The PTML Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service said it generated a total of N189.3 billion from January to December 2020, recording a shortfall of N48.9 billion in its target for the year.
The command had been tasked with the responsibility of generating N238 billion in 2020.
The amount generated is however 19 per cent higher than the N159 billion recorded in 2019.
Addressing a press conference at the command’s headquarter in Lagos, Controller of the Command, Comptroller Festus Okun, attributed the shortfall to the poor state of the access road to the port and the accompanying gridlock as well as the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gridlock, he said, impacted negatively on the turn-around time for the movement of cargo outside the port and movement of export cargo into the port, thereby taking a toll on the command’s operation.
He said, “One of the greatest challenges faced by humanity in the year 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic and ours was not an exception. So many economies were shut down outside the country and even within Nigeria, so many sectors were shut down even our banks were not working optimally.
“The port access road also greatly impacted negatively on our operation. At a time, it took four to five days for cargoes released to move from this port to Tin Can before they will even join the main access road. But we later discovered that it was a little bit easy for cargoes to go out during the weekend, so we had to organise our officers to open the gate 24 hours from Friday to Monday and we discovered that it worked.
“Another area of challenge is the issue of 100 per cent physical examination of containerized cargo. This is due to the absence of scanners at the port. We are hoping that this will soon be a thing of the past once the e-Customs project is fully realised. If all these challenges were not there, we are sure that we would have realised our target or probably surpassed it.”
Okun said the command handled 151, 938 metric tons of exports with free-on-board value of N117.3 billion within the review period.
He added that the command also seized six 20-foot containers of skin lighting soap, which were falsely declared as bean seeds. The seized consignment, which according to him was the first seizure recorded by the command in about six years, has a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N287 million.
“The command put in place various capacity measures in the area of capacity building for officers, strengthening of the dispute resolution committee and building a strong team for quality service delivery, thus engendering the ease of doing business. We have a functional help desk while we keep our doors open to stakeholders for direct access”, Okun said