The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has urged customs agents to put more efforts in order to boost the country’s export profile.
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, made the appeal while addressing protesting agents at the Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Ltd.Terminal, at Tincan Island, on Friday in Lagos.
The customs brokers under the aegis of the Association Concerned Freight Forwarders had protested against the recent increment in the payment of import duties.
Addressing the agents, Adeniyi decried overwhelming reliance on importation in the country.
He said that boosting the country’ s export profile was the only way of bringing foreign exchange to the economy.
“I have gone round the terminal and it is not what it used to be, it is practically empty. The vehicles that are there are not the type that we used to see in those days.
“Most of the vehicles I saw here are accidented vehicles and there are so many implications for this.
“For us, it is paining us because we are not going to get any revenue from it, our revenue this year is N3.6 trillion and we cannot achieve that amount with what we are seeing here.
“And the situation here is not different from other places, and for you, I also know the implication,” he said.
Adeniyi said he was not aware of an increase in customs duty as speculated by the agents.
He, however, blamed the change in exchange rate as the reason for the increment in duty.
“The question you ask yourself is, why is customs import duty high? Has anything changed? The duty has not changed, the amount you buy has not changed, and the insurance has not changed.
“We should stop deceiving ourselves, we know what has changed, it is the exchange rate,” Adewale said.
He called for a deliberate effort by everyone to change the narrative.
“Trade is evolving and we should benefit from international trade, we should not only be bringing in, we need to learn how to export to the rest of the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Acting Comptroller-General of the Service in Abeokuta, Ogun state assured of the service’s commitment to ending the indiscriminate dumping of goods in the country.
Adeniyi, at a news conference, emphasised the need for more commitment on the service’s part to curb illegal activities of smugglers.
He said this was necessary as the smugglers’ act prevented the country from generating adequate revenue to run the nation.
“We want to increase the nation’s revenue generation and work with relevant agencies, especially the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
“We are committed to checking the influx of illicit goods and make the society safer for Nigerians,” the Customs Comptroller-General said.
Adeniyi warned smugglers to desist from their activities which would in the long run affect the country’s economy.
He then appealed to Nigerians to patronise locally-produced goods in order to boost the nation’s currency and make industries to grow.
“Let us begin to cultivate a likeness to what we produce and look inward, to save our local industries and boost employment generation in the country.”
Adeniyi further urged local communities to support the NCS in the fight against smugglers by providing vital information.