…Amounts to N2bn increase from Q1 2020
…IBL paid N1.16bn excise duties up from N891.13m in 2020
Ben Eguzozie & Kelechi Esogwa, in Port Harcourt
The Port Harcourt 1 command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it generated over N18.17 billion for the first quarter of this year (Q1 2021, January to March).
Yusuf Garba, the area comptroller, said the figure is against N16.18 billion and N13.24 billion recorded in the same period of 2020 and 2019 respectively. This represents a N2 billion marginal uptick from that of 2020.
Details of the revenue collection shows that the command picked N643 billion in January, N5.03 billion and N6.71 billion in February and March respectively.
Importation of bulk cargoes into the Area 1 Port, which suffers from many years of disrepair was the major source of the revenue collection. Garba attributed the increase to the gradual return of port activities after the disruption caused by emergence of Covid-19 pandemic.
Some of the bulk cargoes berthing in the Port include bulk wheat, frozen fish, oil well supplies, bulk corn, amongst others.
Also, International Breweries Ltd (IBL), the new owner of Pabod Breweries Ltd, formerly a state-run brewer, paid in N1.16 billion in excise duties to the Area 1 Customs. This is up from N891.13 million collected from January to March last year.
No duty came from the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Port Harcourt as international flights are yet to resume at the airport.
However, comptroller Garba explained that the airport only receives the Allied Cargo Airline which mainly imports oil well equipment mostly destined for the Oil & Gas Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ), Onne, near Port Harcourt, and the repair and return of company equipment which usually attracts import duty on the value added to the equipment at the point of return.
So far, the Area 1 customs comptroller said the command has been promoting trade facilitation and anti-smuggling activities by creating an enabling environment for ease-of-doing business, as well as having regular engagement with stakeholders, especially the customs licensed agents.
He said, this has proved positive as importers and their agents have been complying with trade guidelines. He believes that the command has begun the 2021 fiscal year on a sound footing.
He appreciated the leadership of ANALCA, NAGAFF, and all other stakeholders, including and government agencies for their professionalism and cooperation.