By Favour Nnabugwu
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated a whopping sum of N2.6 trillion revenue in 2022.
The Comptroller-General (C-G) of the NCS Col Hameed Ali (rtd) disclosed this at a press conference in -Abuja, yesterday.
“The figure fell below the N3.01 trillion target for the year by about N400 billion, due to several factors, including the insecurity at the borders, especially in parts of the North where terrorists were active.
Other factors that negatively affected the revenue were: fiscal policies that granted waivers and concessions to several businesses.
Col. Ali added that the NCS has not been able to start the collection of tax on carbonated drinks, which should have raised the total collection.
He said that parts of Borno and the entire stretch from Yobe to Mubi was largely without, in addition to parts of Kastina where NCS posts were often attached.
In the South, Col. Ali identified Idiroko in Ogun State as a major insecure area for the organization, as according to him, the border town has witnessed a lot of attacks on its personnel, especially, in their anti-smuggling operations.
According to the CG, “Insecurity and fragility at the borders affect our operations. Without security, we cannot facilitate trade; there won’t be free movement of goods and that will affect government revenue.”
Speaking on the need for customs staff to be well equipped, Col Ali said, “We encounter smugglers who are armed and dangerous. We cannot work without being equipped to protect ourselves and the equipment we are using for our operations.”
He revealed that the organization was working hard to incorporate technology in monitoring the nation’s borders in order to keep smugglers in check and facilitate the movement of goods across the borders.
The Secretary –General (S-G) of the World Customs Organisation, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO), said that member nations needed to secure their borders in order to guarantee customs officers’ security and a conducive environment for trade facilitation and revenue generation.
He advocated harmonized border procedures among African nations to be able to take maximum advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The S-G commended Nigeria for hosting the Global Conference on Fragile Borders which took place from 31 January to 2 February 2023.
It brought together more than 100 representatives of Customs administrations from over 40 countries to discuss the role of their administrations in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) and the way in which the WCO could support its Members in shaping their strategies and response to the complex environments.