By Babajide Okeowo
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS generated about N1.56 trillion in 2020 surpassing its initial target of N1.38 trillion by N181.35 billion.
This was made possible due to the “resolute pursuit of what is right and willingness to adapt to changes brought about by global health challenges occasioned by COVID-19”.
This is even as the service further testified that the recent border closure and security drills at the borders helped to boost daily collections from N5 billion to currently N9 billion.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col, Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), made this known in a statement by Customs National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah.
“Before the commencement of the border drill on August 20, 2019, revenue generation was between N4 billion to N5 billion but now NCS generate between N5 billion to N9 billion daily, the statement said.
The NCS also commended the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the strategic intervention in the interest of the country.
The statement added that within the next six months, NCS would 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.
“Already Ministry of Finance has purchased three new Scanners. Interestingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also expressed commitment to purchasing four scanners and establish the control center for monitoring all scanning sites in their bid to boost the national economy, especially agricultural sector,” it stated.
The service also called on Nigerians, especially the business community to support the customs as the country’s borders are reopened to African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which took off on January 1, 2021 – in order to benefit from the trade agreement and other cross border activities.
Attah, however, pointed out that the service efforts to prevent the entry of items that could compromise the security and well-being of Nigerians and the economy had resulted in the seizures of 4,304 assorted items with a duty paid value of N28.28 billion.
According to him, the confiscations included arms, ammunition, illicit drugs, used clothing, vegetable oil, frozen poultry, and foreign rice among others which had “grave consequences on economic security and well-being of Nigerians.”
He further attributed the revenue performance to the 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 as well as robust stakeholder sensitization resulting in more informed/voluntary compliance among others.
He said the partial border closure which had forced cargoes that could have been smuggled through the porous borders to come through the sea and airports further boosted revenue collection from ports.
He said diplomatic engagements that took place during the partial land border closure yielded many positive results, including the commitment to comply with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit and operationalization of joint border patrols at both sides of the border.
He said: “The teams are required to share intelligence and ensure prevention of transit of prohibited goods into the neighbor’s territory. Accordingly, the service wishes to express its readiness to strictly implement the outcome of the diplomatic engagements as the land borders open for the movement of cargoes.