By Godfrey Bivbere
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Area 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Austin Warikoru has thatÂ dredging of the Port Harcourt port channelÂ is critical for increasedÂ revenue collection for the Federal Government.
Speaking with Vanguard in his office recently, Warikoru said a deeper channel would not only improve cargo throughput but would result in higher revenue accruable to government from goods brought into the country through the port by bigger vessels.
The Customs boss also disclosed that he is presently liaising with the state government and the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to ensure that the roads leading to the port areÂ repaired.
On revenue collection by the Command, he said unlike his last posting in Lagos, Port Harcourt is quieter and more peaceful but expressed worry over the low level revenue collection by the Command.
He noted that the Command has been able to collect about N14.3 billion between January and August this year while the target for the same period is N33 billion. He pointed out that only bulk cargo comprising fish and petroleum products come through the port, although some containerised cargoes are now being shipped through the Port Harcourt port.
He pointed out that with bigger containerised vessels government would get more revenue compared to the light carriers which presently call at the port. The Customs boss explained that he would strive to implement government’s policy to the letter and provide good directive to officers and men of the Command to achieve the purpose of government for the Service.
The statistics displayed on the board in his office showed that the Command collected its highest revenue in the month of August whenÂ Warikoru was redeployed there. In August, the Command collected N2,634,578,829.17.
The highest revenue raked in by the Command before Warikoru’s arrival was N2,570,421,740.46 in June, followed by N1,830,629,171.61 in July, N1,818,197,921.61 in March, N1,537,104,312.35 in May and N1,318,363,334.38 in January respectively.The lowest revenue collected by the Command during the period was in the months of February and April when it got N779,611,020.53 and N915,086,376.32 respectively.