Headlines Customs CG makes case for importers over Duty increase, spot FX rate adoption By maritimemag February 6, 2024 ShareTweet 0 By Abiodun OBA The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, has made case for stakeholders in the blue economy over the unstable naira exchange rate especially the Duty increase, spot FX rate adoption. Adeniye made the argument on Monday during a crucial meeting with Senate Committee on Customs. Adeniyi who said he was pained by the volatility in the exchange rate regime, expressed, “In fact, 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. The CG, NCS 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. He said the approval is given they could say that within a window, say within 3 months, if you are in possession of vehicles that were illegally imported into the country or that have not paid duties, you have this opportunity to go to Customs House for assessment and payment of duties. This he said will be done after adequate publicity so that those who find themselves in such a situation can get their vehicles regularise through payment of duties. Earlier, the Senate alerted the NCS that the N5.079tn 2024 revenue target of the agency will be reviewed upwards from the second half of the year to save the country from further borrowings. Only last Wednesday, the Comptroller General of the NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, told members of the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise that the service generated a total sum of N3.21 trn in the year 2023, He added that though the service targeted the sum of N3.67trn in the outgone year, it was only able to generate N3.21trn owing to a combination of factors. However, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Isah Jibrin, stated the committee expected the service to play a major role in reducing the country’s debt burden hence their revenue review. He said, “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 minimize additional loans we are going to take. Customs is in a very good position, if they are able to block all perceived leakages, they should be able to generate a significant amount of income that will enable Nigeria to get out of debt, at least partially. On concessions given to some sectors of the economy for example, agriculture, the Kogi East senator said it is for those who are into agricultural services, those who are into solid minerals, and those whose services have a direct impact on the economy. “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. Talking about the rate of unemployment in Nigeria, which he described as “very high”, Senator 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 1,600 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. © 2024, maritimemag. All rights reserved.