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Ali fails to hit 2016 target of N2tn, generates over N600bn

Contrary to his entry promises and assurances that his anti corruption drive and sanitation of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) will jerk up 2016 revenue generation to about N2tn, the Comptroller-General of NCS, Hameed Ali, has said though the service generated more than N600 billion by the last quarter of 2016, all earnings this year failed to hit main target.

He traced the failure to drop in shipping activities caused by forex crisis and recession.

Addressing newsmen on the sidelines of the 136th meeting of the Joint Tax Board in Abuja, he said Customs contributed N903 billion to the nation’s coffers in 2015 before his appointment.

But 2016 drop is due to the fluctuating foreign exchange rates and the ban on importation of more items by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“There are 41 items banned from importation; among them are soap and cosmetics, tomatoes/tomato pastes, plywood boards and panels, wooden doors, rice, cement, margarine and toothpicks.

“The service made more than N600 billion in (by) the last quarter of 2016.

“I will not say it regrets but the CBN should have liaised with the Service before placing ban on some of the items.”

According to him, the collaboration between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and NCS would boost income and shift the nation’s view from oil.

“With the declining revenue from the oil industry, our economy is dangerously exposed to the uncertainties in the oil sector.

“We must therefore look beyond oil and focus attention on tax which is internally generated.

“As revenue generating agencies, working together will put us squarely on the driving seat of Nigeria’s vehicle towards an economic model that is inward looking and self sustaining.”

Customs boss claimed that his application of modern tools to check corruption in customs has minimised leakages, stressing that a review and expansion of excise duties were being looked into for locally manufactured items, to expand government’s tax base to generate more revenue.