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Customs mute on figure of businesses so far facilitated, noisy on revenue, seizures

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recently told Nigerians that it generated N1.1tn revenue and seized contraband goods worth more than N40bn between January and November, saying the total (year-on-year), is greater than the sum generated in 2017.
However, an international trade consultant, Dr. Ken Igboanugo, while assessing Customs statistics expressed worries on why the federal has not for one day, gave figures on the number of businesses it has facilitated.
Speaking to Business Hilights in Lagos weekend, Dr Igboanugo made it clear that “Though revenue generation and seizures are strategic duties of the Customs, trade facilitation remains a key statutory responsibility of Customs all over the world”.
“The Customs and Excise Management Act as amended is very clear and sacrosanct as far as trade facilitation is concerned. The Act provides that Nigerian Customs shall from time to time drive trade development by way of giving active awareness on programmes and procedures to broker businesses and raise ease of doing business so as to encourage more trade development from where it can generate revenue.
The expert decried how the Nigerian Customs has been negatively structured loss bearing in driving trade facilitation. He therefore challenged the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to equally release Customs statistics from January to November on the number of trades it has facilitated.
It would be recalled that the Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Joseph Attah, who made public the data, said the NCS in 2017, made N1.03trn, the highest revenue ever generated by the service and above that year’s set revenue target of N770bn.
Attah also disclosed that 59 containers of Tramadol and other controlled- drugs were confiscated across the commands within the period, noting that 40 containers were seized in Apapa Port, 10 in Tin Can Island Port and nine in Onne Port in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital within the period under review.
Attah said that the quantum of seizures was a testimony that the service had been able to block leakages and enforce the anti-smuggling law more effectively this year.
According to him, the strategic deployment of officers and men of the service and establishment of strike force as the third layers of security, have impacted positively on Customs’ operations.
He said, “We are aware that our insistence on compliance, arrest and prosecution of smugglers and increasing disposition of Customs officers to place national interest above self is against the interest of some people.
“With these achievements, we must have stepped on toes, and that is why some enemies go to town with misleading information by accusing the service of nepotism, non-facilitation of trade and corruption.
“It is curious that such people will choose the time when officers are turning down bribes like the case in Apapa.
“Our officers rejected N150m bribe offered by arrested suspect, to save the nation from consuming 40 containers of dangerous drugs.”
The spokesperson said that the service, charged with the responsibilities of implementing fiscal policy of the government, would not allow blackmail to deter it.
The Customs image maker maintained silence on the digital auctioning policy of the Customs which had been enmeshed in controversies since introduction by the current CG.