SEIZES ARMS, AMMUNITION WITH DUTY PAID VALUE OF N28 BILLION
Despite the restrictions occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigeria Customs Service has generated a whopping revenue of N1.56 trillion for the fiscal year 2020, surpassing its N1.38 trillion target by N182 billion.
The latest revenue is higher than the figure of N1.34 trillion generated in the corresponding period of 2019.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col, Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), who commented on the improved performance, described it as a result of avowed willingness to do the right thing in the face of the new normal precipitated by the global health challenges.
Using standard operating procedure, he said the Service’s revenue profile has continued to be on the increase annually, following the ongoing reforms in the Service which considers strategic deployment of officers, stressing that the Service has also ensured automation process which has gone a long way eliminating vices associated with the manual procedure, in addition to carrying out a robust stakeholder sensitization resulting in more informed/voluntary compliance. There is also strict enforcement of extant guidelines by the Tariff and Trade Department, he added.
Col Ali also attributed the increased revenue collection from ports to the partial border closure which has forced cargoes meant to be smuggled through the porous borders to come through the sea and airports.
He said, “Before the commencement of the border drill on August 20, 2019, revenue generation was between N4bn and N5bn, but now, the NCS generates between N5bn and N9bn daily.”
He also attributed the success to the diplomatic engagements put in place during the partial land border closure, which yielded fruitful results, including commitment to comply with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit. This, he said, required the teams to share intelligence and ensure prevention of transit of prohibited goods into the neighbour’s territory.
The CG explained that the Service is now ready to strictly implement the outcome of the diplomatic engagements as the land borders open for movement of cargoes, adding that the intelligence gathered during the period as well as the introduction of the e-Customs which comprises installation of scanners at all entry points, will enhance border security and boost national trade facilitation. Pursuant to this, he said, the Ministry of Finance has already purchased three new scanners.
The CG emphasized, “Interestingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria has also expressed commitment to purchasing four scanners and establishing the control centre for monitoring all scanning sites in their bid to boost national economy, especially agricultural sector.
“This means that within the next six months, NCS will have about seven 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,”
In another development, Alli said the Service’s efforts to prevent the entry of items that could compromise the security of the citizens, economy and the well being of the people, had also resulted in the seizures of 4,304 assorted items with a duty paid value of N28.28bn
The seizures include arms, ammunition, 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.
He further stressed: “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 in order to benefit from the trade agreement and other cross border activities.”