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N318bn waivers, concessions affected our revenue – Customs

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has stated that despite surpassing its projected target by realizing N1.34 trillion as revenue in the first quarter of 2024,…

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has stated that despite surpassing its projected target by realizing N1.34 trillion as revenue in the first quarter of 2024, its revenue was affected by N318bn granted as waivers and concessions to some companies.

Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, disclosed this on Thursday while presenting the NCS quarterly report before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance performing quarterly monitoring exercise on revenue generating agencies.

He said the NCS has a projected revenue target of N1.269bn for the first quarter of 2024, but was able to surpass the target by N77bn through diligence.

The agency has a revenue target of 5.079trn for year 2024.

Adeniyi said, “The monthly expected average revenue target stood at N423,255,822,173.79, and as shown below, the collection for January recorded a shortfall of 7.66 per cent on the target while February denoted an excess of 6.37 per cent, and the month of March equally represented a positive variance of 19.71 per cent of its respective monthly estimates.

“Aggregatory, within the first quarter of 2024, with the total projected revenue of N1,269,767,466,521.38, the sum of N1,347,705,251,658.31 was collected, which recorded a significant improvement of 6.14 per cent higher than the periodic target”.

The CG Customs informed the Committee that they performed well in revenue generation within the first quarter of 2024 by having 6.14 per cent above the periodic target.

According to him, the Customs’ contribution to the annual revenue target as of March 31, 2024, stood at 26.53 per cent, adding that trade balance was also positive at 84.58 per cent.

He said, “Cumulatively, the sum of N318,212,274,095.41 was conceded within the first quarter of 2024, and this represented 93.61 per cent of the total of N1,347,705,251,658.31 collected during the period under review.”

He stated that the NCS was not responsible for granting waivers and concessions to companies, adding that it is prerogative of the president to determine the beneficiaries.

“We should also know that each time we talk about exemptions and waivers, it is very dangerous for us to throw away the baby and the bathing water because there could be some advantage that we could get if we give incentives to people that are genuinely involved in manufacturing, provision of employment, payment of tax and increase in GDP. All I can say is that there is some level of sanity.”

Adeniyi further lamented the reduction in cargo throughput which he said has reduced compared to 2023. He blamed the development on the volatility of the exchange rate.

He added, “The volume of cargo that has been coming to our port in the first quarter has dropped by about 5.14 per cent of what we saw in 2023.”

He noted that there is need for the federal government to always involve Customs officials in determining real beneficiaries of the exemption policies.

He added, “What we are asking for is that Customs should be actively involved in the decision of who concessions are granted to. This is because we have the profile of these companies. We monitor their impacts and export so we are in a better position to advise the government on who should be genuine beneficiaries,” he said.

The Custom boss also raised concerns over the activities of cross-border smugglers, who divert Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to neighbouring countries which he said deprive Nigerians the benefits of subsidy removal.

Deputy Chairman of the committee, Sa’idu Musa Abdullahi, said the NCS would have generated more revenue for Nigeria’s consolidated revenue fund in the first quarter if there were no waivers and concessions granted to some companies.

He said, “I must encourage you to do more. I can see a man that knows his worth. But you can do well. You said your target is five trillion but you can make it six trillion and the whole country will celebrate you.

“I know you have done well with your revenue but the question is are we guided by cost-benefits principle when it comes to granting waivers and confessions… I think we need to look inward and meticulously address this issue of waivers. If we must grant waivers let there be huge benefits for the country.

 

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