Warri Port is Safe – Customs Boss

Says, “there are assurances for safety at Warri Port”.

Credits: The Nation Newspaper

The Customs Area Controller of the Edo/Delta Command, Olaniyi Alajogun, has confirmed that there are no security issues in the Warri/Delta ports. He made this known in an interview with the Nation Newspaper’s BOLAJI OGUNDELE recently which was made available to us.

Excerpts of the interview are –

What is your revenue target for this year?
Our monthly revenue target, as a command, is N1.5 billion and this will give you about N18 billion a year.

From January till date, how close are you to your target?

From the figures we have now, we must have done beyond 50 per cent of our target for the year. In April, we got about N1.7 billion. In May, we realised N2.3 billion and on June 23, we also netted in N2.3 billion.

People plan their businesses for the entire year from the first three months of the year; waiting for what the government policies will look like and all that. However, we still got a little bit close to the N1.5 billion mark. The little losses we experienced in the first few months of the year had been covered in April, May and June.

Revenue for January-June last year is N6, 867,808,602.87 while the corresponding period for this year is N10, 086,545,252. We had an increment of N3, 218,736,649.2

What accounted for the improvement in April, May and June is the deployment of professionalism in our operations. We try as much as possible to ensure that all the revenue that is accruable to government comes to it. There is due diligence in everything we do, even as we ensure that we get maximum results.

How do ensure that you meet your target?

We meet our targets by ensuring that all loopholes are plugged to guarantee that all the revenue accruable to government are realised. We hope to see a situation where cargo inputs will increase because from the feelers we are getting, more people are interested in using this seaport considering the issues they are having with Lagos port. Though that has not started yet, we are hopeful that before the year runs out, there will be an improvement in cargo inputs.

Have you met your expectations in the efforts made so far to make the seaport workable?

Not really, but on the part of government, I think they have it at the back of their mind that this port must work. For example, on the issues of dredging, the contract has already been awarded and work is ongoing. So, until that is done, we cannot say there is any improvement. But we are happy that the work is ongoing. Definitely when that is done, more sea vessels will be coming.

Vessels have not started using this port, but the issue of proliferation of arms is becoming worrisome. What are security agencies doing about the issue?

We are not unaware that criminals who engage in these criminal activities would want to use this port to carry out their activities considering the fact that Lagos ports have become uncomfortable for them.

For the reason, we try as much as possible to make sure that there is 100 per cent inspection of the little cargoes that are coming here. So, anyone thinking of using this port to carry out his criminal activities is just taking an undue risk because we make sure that we carry out 100 per cent examination; nothing is left unchecked.

One of the phenomenal problems experienced in the port was that of insecurity. What is the Customs Service doing to assure people that the personnel could be trusted?

For now the port is relatively peaceful and there have always been assurances by the Customs and even the Federal and state governments concerning their commitment to the security of lives and properties. The state government has taken it upon itself to talk to the educators of youths and community that anytime the port comes alive, the issue of harassment of importers will not be tolerated.

By and large, I think they are coming to terms with the fact that it is for their own interest that the port should function. So, the issue is insecurity is relatively tackled. On the part of security agencies, I think we all know the kind of government that we have now. The Federal Government has zero-tolerance for corruption and nobody wants to get into trouble. I think everybody wants to do the job the way it is supposed to be done and get the economy moving.

We no longer experience the Lagos kind of traffic in the port. Are you optimistic that, sooner than later, this port will be able to generate as much as Lagos port?

Why not? The indices for generating high revenue are nothing but high cargo movement. If the port becomes functional and with its location close to the Southeast where we have a lot of businesses, there are hopes that we will have high revenue in the near future. This is because I do not see any reason why a businessman in the Southeast will still want to go to Lagos to do his business when the Warri Port is working. It does not make sense to me

Story first appeared on the Nation Newspaper

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