Nnadi Takes Over at Tincan Island Port, Pledges to Increase Revenue Joy Mmereole Okoli

Nnadi Takes Over at Tincan Island Port, Pledges to Increase Revenue 
Joy Mmereole Okoli 
The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigerian Customs Service on Thursday l14, 2023 received Comptroller Dera Nnadi as the 20th Customs Area Controller as Comptroller Adeline Oloyede moves to the headquarters, Abuja.
Nnadi a former  Controller of  Seme  Border Command of Nigeria Customs Service described his posting to the Command as a homecoming have served as the Deputy Comptroller in charge of Enforcement at the Command about three years ago.
He noted that the command under his watch would not dwell on the usual blame of others for the various challenges bedeviling the maritime industry adding that “no one person is responsible for the rot, but everyone should be ready to offer a solution.”
The CAC recalled that the command revenue target of over N801 billion currently stands at 52 percent, with barely three months to the end of the year 2023, assuring that the command must work harder to collect the remaining 48 percent of the remaining revenue before the year runs out.
He maintained that coming at a time, when the floating exchange rate was affecting importers and exporters, Dera said this is a big  thing but a very achievable task.”
He added that their roles in securing the nation were vast, ranging from interventions against economic saboteurs who distort and take advantage of the nation’s trade policy saying that these also include those that import illicit goods that contribute to the insecurity in the country.
While commending his immediate predecessor, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyode, Nnadi said, “I want to commend the outgoing Controller and officers of the command for the recent seizure of two containers of tramadol. We will sustain the fight against importation of illicit and unapproved  drugs.”
“Just two days ago, the Customs Administrations of Nigeria and Benin signed an agreement to develop frameworks for clearing of Nigeria-bound goods in Benin Ports and vice versa. This is a call for us to improve our business process and increase our efficiency in service delivery to be competitive with other ports in the sub-region.
“To this end, I will particularly request the cooperation of shipping companies,  terminal operators, and other government agencies in our efforts towards ensuring the actualization of the rebranding of the command.
“In line with this, I will essentially request that we respect our various mandates. Those concerned with regulatory functions should stay away from interference in revenue-related transactions except it is in their mandate to do so. Hopefully, this will improve service delivery in the Tincan Port.”
Nandi references the outgone Controller who said that he operated an open door policy, he stated that he will also open his doors for seamless trade, but will also close the door against unwholesome activities that will compromise the Service mandates.
“Let me at this juncture state that in my resolve to achieve the goals of the Command, we will not dwell on the usual blame of others for the various challenges bedeviling the maritime industry. No one person is responsible for the rot, but everyone should be ready to offer a solution.”
In his remarks, the outgone Controller, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede urged officers and stakeholders including sister agencies to extend the same support and collaboration given to him to the new Controller whom he described as a trade facilitator to enable him to succeed and achieve the command’s revenue target.
While urging clearing agents to improve on their level of compliance, Oloyede urged them to also extend intelligence shared with the command in its anti-smuggling operation that led to the seizure of two containers of tramadol to the new Controller.
”I know we are already in the ember months, so the incoming controller will need your support to be able to meet the revenue target and I know he is going to break my records. I also promise to give my support as Controller in charge of import and export and ensure that by God’s grace, he succeeds” he assured.
The new tincan boss while having  a chat with the press, mentioned that  issues surrounding the reopening of Nigeria’s lands borders continues, Nigeria and the Republic of Benin are set to meet on Friday, September 29 to form a committee and jointly receive the Terms of Reference for regional integration.

Nnadi shared that while Nigeria’s land borders are yet to re-open, the service understands the importance of regional integration in a fast changing world.
The concept of regional trade integration is pursuant to the new world order which encourages cooperation between independent countries within a region or sub region as the case may be to speed up economic and social development through removal of barriers in trade and movement of persons which may impede free movement of goods and services within a particular region. 
This strategic agenda between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin is in line with the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and would aid smooth transitioning into the Africa Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA). 
He noted that the re-opening of Nigeria’s land borders may not come as speedily as many may wish as procedures are in place to aid intra-regional trade synergy for the long haul.
He added that a committee is underway to discuss the framework for seamless trade facilitation just like he explained is the norm in East Africa, Central Africa and Europe to strengthen Nigeria’s bond with the Republic of Benin and correct issues relating to trade irregularities and further deepen cooperation between the customs Services of both nations.
“The border is yet to re-open although we gave a deadline of the 29th of September. A committee will be set up for this and the Terms of Reference will be given to them on 29th of September so that they will start sitting. Government will still have to endorse it. 
“It is just like an idea that is already working elsewhere. In East Africa they are doing some of these things and in central Africa Republic. From your own port, you go to another person’s port and if there is any container, you pay duty there. That is integration. 
“Those of you that travel intercontinental, if you fly Lufthansa and they check you in in Nigeria, the next check they will do is at Frankfurt. Once they check you at Frankfurt, nobody checks you again in other European countries. That is exactly what we want to do,” he stated.
Nandi further explained that this integration would affect trade practices such that if a certain items is prohibited by one nation, the other nation may introduce a gradual process of retracting that product from it’s trade list till the said item is totally removed from the trade commodities of such nation. This, he said, would unify the goods traded between both nations.
“You are carrying potato from Denmark to Belgium, when they check you at the border between Denmark and Belgium no other person checks you until that potatoes enter France or any other state. That is the European Union. Why can’t we do it here? Why are we making things seem too difficult? 
“So, it is not automatic. They are saying they would stop importing rice for our sake. There are modalities. Not as off we are going to just wake up and say go to Cotonou stop bringing in these goods, no. They only said, this is a proposal made and we only signed to commit to that proposal if the committee works out how to make it done. It is not automatic. The framework will still be worked out.”
While commenting on the challenges of movement of goods through Benin Republic, he said: 
“Another thing we discussed which was very important to us was transit fees. Assuming you pay like 2 naira from Ivory Coast to Togo and from Togo to Ghana. That same cargo you are paying two naira for to pass through each country, the moment you get to Benin Republic it jumps to. 10,000 naira. That is what we are protesting. They overcharge Nigerian goods on transit.
“ They too complained that When their traders come to Lagos to buy things, we have more than 80 checkpoints who collect money from traders and there are no receipt being issued so we too agreed that we are going to remove the checkpoints. So, we remove checkpoints as barriers to trade, they too remove cost of transit but nobody has opened the border for things to start coming,” he stated.
Nandi maintained that regional integration would not only strengthen and deeper trade processes in the West African but also increase competitiveness which is a critical factor to trade.
“Competitiveness is th soul of business. This same fear you have now is the fear we had when we wanted to start ETLS and when we were debating on Trade Facilitation Agreement and AfCFTA. I have sighted examples of regional integration everywhere in the world. 
“We should believe it is good for the sub region. Sometimes we should also not act by saying we can’t do it. If you see the volume of trade going across, you would understand the significance of those countries you may think are small and why you need to integrate.
“Imagine if Benin says Dangote should not pass through their place again to Togo. On a daily basis, 25 Dangote trucks go to Seme. Do you know what it means? Suppose they tell you you can’t cross again, we have closed our roads, they are not the ones buying the cement. 
“This is the importance of regional integration. We are suffering the same thing. Is there any ship that can go from Nigeria to Ghana direct? I will suggest to the committee that there would be sensitisation on this”, he said.

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