Senate to increase revenue target of Customs

Sharon EboesomiFebruary 6, 20245 min

Jibrin says the move to internally generate revenue from the Nigerian Customs is due to Nigeria’s debt crises.

Senate set to increase revenue target of the Customs

The  Senate has disclosed its intention to review upwards the N5.079 trillion 2024 revenue target of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) from the second half of the year to save the country from further borrowings.

This was revealed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Isah Jibrin (APC, Kogi East) Monday at a crucial meeting with the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service NCS, Adewale Adeniyi and top management of the revenue agency.

According to him, “First of all, Nigeria is saddled with a lot of debt obligations and we need to wriggle ourselves out of that trap and one of the ways to do that is internally generated revenue.  Customs is one of the major providers of internally generated revenue and as it is today, we expect them to play one of the major roles in this drive to reduce our debt burden.

“We need to pay off what we owe now and minimise additional loans we are going to take. Customs is in a very good position, if they can block all perceived leakages, they should be able to generate a significant amount of income that will enable Nigeria get out  of debt, at least partially,” he added

READ ALSO: Customs blame naira redesign, 2023 elections for low revenue generation

Speaking further at the meeting, he said, “If somebody is bringing agricultural equipment into the economy and you try to take something out of that person in a way of import duty, that will discourage the person and that is what we are saying.  It is not that anybody took that money or custom compromised in the course of their services.

“Concessions were in the interest of Nigeria to encourage importers who are going into specific areas in the economy.  There is a trade-off here between importers and the country, particularly the things you think you are generating.”

Addressing the increased rate of unemployment in Nigeria, Jibrin said “Customs is not the only employer of Labour.  They can only employ the number they believe they can adequately take care of and we are putting them under pressure to exceed the 1,600 benchmark.  

“We may not get beyond 2000, but for sure, we will get 1,6000 and like we all know, there are so many unemployed Nigerians out there, I will always say, it is difficult for the Nigeria Customs Service to absorb all unemployed Nigerians, but they can only employ those they can.”

Answering questions from the lawmakers, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service NCS, Adewale Adeniyi also disclosed that the service is seeking approval from the government to allow them to give waivers to owners of smuggled cars to allow them to regularise their payment of Customs duties. On the naira exchange rate, Adeniyi said he is equally pained by the volatility in the exchange rate regime. 

“Even if it stays high and people can predict that this is what it will take me to clear, perhaps it is not particularly too bad, but when it is so volatile, today it is X, tomorrow it is X+10, X+20, it does not make for adequate planning and things like that.

“Correctly, it is the mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to fix the rate, either the one we use during Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF or the one we use for importation or the one used for payment of Customs duties. I have been in discussions with my minister. Perhaps, what you are going to advocate is that there would be a meeting point between authorities of government that are in charge of monetary policy and those in charge of fiscal policies.

“Personally, what I think we can do is to get a spot rate for some time. We can agree that for Q, Y 2024 this will be the spot rate for payment of Customs duties; we could say for the first half of the year,” he said.

Sharon Eboesomi

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