The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed commitment to end petroleum products smuggling in 2024.
The Comptroller General (C-G) of NCS, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, also said that the service would block all attempts to smuggle weapons and other contraband into the country.
Adeniyi made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, at a news conference on the NCS activities in 2023.
“Our zero approach towards smuggling, especially that of petroleum products out of the country – rice, arms and ammunition would be rigorously enforced.
“We remain resolute on addressing border management challenges, balancing security concerns with trade facilitation,“ he said.
Adeniyi added that the NCS had conducted vigorous campaign against smuggling and illicit trade in 2023 which resulted in 3,806 seizures of illicit items, including artifacts, antiquities, drugs, food products, and endangered species of flora and fauna, among others.
“Remarkably, we also achieved during this period, a total of 52 convictions, 11 of them specifically linked to illicit trade in animal wildlife.
“This is also a record performance through diligent prosecution of our cases and the successful conviction of some of those criminals that were apprehended,“ the C-G said.
Adeniyi said that the service would continue to sanitise trade activities and strengthen its anti-smuggling strategies, as part of efforts to achieve its 2024 revenue target of N5.7 trillion.
He announced that the service in 2023 generated N3.2 trillion, the highest ever recorded in the history of the NCS.
According to him, this represents 21.4 per cent increase in the revenue generated compared to the same period in 2022.
He explained that their 2023 performance was remarkable given the fact that the NCS recorded revenue shortfall of N532 billion in the first half of 2023.
He however said that the service still has operational challenges in the area of inadequate infrastructure, delay in policy implementation, social and political factors.
Adeniyi explained that measures such as the establishment of a revenue recovery team, streamlining of enforcement operations and extensive stakeholders engagement were being taken to reverse the operational challenges.
The C-G pledged that the service services would adopt innovative measures and deploy technology in its operations to align with global best practices.
He added that they would revamp the electronic auction platform for more robust operations, prevent infiltration by hackers, and ensure transparency and efficiency.
Adeniyi added that one of NCS strategy in 2024 would be to provide continuous update of the exchange rate to guide personnel in ensuring optimal revenue generation, and adapting to changes in the operating environment.