Customs raises hope on pact with Benin Republic, earns N1bn revenue

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According to reports, the Nigeria Customs’ Service Seme Command, has expressed the hope that its recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with Republic of Benin would further bolster revenue and aid the fight against smuggling at the border.

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Meanwhile, the anti-smuggling unit of the Command has also intercepted and arrested three bullet proof vehicles smuggled into the country at different entry locations.

The Customs Public Relation Officer, Seme Command, Taupyen Selchang, said in a statement that the Command generated N1.1 billion as revenue for the month of September, 2016.

He however noted that there would be a boost in revenue if the MoU signed with the Republic of Benin translates into handing over of all transit vehicles to Seme Command.

Selchang restated that with the compliance in the general unification of values across border Commands, the implementation of the complete 17 digits declaration of VIN and the strict adherence to clearance procedure of general goods, he was hopeful that this feat will be recorded and sustained once the principle of compliance, transparency and integrity is strictly adhered to while discharging its mandates.

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According to him, the Command also made a total of 76 seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N67 million for the period under review. Though the previous months were characterized by a lot of challenges that militated against the smooth collection of revenue in the Command, Selchang said it is heartwarming to note that efforts put in place to address the challenges yielded the expected result far above the preceding months.

The amount generated surpassed the sum of N883 million that was collected within the same period in 2015 with over N245 million.

Commenting on the development, the Custom Area Controller (CAC), Victor Dimka, disclosed that the previous challenge of revenue in the Command has been overcome.

The CAC assured that the Command remained undaunted and cannot be deterred in performing her statutory responsibility no matter the challenge.

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The details of the arrested three bullet proof vehicles with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N58.7 million were given as: A black Jeep Escalade with Lagos Registration number GGE 225 BM; A black Toyota Land Cruiser (VKR) with Lagos Registration number LSR 906 AG and A black Mercedes Benz Bus with a foreign number.

Inspecting the seized bulletproof vehicles, Dimka disclosed that the security of the nation remain a top priority to the border commands of the Nigeria Customs.

The Command’s helmsman reiterated that apart from generating revenue, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade, the Nigeria Customs Service has a complementary role of protecting the territorial integrity of this nation.

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The Controller added that the challenge of security is vital to the survival of the nation’s socio-economic and political system; hence the need to ensure that bullet proof vehicles undergo security procedure for approval from the office of the National Security Adviser before importation.

He highlighted that the Command’s seizures in recent times attest to the alertness and the security consciousness of the anti-smuggling unit. He further stated that the Command located at the corridor of the West Africa sub-region will not relent in her effort in combating smuggling and other cross border vices.

Conversely, he noted that when smuggling is drastically reduced through aggressive anti-smuggling operations as in the case of Seme Command, legitimate trade across the frontier is facilitated and higher revenue generated.

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