By Foster Obi
Timi Bomodi is the Customs Area Controller of the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal located near Mile 2, Lagos. He was redeployed from the headquarters Abuja as the national image maker to take over the command after he was promoted as a comptroller.
Prior to this, he has held various positions in the Service and performed creditably.
In this interview with DFC news, he highlighted his plans to turnaround the command, he underlined the strategic location of the command and easy accessibility in moving goods and why importers and agents should take advantage of this to grow their business.
Bomodi, a very amiable, accommodating but highly focused officer also spoke on the need for professionalism and officers growth as they strive to increase revenue.
The excerpts below:
Sir how has the experience been since you assumed your new position?
It has been a mixed bag. I came to Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) command in February. I came prepared for the challenges one likely finds in a place like this. I must say I met the officers, everybody ready to play their own part. In a meeting with other government agencies, I informed them of what my mandate is and what I intended hopefully to achieve within the time I will be superintending over the affairs of the command.
The feedback I got was very positive and I have been assured that everybody will be on board, to work as one team to achieve the goals we have set out for ourselves as individuals and government agencies.
For me the major goal is collection of revenue and facilitation of trade as well as implementation of the fiscal policies of the government.
You were the image maker, having been in the public relations department for a longtime, now you are at the terminal, how do you intend to cope with the operations?
There is nothing new in customs job, it is a job I have done for over 30 years of my life so there is nothing new in customs. We are all operations officers, working in the public relations department is just one of the things we are called upon to do. Operationally it is just having the required knowledge, for such operations, procedures and processes and being able to implement policies of government. So there is nothing new. We have always done this, there is nothing new about it .
Your 1st quarter revenue in the command showed you maxed N10.57b in revenue which is quite lower compared with this same period last year. What is responsible for this?
Yes, for lots of reasons, some of which I highlighted in my first quarter report being that the first quarter was marked with a lot of activities, one of which was the elections. We know the kind of strain it put on all activities both economic, social and otherwise and we also had the change in naira, the monetary policy by the Federal government. We all are witnesses to the kind of impact it had on the economy. It had it’s own impact on us too.
Again, in every election year, there are anticipations, both from the business community and the populace in general. They all anticipate economic changes and this informs their buying decisions, what to trade in or not. And that is what we are experiencing. It is not something unique to KLT, it is virtually in all commands. We hope to see an upbeat in business when the new administration comes in, we believe there will be a change and increase in revenue collection in the command.
What obstacles are you experiencing in the terminal so far and how do you intend to navigate through it?
The biggest challenge we have in KLT is underutilization of capacity. KLT as I shared in my report is capable to handle 6000 20 ft equivalent unit boxes, over 6000. We are not doing up to 600. That is below 10percent and this is not good because I tell people we are strategically placed, we are strategically located. The location allows easy access and quick exit in and out of the Port. No other Port, not even Apapa or Tincan has the advantage we have in terms of access to the Port, and I feel that that information is not being made known as it should. People should be aware that this command exist and we have all the facilities that are present in all commands to expedite the clearance process from the angle of customs and again there are no impediments in the case of moving goods into the port for export or out of the port in case of imported items.
We believe that once this information gets out, we will begin to see more importers and exporters embracing KLT as a destination of choice for their business dealings.
What do you intend to achieve in this command before you leave?
Every area controller wants to leave his mark. We want to see definite transformations in, not just in revenue but also in the hearts and minds of officers that we work with. We want to see our officers embrace professionalism and imbibe it as a culture in their day to day activities. Very importantly we want to see increase in revenue from where we are now to hopefully where we will like to be. We want to bequeath a legacy of excellence to our people, KLT, as I said as a destination of choice an active competitor with the major ports in Lagos. We cannot overemphasize the strategic importance of location. Once importers and agents begin to use our facilities in KLT you will begin to see the spill over effect even on consumers. The lower the cost of taking goods from the port, the lower the lower the cost of doing business and the lower the cost of doing business, the lower the price of goods in the market.
What would you consider as your biggest challenge as the national public relations officer?
I am no longer there, I can’t put my hands on any challenge. The challenge or challenges came in various forms and shapes. Well the biggest challenge to me was adapting myself to each of these scenarios to represent the service in the best way I could. That is what I consider as the greatest challenge.