Customs Has Achieved 80% Automation In Cargo Delivery – Compt. Olomu

Apapa Customs Breaks Own   Daily Revenue Milestone By 12.5%, Rakes In N17.9bn

Compt. Babatunde Olomu, Ph.D is the Customs Area Controller(CAC) of  Apapa Area 1 Customs Command. He is one of the privileged former Public Relations Officers in Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) managing a command as Controller under the current Customs Comptroller General(CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, who was indeed the national PRO of the service for over a decade. Adeniyi was their boss in the Public Relations unit. 

Olomu who on Wednesday, June 19,2024 made a daily milestone revenue generation of N17billion in Apapa Command, had been instrumental to the seizure of numerous containers of illicit drugs in Apapa as a younger officer. So, he is operating on a familiar terrain. It is no surprise that these feats are credited to him today, especially the revenue record in just one month of assuming office at the Command because he is a certified specialist in asset recovery and Intelligence Analyst, with of course, a Ph.D. in  International Relations obtained from the University of Abuja. 

He had a hurriedly managed media meeting on Wednesday to announce his revenue feat. MMS Plus visited with the expectation of an earlier interview fixed to mark the CGC’s one year in office but in their estimation a better reason for meeting was birthed, taking the shine off the already scheduled appointment. 

No journalist of worth likes an “Elevator Pitch” interview. But that was what we got.  It therefore lacks the rainbow flavor and style associated with a “Coffee on the table” interview. Twenty minutes was allotted for what had become everybody’s story and journalists in their question management struggled with elimination choice and suppression of interest.  He had an appointment to catch in Victoria Island that early evening.  No doubt, a trail of misgiving was left but personality and open-door policy associated with him soothed the concern of missing a personality interview.

 Do you know that some CEOs avoid or suppress critical questions during interviews with appointment excuses?  “I give you five minutes, I am in a hurry for an appointment!”, they would say. That is a disarming tactics. Ask them a relaxing question, you will be surprised that there is no appointment anywhere. However, Compt. Olomu is not cast in this mould. He is that PR man he is known for!

In his brief chat however, he was elated about the unprecedented milestone, but noted that there is a drastic drop in cargo throughput perhaps this second quarter. He was not specific. However,it beats the mind that the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) keeps reporting increase in import in contrast to the reality the men and officers in the field experience season in, season out. Could this be called, Patriotism?   Read the true spirit of patriotism from Compt. Olomu in this chat with the media. Enjoy his answers to questions.

As regards the areas of challenges, they are everywhere but they are meant to be surmounted. Compliance has always been the problem but within the one month of my stay here, I have been able to jerk up the level of compliance. It is a daily thing. We will keep working on this because we believe that when the level of compliance is high it will dovetail virtually into every other thing we do.

There was also a question on the issue of exchange rate viz -a- viz the revenue collection. To be sincere with you, the cargo throughput dropped drastically, but I don’t have the statistics on that as we speak. However, I can say that it dropped by 50 per cent to 60 per cent. But we are leveraging stakeholders’ engagement, blocking of revenue leakages, facilitation of trade, engagement of our stakeholders and building the CGC’s cardinal point of collaboration, consolidation and innovation.

These three pillars have helped us in ensuring that revenue that is supposed to accrue to Federal Government is fully protected. As regards the level of automation, it is about 80 per cent. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is one of the agencies of government that have kept modernizing its automation system to ensure that virtually all our processes are automated. So the level of automation in Customs as we speak is about 80 percent. And the CGC is still working on increasing it.

There are two products that the CGC just launched. They are: Authorized economic operator and advanced ruling, which is derived from the World Trade Organization ( WTO) trade facilitation agreement, precisely article 3. All member states are mandated to provide advanced ruling to desirous stakeholders so that they can get details of tariff classification and duty payable before the arrival of the cargo. Once this is done, it will reduce the friction in the port. Secondly, the advanced form of the fast-track also ensures that cargo moves directly to premises of the importers once it arrives the port.

 So these are products which the CGC just introduced and they are in their pilot scheme.  And they are aimed at further ensuring that trade is facilitated and full automation attained.

On the next question, we intercepted youth clothing and crusader soap. They fall under the import prohibition list and we are not expected to have them here. So we intercepted them.

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