Customs identifies factors hampering revenue generation


By Abiodun OBA


Import of goods under the common external tariff, import duty exemption certificate, uncertainties and anxieties are some of the factors that contributed to the inability of the Nigeria Customs Service to meet its revenue target of N3.67trn for 2023.

NCS Comptroller General Bashir Adeniyi, told members of the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise on Wednesday.

Adeniyi who appeared before the committee accompanied by top officials of the NCS told the lawmakers 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 NCS DG is optimistic that all things being equal, men and officers of the NCS will work diligently to generate N5.08trn for the nation in 2024.

He said, “In 2023, the revenue target for the service was N3.67tran and remarkably, the service collected a total revenue of N3.21trn from January to December 2023.

“When we compare what we collected in 2023 to what was projected as our targets, there was a negative variance of N462.9 bn, which represents 12.62 per cent of what was approved as revenue targets.

“Though we didn’t achieve what we projected, but we want to say with all sense of modesty that we did our best. And when we consider all factors, we will appreciate the fact that we at NCS did the best we could.

“One of the factors was the huge import of goods under Chapter 99 of the common external tariff, which resulted in a revenue loss of over N2trn. When we compare this to the total revenue that we had, that was a whopping 63.35 per cent of our total revenue collection.

“Also, revenue due to import duty exemption certificates and other statutory provisions for the year (2023) was also in the region of N1.8 trn which was about 58.52 per cent of the total revenue generated. Cargo throughput dropped from 17.2 per cent to 15 2 per cent during the year.

“For 2024 fiscal year, this target stands at 5.079 trillion and this consists of 3.423 trn in federation accounts, N554.35 bn for non-federation accounts, and N1.101 trn for import Value Added Tax.

“When we compare what was targeted in 2023 and 2024, this year’s target is higher by N1.41 trn or approximately 27.75 per cent over the 2023 budget.

The NCS boss positively identified some key assumptions he said would assist the service in meeting its financial targets for 2024.

“We are hoping that the 2024 fiscal policy measure would be rolled out in good time so that it would help the implementation.

“The second is tied to the issue of national single window. The project which has lingered on for quite some time is now being pursued very vigorously for better process ammonisation and standardisation. The inauguration of the steering committee has been approved by Mr President, and I’m very sure in the next few days, the steering committee will be inaugurated.

“The third driver is the introduction of the Vehicle Registration System and the Vehicle Identification Number valuation application, which has a huge potential for reducing undervaluation and vehicle tax evasion, thereby improving our revenue collection.”

Adeniyi also told the committee that NCS proposed a budget expenditure of N706.43bn in the 2024 fiscal year.

This sum, he noted would be sourced from multiple avenues, saying “We hope to start the implementation of drawing from the 4 percent Free On Board in 2024 and from this source, we expect an inflow of N623.83 bn.

“From a 2% VAT share for NCS, we project N22.02 bn. The last is funds that we are rolling over from ongoing capital projects, amounting to a total of N60.58 bn. This will give us a total of N706.43bn.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Leke Abejide pledged the readiness of the lawmakers to help reposition the NCS in its task of realizing its revenue target for the nation.

He charged the NCS boss to prioritise e-customs and the integration of Artificial Intelligence in manning the nation’s border stations.

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