2019 budget: Customs revenue hits N1.125trn in 10 months ― Report

• Targets N1.679 in 2020

A whooping sum of N1.125 trillion has so far been realized by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) between January and October 2019.

This was contained in the executive summary of the proposed 2020 budget presented by NCS Comptroller General, Col. Hammed Ali, to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Customs and exclusively obtained by Tribune Online.

Breakdown of the accrued revenue include: N918.04 billion revenue and the total sum of N207.19 billion Value Added Tax (VAT) on imports collected during the period under review.

As stipulated in the17-page report, the revenue realized so far was N131.84 billion or 16.77% higher than total revenue realized in October 2018.

According to the report, Customs which remains the second-highest revenue-generating agency is expected to generate the sum of N1.679 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year.

This represents N741.43 billion or 44.17% above the overall 2019 revenue profile of N1.357 trillion including Value Added Tax (VAT).

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Some of the challenges faced by Customs in the discharge of its statutory functions include: Fiscal/monetary policy restriction imposed on 43 items from accessing forex at official window rate; non-functional scanners at various sites; porous borders which encourages smuggling activities as well placement of only two commodities (cigarettes and alcoholic beverages) under Excise control till date.

Col. Ali who expressed concern over the inadequacies in the Customs laws, observed that: “The extant laws of the Service such as CEMA and Legal Notices are long overdue for review. Relatively, the rules and regulation in these operational guidelines no longer meet modern day challenges and thus, reduces measurably, the accruing revenue against the volume of trade.”

On the expenditure details, while stressing that the sum of N145.48 billion approved for 2019, Col. Ali observed that the sum of N102.58 billion or 70.51% was the actual receipt as total inflows while the estimated sum of N32.85 billion is expected as inflow for November and December 2019, totalling N135.43 billion.

From the above receipts, Customs utilized the sum of N72.57 billion Customs expenditure for the year 2019 shows that: the sum of N3. 40 billion was for personnel, N6.14 billion for overhead cost while N3.03 billion was for capital cost over the past 10 months, leaving an outstanding sum of N20.91 billion recurrent and capital expenditure for November and December 2019.

In the bid to achieve the proposed revenue for 2020, Col. Ali called for a downward review of tariff imposed duty on imported vehicles at 35%, while the levy is reduced from 35% to between 5 and 10%.

He, however, stressed the need for the reintroduction of import taxes on Petroleum products.

According to the Customs helmsman: “the Petroleum product tax regime of 2004 before its suspension imposed N1.50k per litre on petroleum products. It is the considered opinion of the Service that this tax regime be re-introduced in line with international best practices as is currently operational in over 36 countries of the world at an average of $2.24 per gallon.”

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