The Organised Private Sector (OPS) as well as clearing agents operating in the nation’s maritime industry have identified scarcity of foreign exchange, drop in importation, waiver clauses among others, as reasons the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) could not meet the N3.1 trillion revenue target given to the service by the federal government last year.
The stakeholders noted that the country’s economy has been struggling, explaining that revenue collected by the Customs is a function of the health of the nation’s economy.
Recall that the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) had disclosed that the service had a shortfall of over N4 billion out of the N3.1 trillion target given to the service by the federal government.
Reacting to the drop in revenue, the Chief Executive Officer, Center for Promotion of Private Enterprises (CPPE); Dr. Muda Yusuf blamed the significant drop in importation, and the struggling nation’s economy as factors that affected the Customs revenue.
He stated that the scarcity of foreign exchange further compounded the woes that affected the revenue of the service.
He said: “We need to be sure the target itself is realistic, but more importantly is the fact that the economy has been struggling and you know Customs revenue is a function of imports largely, and import is a function of the health of the economy.
“The economy is a function of the exchange rate, while the exchange rate is a function of access to foreign exchange, so all of those things are the major challenges that have affected trade in the last one year.
“To the extent that people have challenges around those factors affecting trade, which naturally would reflect in Customs revenue. I think it has a lot more to do with the economy, with our foreign exchange policy and the growth and performance of some key sectors of the economy. All these elements affect trade and trade affects revenue”.
Speaking on whether or not the federal government should continue to set revenue for the Customs, he said, “in an organisation or in any system, there is always a target to drive performance; no matter what you do, there must be some ways to measure, but we need to be careful so that we don’t completely neglect the trade facilitation role of the NCS, because there is so much emphasis on revenue and revenue target, nobody is talking about how well the Customs is facilitating trade and for those of us in the business community that is very important”.
Speaking also, the Vice President Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Lagos Zone, Chief John Aluya also blamed the drop in importation and the scarcity of foreign exchange for the drop in Customs revenue.
He said “The drop is a function of the amount of imports coming into the country, also scarcity of forex affects imports and when there is a drop in imports, it will affect revenue” he said.
Similarly, the President Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (ARFFN) and member governing council of Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN); Bala Daura blamed granting of waivers and concession to some organisations as well as drop in importation, as reasons behind the revenue shortfall.
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