Economy Law and Order News

Why Nigeria Customs Overshot 2020 Targets, Generated N1.54tr

…As Stakeholders Rally Customs for Better Efficiency

By JAMES EZEMA

Nigeria Customs Service generated the sum of N1,562,115,419,216.32 for the year 2020.

The Public Relations Officer of Customs, DC, Joseph Attah, in a statement signed on behalf of the Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) explained that the amount generated “is over the target of N1,380,765,353,462.00 over the sum of N1,342,006,918,504.55 generated in 2019 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Giving insights into how the feat was achieved, the Comptroller-General of Customs described it as “a result of resolute pursuit of what is right and willingness to adapt to changes brought about by global health challenges occasioned by COVID-19.”

According its spokesman, the service’s “revenue generation profile has continued to be on the rise annually as the ongoing reforms in the Service insist on: Strategic deployment of officers strictly using the standard operating procedure.

“Strict enforcement of extant guidelines by the tariff and trade department.

“Automation of the Customs process thereby eliminating vices associated with the manual process.

“Robust stakeholder sensitization resulting in more informed/voluntary compliance”, the statement noted.

The Service also attributed the feat to increased disposition of officers and men to put national interest above selves.

“The partial border closure which has forced cargoes that could have been smuggled through the porous borders to come through the sea and airports raised revenue collection from ports.

“Before the commencement of the border drill on 20th August 2019, revenue generation was between N4 billion to N5 billion but now NCS generate between N5 billion to N9 billion daily.

“Diplomatic engagements that took place during the partial land border closure yielded many positive results, including commitment to comply with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit.

“Operationalization of joint border patrols at both sides of the border.

“The teams are required to share intelligence and ensure prevention of transit of prohibited goods into the neighbor’s territory”, the statement added.

Accordingly Service expressed its readiness to strictly implement the outcome of the diplomatic engagements as the land borders open for movement of cargoes. Intelligence gathered during the period and the introduction of the e-Customs whose components include installation of scanners at all entry points will enhance border security and boost national trade facilitation.

Already, the Ministry of Finance has purchased three (3) new Scanners.

Interestingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also expressed commitment to purchasing four (4) Scanners and establish the control center for monitoring all scanning sites in their bid to boost national economy, especially agricultural sector.

By implication, within the next six (6) months, Nigeria Customs Service will have about seven (7) functional Scanners to be mounted at strategic entry points even before the full deployment of e-Customs components, which will see to the deployment of 135 modern Scanners.

According to the Customs spokesman, NCS appreciates and commends the leadership of CBN for this strategic intervention in the interest of the nation.

In the same vein, the Customs’ efforts “to prevent the entry of items that could compromise the Security of our citizens, Economy and the well being of our people resulted in the seizures of 4,304 assorted items with a duty paid value of N28,287,285,847.52.

“These seizures include arms, ammunitions, illicit drugs, used clothing, vegetable oil, frozen poultry and foreign rice among others that have grave consequences on economy security and well being of Nigerians.

“While we give assurances of total commitment to the course of protecting national security and economy, we call on Nigerians, especially the business community to support the NCS as our borders open to African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in order to benefit from the trade agreement and other cross border activities”, the statement said.

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