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CBN adjusts exchange rate for import, export business, not Customs — Adeniyi

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By Abiodun OBA

The recent hike in the exchange rate, which recently affected import and export transactions at the ports, was done by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and not Customs.

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Bashir Adeniyi, clarified on Tuesday while speaking on Arise TV.

The Customs CG explained that due to the merger of the Forex market and its various segments by the President Bola Tinubu administration, Customs cannot independently use exchange rates without recourse to the merged Forex window.

The Customs CG further revealed that the service is considering implementing a salary review for officers very soon.

According to the Customs CG, “The new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has not made any pretensions towards the fact that it is going to take a number of very bold decisions and reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian economy.

“One of the reforms that have been undertaken in the very few days of the present administration is the merger of the Forex market and its various segments.

This has repercussions and effects on our operations.

“What this means is that we cannot use exchange rates independently. We cannot use exchange rates that are not determined or specified through these merged Forex windows.

“So what we do is just update our systems. It is not about customs reducing or increasing the exchange rate.

“We have nothing to do with whether the exchange rate goes up or down.

“We follow what is prescribed for us by the regulatory authority for monetary affairs, which is the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

On the directive by the Minister of Finance that import duty on steel and electric vehicles be removed, the Customs CG explained that “the Customs is going to implement all fiscal policies directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“There are a number of other directives meant to engineer development in the various sectors of the economy.

“One of them is the removal of 7 per cent VAT on LPG gas, amongst others. This is all part of the effort that the government is taking to revive our economy, and Customs, as an agency of the government, has no choice but to implement and also communicate this to Nigerians to make people understand the rationale behind such policies.”

On officers who put their lives on the line to ensure the nation’s borders are secured, the Customs CG stated that “attending to the welfare issues of officers was one of the first things I did when I became Comptroller General.

“When we talk about welfare, we are talking about what the take-home pay of officers will be and also ensuring prompt payment of allowances.

“Also, making provisions for insurance cover for those that come to any form of injury while discharging their official duty is critical to officer welfare, and most importantly, career progression also comes under officer welfare.

“This and others, we have made very conscious attempts as CG of Customs alongside my management to ensure all is done.

“If you talk about motivation through career development, we have organised massive capacity programmes both locally and internationally.

“In the second half of 2023, we had over 6,000 Customs officers that went for different capacity programmes at home and abroad.

“The promotion exercise that we used to roll over into the third, fourth, or sixth month, we ensured we started it in the third quarter of 2023, and by the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, the promotion exercise had been completed.

Over 2,400 Customs officers benefited from that promotion exercise. These are some of the ways we think we can motivate our officers.

“In 2024, we have the target to generate N5.1 trillion. This is doable. We believe if we motivate our officers more, we will achieve our target.

“The last salary review we had was over four or five years ago. I think we are due for another salary review. We will soon be taking a second look at some of the allowances that officers have been taking to do their jobs and also at some of the exit packages for officers who are retiring.

“I believe in all of this; we have the cooperation of the Honourable Minister of Finance, who has openly expressed support for these initiatives.

He is the Chairman of the Customs Board and we have a very good understanding with them and also the various National Assembly Committees that oversee our mandate.”

 

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