crop of officers and men of the command
while it has also enhanced the level of  import duty collection as the
personnel utilizing their constant exposure to training are now  much
more efficient  at treating documents and ensuring that the requisite
duties are collected on goods.
He disclosed that officers examining containers have been much more
thorough with their jobs having realized that their assignments are
that of nation building in nature adding that cases of concealment,
wrong declaration, under declaration among other infractions
discovered through 100 per cent examination are being  penalised
appropriately and the importers made to pay the correct duty.
The Deputy Comptroller pointed out that the novel revenue collection
and recovery strategy put in place by the Area Controller, Comptroller
Musa Jibril  coupled with the efforts of the Revenue Unit of the
Command  has had a very positive impact on the revenue level during
the period.
The APM said importers using the Command has also improved on their
level of compliance in terms of sincerity in  their declaration due to
series of enlightenment that the Command has embarked upon in recent
times to enable them appreciate the benefits of paying the right
duties on their imports.
Gaya disclosed that the vigorous collection of outstanding debts owed
by the Command due to the  efforts of the Post Clearance Unit as well
as the exchange rate of N305 to the dollar used in the calculation and
collection of import duty have also contributed to the rise in the
level of revenue during the period.
He was optimistic that the Command will continue to improve on the
level of  revenue collection  adding that importers should however
endeavor to also ensure to be more sincere in their declaration  for
their own benefit and to ensure that government revenue is paid
correctly .
However despite that the Command was able to surpass the revenue for
the same period of last year , it fell short of meeting its monthly
revenue target of  N29.5 billion  given to it by the para- military
headquarters for this year.
In his reaction to this development, Gaya said that the effect of the
economic recession has made it impossible for revenue targets to be
met saying that the Customs should be lauded because it has been
meeting its revenue target by up to 90 per cent even with the economic
situation where ministries, parastatals and agencies have been finding
it difficult to achieve this.
He stated that it is the wish of any Command to not only meet its
revenue target but to surpass it adding that the issues of fluctuating
exchange rate and the 41 items on which the Central Bank  of Nigeria
(CBN) has restricted access  to foreign Exchange  for their
importation have combined to reduce the volume of imports into the
It will be recalled that the CBN had about two years ago put in place
the policy on the 41 items as part of measures to shore up Nigeria’s
external reserves , conserve FOREX, protect local industry and prevent
dumping in the country’s economy.
The implication of the policy is that importers of the 41 items have
to source their FOREX needs for the purpose of importation from the
parallel market, where the exchange rate has been very high, making it
difficult for most importers to access their FOREX needs from that
source and thus contributing to the drop in the level of imports since
Though the Apex Bank introduced some liberalization into the FOREX
regime when it directed the commercial banks to make the scarce FOREX
available for purposes of payments for tuitions and medicals abroad as
well as BTAs , a development that has reasonably  contributed to the
appreciation of the naira against the dollar , this has yet to have a
positive implication on import business.
Apapa Command has always been the highest revenue generating Customs
Area for the fact that it collects  its revenue from imports which
come into Nigeria through Apapa Port , which is the largest seaport
in terms of handling  the largest volume  of imports  into  the