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Lifting ban on 41 items can realize Customs N1.1tn revenue targets in 2017–Expert

Shipping expert, Chief Dominic Ugwumba has called on the authorities of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to rethink the current ban placed on 41 items against access to forex so as to speed up importation and massive manufacturing activities of goods and services. In an interview, he said “it is only when such is done that it can be easy for the Customs to achieve the set revenue target of N1.1tn”.

“Going by the prevailing situation at ports where nothing is going on due to the ban, it will be very possible for Customs to get the target revenue at the end of the year,” Ugwunma said.

It would be recalled that it was part of efforts to keep the officers and men of the NCS on their toes in generating income for the federal government this financial year, that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, has set a target of N1.1tn for the Service.

In a statement issued by Service Public Relations Officer (PRO), Joseph Attah at the end of a strategic management meeting, the Comptroller-General charged all the area controllers to ensure strict compliance with extant laws to enable it achieve its 2017 revenue target.

Ali advised all Area Controllers to raise their game, noting that there is no place for complacency in NSC which currently plays the crucial role of revenue collection and border security.

Business Hilights recalls that Customs failed to meet 2016 target due to economic dull moments that affected the rate of importation and exports within the period under review.

The CG declared 2017 as a year of training and re-training, adding that “ignorance will not be excuse for any officer as there will be refresher courses for officers in batches this year.”

The hierarchy also charged Customs Area Controllers to step up supervisory role on their subordinates; ensure tighter border security and block revenue leakages, punish erring officers and promptly reward hardwork; and facilitate robust stakeholder engagement for mutual understanding, among others.

While harping on knowledge based service delivery, Ali declared 2017 as a year of training and re-training, stressing that “ignorance will not be excuse for any officer as there will be refresher courses for officers in batches this year.”

The strategy meeting which provided another opportunity for management members and the CACs to share experiences and map out strategies for optimum performances resolved among other things that Customs Area Controllers to step up supervisory role on their subordinates; Ensure tighter border security; Block revenue leakages; Punish erring officers and promptly reward hardwork; and Robust stakeholder engagement for mutual understanding.

Additional enquiries by our correspondent on why the new directive came up showed that the meeting was on the heels of recent seizures of 661 pump action rifles and need for reforms for the Service to reshape operational strategies.

Observers say chances of meeting the 2017 revenue target by the Customs will depend on early exit from recession and availability of forex for importers and exporters to grow their businesses.

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