Customs loses N139bn in 5 months to CBN forex policy

Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, retd,on Friday said Nigeria lost a total of 138.9 billion, representing 35.5% in income generation expected from the agency between January and May, 2016.

The development came as the Senate Committee on Finance directed all the revenue generating agencies in the country to henceforth prepare and submit reports of their performances on quarterly basis to the committee for assessment.

The CG said the agency generated the sum total of N312. 9bn for the country within the period under review.

The amount generated, according to him, was from import duty, Valued Added Tax, rice levy, port development surcharge and other levies.

Ali, who spoke while briefing the Senator John Enoh-led Senate Committee on Finance, on the performance of his organization, also disclosed that within the period, the Nigeria Customs Service lost a total of N138.9bn out of the N390.6bn it was expected to generate within the period.

He further disclosed that the agency was able to gather the sum of N251.8bn out of which the sum of N211.124,434,386.60 was generated into the federation account with the sum of N40,591,872,059.41 generated into the non-federation account. Giving breakdown of revenue generation within the period, the Customs boss said “compared to last year or what we are expected to generate, we are in deficit of 18,406,949,135.55 as against the sum of NN78,110,936,416.67 expected to be generated in the month of January.”

For the month of February, the customs, according to Ali, lost N27,176,737,878.21 instead of N78,110,936.416.67 just as the sum of N28,910,737,844.24 coud not be realized from N78,110,936,416.67 expected in the month.

The agency equally lost the sum of N32,304,439,625.98 from N78,110,936,416.67 in April just as it lost N32,039,511,153.56 from the expected generation of the sum of N78,110,936,416.67 in the month of May. “With this, it means we have 35% less than what we are supposed to have generated, “he said.

He attributed the loss to three variables among which according to him, included the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s new forex policy and increase in volume of credit.

“The CBN forex policy has become a big problem to trade, therefore people are not importing and we are a nation that is dependent on importation. If people do not import, there will be no duty paid and Customs we has nothing to collect. “With this trend, there is no way we can, by any chance, meet our target. We are hoping and praying that with the release of the budget and with the now relaxed forex market, that traders will begin to pick up and import things. If things do not improve, certainly, we are in big problem,” he said.

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