The N1trillion target is ridiculous. How can they generate that with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) forex restriction which has resulted in reduced importation and most of our cargoes being diverted to port of neighbouring countries? At this present time, it is impossible for Customs to realize that. I don’t even subscribe to the federal government giving customs target because giving them target is like they are subjecting agents to undue payment by issuing unnecessary demand notice which is not supposed to be so. If they do their job accordingly, they can even generate more than the target.
It is not a realistic target at all with what is happening now in the country. If you go to the port everywhere is dry because there is no importation hence there has been low patronage of the ports. Those that travelled before now cannot travel again because they cannot source foreign exchange and it is only when importers travel and bring in goods that Customs can collect and assess revenue. So for Customs to be eyeing such bogus target for the year I don’t know how they want to make it because the policies are not favourable and the climate is very harsh. So for me, it is not feasible at all.
Government should stop giving Customs target. We have discovered that when Customs are given target, it makes them source for the target where they are not suppose to by giving unnecessary demand notice and making agents uncomfortable. So we don’t support the idea of giving Customs target especially at a time like this when we are having economic challenges in the country. The process of sourcing forex for importation now is not easy for the importers and their agents so how can government be giving Customs target with all that is ground. So it is unacceptable.
I don’t know the yardstick through which they want to realize that. Going from the decline in volume of cargo throughput from the various terminals now, I honestly do not see how they can realize the target. It is one thing to get the target and use it to keep the economy stable, another is getting it and messing up the whole economy with it because if at the end of the day, the Customs officers will resort to issuing exorbitant demand notice and not look at the effect of that on the importing public, that will send them to other ports of neighbouring countries. If customs play according to the rule the indices will be on volume of cargo throughput that comes into the country but with what we have on ground presently, I am afraid, they might not meet up with the target.
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