Customs generate N1.562trn from import, VAT in 2020, as Reps query spate of abandoned projects

• Says reopening of 4 land borders will boost revenue by 0.5%

Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali on Thursday disclosed that the sum of N1.562 trillion from the collection of customs and excise levies, anti-smuggling activities and Value Added Tax (VAT) in 2020.

Col. Ali disclosed this during the 2020 budget performance/2021 budget defence held at the instance of the House Committee on Customs and Excise chaired by Hon. Leke Abejide, during which the lawmakers demanded for the balance of N1.5 billion unutilized fund as well as a huge number of abandoned projects dated to 2019 fiscal year.

According to the document presented to the Committee, from the total of N238.15 billion approved for the 2020 budget implementation, the sum of N124.55 billion was the actual receipt.

Breakdown of the fund showed that from the total sum of N124.55 billion received by the Service, the sum of N103.05 billion was utilized so far, out of which the sum of N85.31 billion was for personnel cost, N7.46 billion was for overhead cost while N10.28 billion was for capital expenditure.

For 2021 fiscal year, he presented the sum of N1.465 trillion as revenue target, consisting of N1.267 trillion for federation and N198 billion for non-federation revenues respectively.

According to him, from the sum of N242.45 billion revenue target for 2021, the sum of N96.94 billion is expected from 7% cost of collection; N47 billion from 60% CISS, N7.40 billion from 2% VAT share of NCS, N91.10 billion from Retained revenue.

From the expected income, the Service is expected to spend the sum of N99.72 billion (41.13%) on personnel cost, N19.53 billion (8.06%) on overhead cost and N123.20 billion (50.81%) on capital expenditure

According to him, the Service current nominal roll stands at 15,438 while 3,200 personnel are expected to be recruited.

In the bid to achieve its set target, he pledged that the Service will continue its push for the re-introduction of the abolished N1.50k per litre imposed on petroleum products in accordance with the petroleum product tax regime of 2004, as a means of expanding the revenue source of the government.

He also expressed optimism that the re-opening of the 4 land borders namely: Seme (South West), Ilela (North West), Maigatari (North West) and Mfum (South South) will improve revenue generation by 0.5% among other benefits.

According to him, some of the factors militating against Cutoms’ revenue drive, include deliberate trade and economic policies (monetary/fiscal) such as the restriction imposed on the 43 items from accessing forex at the official window; non-functional scanners at various Customs scanning sites; two commodities (cigarette and alcoholic beverages) under excise control up till December 2020; porous nation’s borders which lead to smuggling activities and long overdue extant laws of the Service such as CEMA and Legal Notices.

He however affirmed that the Service has put a number of measures in place to ensure increase revenue generation of the Service in the coming years, including the e-Customs project which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

He disclosed the e-custom project also include: the purchase of operational scanners for the nation’s ports, border surveillance equipment among others, stressing that the expectation of the service is that the reform would increase the revenue base of the service.

Other measures being put in place to increase revenue base include a review of tariff on vehicles which is aimed at reducing the smuggling of the vehicle into the country, the reintroduction of import taxes on petroleum products, expansion of excisable items, reopening of the border, CBN intervention in the purchase of functional scanners, more stakeholder collaboration, anti-smuggling drive among others.

Col Ali explained that stakeholder collaboration should be geared towards compliance with the issue of full declaration, adding that “if 75 percent of our stakeholders comply with the policy of full declaration, we will have so much revenue.”

He said that currently, the Service has about 15,439 personnel and planned to recruit 3,200 which is the number approved for it by the President since 2018 adding that out of the number to be recruited, only 800 will be graduates while the rest will be diploma holders.

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