Customs Defies COVID-19 Obstacles, Generates N1.5trn Revenue

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Despite COVID-19 obstruction, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated the sum of N1,562,115,419,216. 32 in the 2020 fiscal year The amount surpassed N1,380,765,353,462 target given the Service and the over N1,342,006,918,504. 55 generated in 2019. Customs’ Chief Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, confirmed the figure yesterday in a statement. Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), commended the Service for the achievement. An elated Ali attributed the feat to “resolute pursuit of what is right and willingness to adapt to changes brought about by global health challenges occasioned by COVID-19. ” The service revenue generation profile has continued to be on the rise yearly as the on-going 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. Other reforms initiated by the Service include robust stakeholder sensitization, resulting in more informed/voluntary compliance and increased disposition of officers and men to put national interest above selves. The partial border closure, which forced cargoes that could have been smuggled through the porous borders to come through the sea and airports, raised revenue collection from the ports. Before the commencement of the border drill on August 20, 2019, revenue generation was between N4 billion and N5 billion, but now, NCS generates between N5 billion and 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 neighbour’s territory. Accordingly, the 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 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 new scanners. Interestingly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also expressed commitment to purchasing four scanners and establish 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. Also, the Service’s efforts to prevent the entry of items that could compromise the security of citizens, economy and the well-being of Nigerians resulted in the seizures of 4,304 assorted items with a duty paid value of N28,287,285,847. 52. These seizures include arms, ammunition, illicit drugs, used clothing, vegetable oil, frozen poultry and foreign rice, among others, that have grave consequences on the economy, security and well-being of Nigerians.

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