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‘Giving revenue targets to closed land border Customs commands corruptive’

A serious issue of policy confusion has emerged in the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), following last week’s circular giving revenue targets to all formations including those at the land borders which had been under locks and keys since August 2019.

Fact checks showed that earlier speculations before the end of 2019 on the reopening of closed land borders showed that the January 31st 2020 proposed date to reopen the borders has lapsed without a word from the government on border reopening.

But the circular number 04 T&T/2020 titled “Distribution of 2020 Fiscal Year Revenue Target to Area Commands” signed by DCG T.M. Isa of Tariff & Trade on behalf of the Comptroller General, said “The CGC has graciously approved revenue generation targets for Area Commands which was arrived at based on Command peculiarities.

I am therefore directed to escalate to all Area Commands for immediate implementation”.

Recall that earlier than now, the NCS had given itself the target of N2 Trillion for the year 2020 with a monthly target of N166,666,666,666.67, weekly target of N41,666,666,666,.67 and daily target of N5,952,380,952.38.

The breakdown of the N2 Trillion revenue target endorsed by the Comptroller General of the Service, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) for the 2020 fiscal year by the Customs did not exclude commands at closed land borders, thus giving rise to suspicion and high corruptive tendency as to how the land border commands will meet their given targets.

Otherwise, all the Customs 36 Commands, Units and Formations across the country were contained in a circular dated 10th February 2020 addressed to all Area Controllers, FOUs and other formations in the Service.

According to the breakdown, Seme border command which has been closed for business since August 2019 is given a daily target of N157,014,169.49.

Its monthly and year target is N628,056,679.98 and N7,536,680,135.73 respectively.

While, Ogun 1 (Idiroko) border is also given a daily target of N2,875,000, monthly target of N11,500,000 and N138,000,000 is the Command’s total target for 2020.

Already the Month of January is gone without the commands collection of any revenue.

Other commands like Borno/ Yobe, Adamwa and Katsina which have prominent borders like Jibya,Banki, Gamburu etc and which has long been shut due to Insurgents activities were also given revenue targets. Borno/ Yobe command is given N225,750,992.13.

Lead question Customs CG should answer borders on how land borders could meet up their targets considering the continued closure of land borders.

Already checks at the Seme border showed that over 2000 trucks of both inward and outward bound goods trapped since August had remained stranded till date.

However, some analysts are interpreting the import of the latest circular to Customs formation to suggest apparent readiness of the Federal Government to reopen land borders sooner than later.