CAC Tin Can Island Command, Comptroller Bashar Yusuf

The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service is evolving new strategies that would enable it maintain its high revenue profile by building bridges across officers and men of the command, especially in terms of standard operational procedure.

The Command had generated whooping revenue of N130 billion for the first half of the 2017 fiscal year covering January-June despite the sharp decline in cargo volumes occasioned by the economic recession in the country, a record it wants to sustain and even surpass.

It was as part of measures to remain a major force to reckon with, especially in revenue collection that the Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Bashar Yusuf met at different sessions with officers in charge of the terminals and those in valuation within the terminals.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejesieme, said the meeting was to further reiterate the Comptroller’s stand on zero tolerance for inappropriate examination of cargo, comparative analysis of declarations on the Single Goods Declaration SGD with the system declaration and appropriate valuation of goods to guide against transfer of value among others.

The CAC in his opening remarks drew the attention of the sectional heads to the role of the service in national development and the implications of failure to meet with expectations and its concomitant effect on Nigeria’s economy.

He also reminded them that the command was given a revenue target of N25.8 billion per month, which translates to N306.8 billion in a year.

This had necessitated the Comptroller’s directive for a daily target of at least N1billion, which cannot be achieved without a practical commitment of all officers and men of the command.

The Controller therefore admonished terminal heads to ensure that thorough system checks on declarations are carried out to identify goods which value may have been transferred with a view to regularising them.

In view of the above, the Controller directed that beyond the weekly target, the various terminals will also be placed on serious surveillance to ensure zero tolerance for any corrupt tendency.

In a similar development, the Controller while declaring an Information Communications Technology ICT training also organised by the command close, the CAC also charged participants to make integrity, professionalism and due diligence their watchword while stating that ICT is an enabler.

He pointed out that the participants are expected to drive the process through a renewed commitment and vigour tailored towards raising the revenue profile of the command.

“My passion for capacity building prompted the establishment of the training centre which in future will serve the training needs of the service and the World Customs Organisation WCO and so whoever passes through the facility will have a comparative advantage of out-pacing his or her contemporaries in all aspects of 21st century Customs operations”, the CAC said.

While addressing the releasing officers, he said: “We have found you worthy in learning and character and that is why we gave you password.  As the Area Controller, I want to state for the umpteenth time that I do not have a preferred Importer or agency, which is why I have never compelled any one of you to exit any cargo based on such preference. May I remind you to guard your passwords jealously as flimsy excuses of in deliberate mistakes will not be tolerated”.

The CAC also said: “Your driving force should be to out-pace your contemporaries through upping the ante in all aspects of your official engagements.  We will develop more rigorous and comprehensive training programmes after the official commissioning of the facility.  Our ultimate task remains revenue generation and collection; therefore we have a responsibility as officers and men to demonstrate integrity and commitment in the discharge of our official functions”.

Your performance must be seen to have a significant effect on our revenue, attitudinal change and self transformation is also key.   “My style is to use ICT to control the behaviour of officers and those who are found wanting will be sanctioned to act as deterrent to would be offenders”.

He however charged stakeholders to key into the change Ideology of the Comptroller-General of the service, Col. Hameed Ali as their sacrifice to nation building, stating that Tin Can Island command under his watch will remain a choice and preferred port for patriotic importers in view of its penchant for facilitation of legitimate trade.

On the Presidential Enabling Business Committee on Ease of Doing Business, the Controller stated that the command has been at the vanguard of ensuring that honest declarations are given expeditious access though there could be occasional hiccups, assuring that the command is ever ready to address such challenges.

He described stakeholder engagement, inter-personal skills and the concept of change management as part of the building blocks to functional and effective Customs operations.