By Sam Esogwa
The new Comptroller of Customs, Area 1 Command, Port Harcourt, Awwal Baba Mohammed, has revealed that his revenue target for 2020 is N83.1 billion.
He stated this during a chat with journalists on Friday, 6th March, 2020, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital.
According to Awwal Baba Mohammed, the Command had a target of N47.9 billion last year but ended up generating N52.8 billion, thereby surpassing the target with about N4.9 billion. To meet this year’s target of N83.1, he said the Command is expected to generate N250 million daily.
“To generate N250 million every day is not supposed to be by force. What I mean is that we won’t go to the importer and force him to come and pay this money. The agents have to come and make declaration. The agents will have to come and do declaration and pay for the consignment,” he said.
Awwal Baba Mohammed, who said the Area 1 Command’s operations would be guided by his mantra of due process, explained that he would introduce changes that would further strengthen the Command and position it for greater revenue generation during his tenure.
He said currently, there is hundred per cent examination of consignments at the Ports, an exercise he said begins from 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., adding that goods are now cleared in time when proper declarations are made on them by agents.
Among the changes to be introduced, according to Awwal Baba Mohammed, is the creation of a friendly atmosphere for ease of doing business, which he said is in line with the federal government policy.
This ease of doing business, he further explained, has a limitation, as it entails doing things the right way for the benefit of all parties.
“In other words, there has to be proper declaration; you have to follow the proper legal way. If you say in the name of ease of doing business, you won’t do proper examination and documentation, that means you won’t collect the right duties. Another thing we’re going to introduce is to make the environment user-friendly because, if you don’t create a friendly atmosphere, the importer will not feel comfortable. So we’re going to make the environment very conducive,” he said.
The new Comptroller of Area 1 Command further explained that as part of the user-friendly atmosphere, he would ensure that there are no bottlenecks in terms of having access to him, while there would be no cases of harassment of any agent.
“Any form of delay; any form of harassment cannot be tolerated throughout my tenure as Area Comptroller of this Command,” he added, noting that prompt examination of consignments would be encouraged to ensure that agents clear their goods in time, a measure he said would not only make them happy enough to keep doing business with them but would also attract more importers to the Area 1 Port Harcourt Port.