The Seme International land border which links other West African Countries and noted for its busy nature in vehicular and human traffic is for the first time witnessing a situation where the economic activities through the busiest corridor is considered to be at its lowest ebb.
This recent development is of utmost concern to the Nigeria Customs Service as the scenario has had negative impact in the revenue drive of the command.
Disturbed by the challenge and the state of this retrogressive phenomenon in the command’s revenue, the Command Public Relation crew visited the Atlas Park and the critical stakeholders to sight and know the possible cause. The PR team discovered an empty park with some broken down/ empty trucks. When contacted, the representative of the stakeholders (ANCLA Chairman Seme Chapter, Lasisi Fanu) attributed the low level of economic activities to the following reasons-
That raising the benchmark by the service with over one hundred and fifty percent (150%) increment was not favorable to importers (i.e. the upward review of the value of imported goods by the Tariff and Trade Unit to commensurate with the value of the goods and to meet the current economic realities),hence the change of route by some importers.
The annual China breaks that usually takes place from January to February could also be a contributory factor to the low and dwindling revenue bedeviling the Command.
The current economic recession occasioned by the increase in forex (exchange rate) which affected importation of general goods
According to the statemtn signed by Taupyen, Selchang, the Command Public Relation Officer of Seme-Borderstated that the ANCLA Chairman further disclosed that the situation does not only affect the revenue drive of the Command but the entire association rendering most of their members redundant.
It could be recalled that the slow pace of economic activities commenced in the month of March 2017 after exhausting the back log of un-cleared goods at the Atlas Park since December, 2016. The sighted empty park indicated that there were no importations through the land border as at the time of the visit. The downward trend in economic activities in the month of March, 2017 resulted to very low revenue figure generated by the command (N474, 527,071.29). The Command also made sixty two (62) seizures with a duty paid value (DPV) of N25, 748,264.00 for the period under review. It is pertinent to note that the challenge witnessed in the month of March, 2017 still persists.
However, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Aliyu A in an attempt to redeem the revenue profile of the command is engaging the critical stakeholders in series of mutual consultations on the way forward and also proffer solutions to get out of the ugly trend.
The Comptroller has also warned that all Units at the point of entry or exit must be seen to be facilitating legitimate trade across the frontier. He re-iterated that officer’s conducts that are found to be inimical to the ideals of the service will be made to face the full wrath of the law. He concluded that officers must be professional in the performance of their core functions and must equally create a conducive and enabling working environment to ease business transaction among stakeholders at the International land border.