As the year gradually winds up with less than 6 weeks to go and given the drop in volume of imports into the country, there are strong indications that the Nigeria Customs Service may not be able to realize its N1trillion target.
It is often expected that as the yuletide season approaches, level of activities and import volume into the country will increase but the reverse has been the case this year due to the Central Bank monetary policies including the restriction of access to foreign exchange.
Cargo throughput at the various terminals operating under the two major seaports in Lagos- Apapa and Tin can Island port which used to be a beehive of activities have been reduced to almost a ghost town due to the dwindling import volume with bonded terminals 80 percent unoccupied.
To this end, some maritime industry stakeholders have predicted further drop in Customs revenue generation.
They said in spite of the increase in exchange rate which saw the Service recording an increase in revenue generation to the tune of N557billion between January and August 2016, the general economic recession in the country which has drastically affected import volume will affects the NCS revenue generation
Recalled that he total revenue generated by the Service between January and August 2016 stands at N557,083,996,324.16.
The summary of the monthly revenue figure showed that revenue collection jumped from N75.6 billion in July to N95.7billion in August.
In June, the service said it collected N72.7billion, May N57.3, April N57.3 billion, March 61.2billion , February N62.8 billion and N74.3billion in January, according to the summary obtained by the Nation from the corporate headquarters in Abuja, on Thursday, September 15.
The total import duty in cash in the eight months under review was N286.7billion, while the total Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC)in non-cash receipt was N203 billion.
In the period under review, the NCS said that it collected N28 billion from excise duty, N1.1 billion fees, and recorded N57.9billion federation account levies.
The NCS noted that its non-federation accounts levies in the period was N73.3billion while its Value Added Tax (VAT) was N109 billion.
Public Relations Officer of the Service Wale Adeniyi had noted that the rise in revenue was due to the new forex exchange regime following a review from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that the Service applied in its duty collection.
Speaking on the issue, National President, Association of Registered Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (AREFFN), Dr Frank Ukor said the decline in the revenue of Customs was as a result of policies of the federal government.
He said from all indications, the revenue will decline because there has not been a change in any of the unfavourable policies put in place by the government.
He said import volume has become lower and terminals have been lying idle because of low activities at the ports.
“Government caused the whole thing by the policies they rolled out. The number of people that bring in goods had gone down because of the restrictions to foreign exchange.
“Level of import into the country has gone down, the terminal are empty. It is when containers come in that customs can generate revenue. But government through its policies make it difficult for people to get foreign exchange. It is the after effect of the policy that we are witnessing,” he said.
“Govt should give equal opportunity to everyone who wants to bring in good because we are import dependent. Nigeria does not produce anything in the country so the government should change its forex policy,” he stated.
Speaking in the same vein, National Publicity Secretary, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto projected that the revenue will dropped further in the coming months because import duty volume into the country has continued to go down.
“Import has dropped and everyone knows. Also, banks are not giving loan and manufacturers have not been able to access forex so we should expect more drops in Customs revenue,”
Recall that Customs in 2014 raked in about N977.09 billion revenue while it generated N903billion in 2015.
With the current economic recession the country is going through, there are insinuations that Customs may not earn up to what it generated last year.
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