Thursday, December 2, 2021

Our revenue hampered by poor roads in Rivers: Onne Port Customs Comptroller

The Customs boss noted that the port under his watch has recorded steady growth from N13.11 billion to N19 billion in October.

• November 11, 2021
Auwal Mohammed

The Customs comptroller in charge of Onne Port in Rivers, Auwal Mohammed, says the deplorable state of link roads to the port remains a big bane to greater revenue generation.

Particularly, Mr Mohammed lamented the poor state of the Port Harcourt-Onne axis of the East-West road, adding that movement of consignments were being delayed as a result of the bad road.

“Our major challenge here is that we don’t have a motorable road linking Onne Port with other parts of the country.

“This is because anybody assessing the Onne Port must drive by the Eleme road which is currently in a deployable state.

“The road is our major challenge because no matter how many containers and trucks are released, the rate at which import goods move in and export goods move out of the port is largely determined by the nature of the road.

“Although survey works, seismic vulnerability assessments and other technical measures in highway construction have begun.

“We look forward to a commendable stage of work in the coming months as this success would further impact positively on our overall operations,’’ he said.

The comptroller reaffirmed commitment to value addition through increased revenue drive. He noted that the port under his watch has recorded steady growth from N13.11 billion to N19 billion in October.

Mr Mohammed disclosed this during an interaction with the Business and Maritime Writers Association of Nigeria (BUMWAN) on Thursday in Onne, Eleme Local Area in Rivers.

According to him, the monthly revenue generation profile of the command clearly showed a steady increment month after month since September 2020.

“Precisely in September 2020, when I took over, the command generated N13.11 billion, the highest since its creation.

“It had since then continued on a steady upward growth to N16 billion and N19 billion recorded in October 2021.

“When we eventually release our annual report, possibly by the second week in January 2022, I assure you, we are going to surprise almost everybody and our efforts in this command will be further appreciated,” he said.

Reacting to the challenge of clamping down on smugglers, the customs boss assured on readiness to stem the menace and bring it down to a barest minimum.

“Although smuggling cannot be completely stopped in any country in the world, the Nigerian Customs is, however, poised to reduce the menace to the barest minimum.

“In terms of substandard goods, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is saddled with the responsibility of controlling the quality of goods coming into the country.

“For instance, an item even if it’s substandard as long as it is not listed among contraband goods, the customs cannot verify such items as to whether it is substandard or not.

“This is where SON comes in and I’m sure they (officers) are doing their best to rid the country of substandard goods,” he added.

In his response, Peter Ihejirika, the President of BUMWAN, on behalf of the group assured on readiness toward deepening media collaboration with the command.

He applauded the command’s fiscal policy and anti-smuggling war of the Auwal-led administration.

“Your doggedness has indeed made the Onne Port a restricted zone for smugglers who over the years had engaged in unwholesome trade using the Port as it’s gateway,” he said.

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