Interviews

How We Hit N11bn Daily Collection After Generating N135bn in October – Comptroller Jaiyeoba

Customs Area Controller of Apapa Port, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba recently achieved outstanding revenue collection with highest monthly revenue in October and made an unprecedented daily collection of N11.3bn on November 22, 2023

He describes compliance and honest declarations as key to time saving and maximum revenue collection.

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Jaiyeoba told Ismail Aniemu that scanning and physical examination on a single consignment is an avoidable duplication of efforts, if declarations are sincerely made.

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Give us an overview of how it has been within this period since you assumed this office as Comptroller of the nation’s Premier port?

It has been challenging but like I said, when I took over , we were ready for the work.I know it is not going to be easy and to the glory of God, we are coping with the challenges.There is a lot of work to be done, which we are prepared to do and we are working on it.

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On a scale of 0- 10, how will you score the level of stakeholders compliance within this period since you have been in charge?

I wouldn’t want to rate the stakeholders compliance on a scale of 0-10.When I came in here, I met them doing some things which we felt were not proper. Now, They have been cooperating but we just felt no matter what we do, we must add value.We talked to them about compliance and that is working .

IMG 20231124 WA0009The new Comptroller General is very passionate about achieving 48 hours clearance of cargoes at the ports and achieving this is a two way traffic.The Customs have a part to play, likewise the stakeholders.We have been preaching to stakeholders that for us to achieve this, they should help us to assist them. They should be honest in their declaration.

Government directives is very clear.Quite a number of them are doing it but there are some that are still trying to cut corners, so we assembled them and talked to the various associations, making them to know that we are here to serve them and for them to get the best from us, they must also comply with government policies.

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For example, a container that is selected to for scanning and naturally should be scanned and allowed to go and we discover that the image is different from the declaration, no customs officer will allow that to come into the country.Rather, that container will be subjected to physical examination.In other words, we are duplicating our efforts.

Scanning is the first examination and we are now doing double examination.In the process, time is wasted and I told them that there is no trade that is not tied to money.Trade is money and your money is also tied down.I told them that if any of their clients asked that his consignment is delivered in two days and delivery is made in five days, very likely , such client won’t engage the agent again.We pitch into their conscience and I can tell you that we are seeing results.

Tell us about revenue under your watch.Has there been any difference since you assumed office?

Customs work is the same everywhere, but last month,October 2023, we had the highest revenue so far in the history of Apapa and that was N135bn and yesterday, November 22,we recorded another record breaking feat which is collection of N11.3 billion in a day.The highest daily collection,so far, has been N10 billion and I learnt it was celebrated in this command.I told them that we have not celebrated yet.We will celebrate when we get to the end of the year when we are able to say this is what we have done for the year.

Yesterday, we were able to make N11.3 billion which is a significant improvement over what we have been doing.We put a lot of things in place, and it has started yielding results. We did diligent system checks in our Customs Processing Centre(CPC) and got declarants to comply by paying into government coffers their due duty on time, which is compliance

I told you about stakeholders compliance, they are complying and we also meet to strategise on how to block the observed loop holes.As we observe them , we will continue to block them.

The year is coming to an end, what is your level of optimism that you will be able to meet or surpass your revenue expectation?

IMG 20231124 WA0009We are very optimistic.Even though, from the initial part of the year, it was not what was expected but from what we have been recording in the last 2 months , I am very optimistic that we will be able to get there.

Like I keep telling some of my surbodinates, who want to be discouraged, that it is not over until it is over.I believe it is achievable.What we need is the willpower and the willpower is there.I know that by the end of the year, we will have cause to celebrate

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You are head of Customs in Nigeria’s most sensitive port what is your advice to the port community here, Customs Agents, Government Agencies, Haulage operators, Chandlers, Shipping Companies.What is your general counsel to them on how to achieve a seamless port operation?

My counsel to them is that everyone should stick to their standard operating procedure as clearly spelt out for all the security agencies and they have been cooperating.The issue is just with these non governmental organizations and we will continue to tell them let’s play the game by the rules

Whether you are an agent or licensed chandler, there is a condition for your license.The condition for every operator is spelt out.If we all play according to the rules of the game, there will be less friction and we will be able to achieve a secured port environment.

I keep telling people that we are working because the port is secure .The onus is not only on any of us, but all of us.We should all be able to do what we need to do to secure the port.An agent can discover that some of their counterparts are doing things that can undermine the security of the port.They should let us know so that we will address it right from the beginning before it causes a problem to everyone.

Joshua Okoria

Joshua Okoria is a Lagos based multi-skilled journalist covering the maritime industry. His ICT and graphic design skills makes him a resourceful person in any modern newsroom. He read mass communication at the Olabisi Onabanjo University and has sharpened his knowledge in media practice from several other short courses. 07030562600, hubitokoria@gmail.com

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