Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Musa Abdullahi.

Francis Ezem

The Tin Can Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has collected a total of N31.2 billion for the first quarter of 2020, which ended March 31, amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has negatively affected general business and commerce across the globe. This represents a growth rate of 20.5per cent when compared to the N25.9billion collected in the comparative period of last year.

Meanwhile, in addition to the measures put in place by the Federal Government and other global health institutions to curb the spread of the deadly virus in the country, the command has also activated some internal control and sensitisation measures for personnel and stakeholders to ensure that it does not spread further.

Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejesieme, who released the statistics in Lagos, Wednesday, attributed the phenomenal growth in the revenue despite the pandemic to some strategies put in place by the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Musa Baba Abdullahi, which include the mobilisation of stakeholders through roundtable and other interactive fora.

These strategies were put in place in realisation of the huge expectations on it as a major revenue hub for the government, being the second highest import revenue earner after the Apapa Command.

In addition to stakeholders’ sensitisation and mobilisation, the command also took steps to promote global best practice and trade facilitation, as it used the platform of the various fora to solicit the support of all parties in the trade value chain, particularly on the need to comply with the fiscal and monetary policies of the Federal Government and the need to adhere strictly to trade rules.

“Further to these is the removal of all manner of bureaucratic bottlenecks and obstacles which might hinder access to information and intervention in critical areas. This is typified in the open door policy of the Customs Area Controller as well as establishment of Trade Facilitation and Dispute Resolution platforms for expeditious resolution of disputes arising from the various transactions.

“We are optimistic that all things being equal, the operational templates that have been put in place by the Customs Area Controller will surely lead to monumental revenue increase.

“On the issue of the global pandemic, we are glad to inform you that our sensitisation campaign on the subject began with the news of the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan China in November 2019, following a circular from Customs headquarters, which directed Customs commands to  commence awareness and education on ways of containing the virus”, the PRO also said. .

It was further gathered that following the report of the Index case in Nigeria, the command began more intensive and aggressive campaign, which culminated in the visit by the Zonal medical personnel of the service led by Dr. Bello, which was also in collaboration with the command’s resident medical personnel.

In the course of the sensitisation programmes, awareness lectures were delivered on the safest measures officers and stakeholders should adopt to keep safe. Participants were also sensitized on the need to always maintain social distance, use of latex gloves, hand sanitisers and regular hand washing, amongst other safety measures.

The command had also on the orders of the CAC, erected signage at strategic places in the command, that conveyed very salient information to stakeholders on additional measures that have been adopted to ensure the safety and health of Customs personnel and other stakeholders.