Comptroller Bashir driving the wheel of excellence at Apapa Customs
.We achieved N404bn revenue, WCO Award through discipline-Bashir
By Udeme Clement & Joel ThankGod
Apparently, Comptroller Bashir Abubakar is driving the wheel of excellence at Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS. The Command under his leadership has achieved great feats in revenue generation, trade facilitation and anti-smuggling drive. The Command raked in over N404billion revenue into the coffers of Federal Government for 2018 fiscal year, recorded N73.1billion from 1.2million metric tons of exported goods within the same year and N9.6billion on 72 seizures.
Remarkable Revenue Generation:
The N404billon, when compared to the yearly revenue target of N426.1billion represents 95percent collection. In 2017, the Command generated N350billion. Comparatively, it shows that the Command in 2018 collected N53billion more than the amount realised in 2017. This indicates an increase of 13.13percent over what the Command generated in 2017 economic year.
Most remarkably, Comptroller Bashir and his team seized 41 containers of Tramadol worth over N8.8billion, rejected N150million bribe offered them by importer of the drugs.
The Apapa Customs CAC recently honoured five officers of the Command for outstanding performance, an initiative that attracted commendations of all officers of Apapa to Comptroller Bashir, for rewarding officers on their hard work.
Special Recognition / WCO Award:
These feats and numerous accomplishments recorded by Apapa Command, earned Comptroller Abubakar and his team the World Customs Organisation, WCO, Award, for exceptional performance, bestowed on Comptroller Abubakar, at the just concluded International Customs Day in Abuja.
Recognition for hard work:
Recognition for Comptroller Abubakar’s hard work and resilience has been seen in the records of Customs years before being posted to Apapa, the premier Port. He served the Service at various capacities, even as he was the CAC of Onno Command, where the revenue generation of that Command sky-rocked to over 90 percent through renewed operational strategies and exemplary leadership competence brought to bear by his supervision. In reality, his record of excellent performance at every Command he goes speaks volumes.
Senior Officer’s Comment on Comptroller Bashir:
“We are experiencing a new leadership prowess exhibited by the Customs Area Controller, CAC, of Apapa Customs Command, Comptroller Bashir Abubakar, who believes in encouraging officers at all levels.
“We are the first Area Command, as the Premier Port to get WCO Award. It is indeed a great achievement for us”, Said DC Gaya, the officer in charge of revenue, also the APM of Apapa Command.
Comptroller Bashir’s perspective on Apapa Command:
These were the words of Comptroller Bashir on exceptional achievements by his Command.
He said, “Discipline is the key. At Apapa Command, discipline is seen in all aspects of our operations. We ensure everything is done according to the rules and in tandem with the extant guidelines. This becomes quite imperative because our goal is to promote economic growth at all times.
“Also, we blocked all loopholes. In Apapa Command, we ensure Ego Free Relationship, which paves the way for us to synergise with other agencies of government, such as Military, Police, Navy, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control, NAFDAC, among other agencies in the Port.
Ego Free Relationship:
On what Comptroller Bashir meant by ‘Ego Free Relationship:
He explained, “I have realised that as a Civil Servant, I need to humble myself no matter the position, in order to ensure a cordial working relationship with others. Even God says when we humble ourselves, we will be exalted. So, humility allows us at Apapa Command to collaborate well with other agencies of government. We also recognise our stakeholders in the sector.
He pointed out, “Another strategy is regular in-house capacity building. This is very important, because our officers’ training is connected to the internet and Customs Server to ensure efficiency in our operations.
“My officers and I at Apapa Command feel highly honoured by the WCO Award; especially as such recognition is coming from the highest body of our profession. Also, we see it as opportunity to do more, because to whom much is given, much is expected.”
New operational strategies:
“Other strategies we adopted include insistence on seamless operations of import and export business, 24 hours dispute resolution mechanism, one spot examination for all agencies to ensure 24 hours cargo clearance from the Port”.
Challenges facing Apapa as a Command:
Aside from outstanding performance in revenue and trade facilitation, Apapa Customs also faces challenges as shown below:
The CAC said, “The issue of non-compliance with fiscal policies poses a big challenge in our work. We blocked about 1,000 containers with infractions on imports. We have directed the owners of such containers to follow appropriate import procedures.
“In 2018, we achieved a high level of compliance on export declaration. However, about 2,500 containers were blocked and directed to comply with the requisite guidelines on export trade. So, about 1,600 out of over 2,000 containers perfected their documents and passed through Customs examination.
“Our position on importation is very clear. Apapa Command today is the most seamless in terms of Customs procedures. And if importers have any issue, let them send their representatives to my office for inquiry, instead of raising false alarm of extortion.
“What we are saying is that, we must do the right thing by following the import guidelines in bringing goods to the country. Before any importation of items to Nigeria, the traders should visit the nearest Customs formation to make enquiry on the items they want to bring, to know what the law says.
“For instance, you need to parley with Electricity Company to bring in a transformer. Also, there are goods under the control of SON and NAFDAC. So, for you to bring in such goods, you must first pass through these agencies to get their permit. The law is very clear on this.
“Another challenge is the bad condition of the Port access road that is equally affecting our operations. However, we are focused in doing our job and we thank the Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC Ali Hameed for his support.”