Reps grill Customs CG Ali over revenue drop

Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali

The House of Representatives on Wednesday frowned at the inability of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to meet its 2016 revenue target of N937.3b.

The Customs only generated N720.7 billion (76.89 percent) of the target between January and December 2016.

The lawmakers questioned the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, on the N216.5 billion (23.11 percent) dip in target for the year.

But the Customs is targeting N772.8billion revenue for 2017 which is lower by N164.45b or 17.54 percent compared to 2016.

Ali, who appeared before the James Faleke-led House Committee on Customs in his usual white caftan, was also questioned on the rationale behind the ban on vehicles through land borders.

Ali said vehicle importation through land borders was injurious to the nation’s growth, adding that the country’s next door neighbour, Benin Republic, was the sole beneficiary.

He said, “99.9 percent of cars imported into Benin, always ended up in Nigeria through smuggling and other illegal activities on the land borders. 

“Why should we be growing the economy of another country when our own is facing challenges?

“That is the point that we have been making. That cars from Benin will come to Nigeria after they have collected their import duties over there.”

The committee wondered why officials of Customs were not targeted for punishment for complicity in illegal importation of vehicles. 

“You can improve on your activities at the borders. The borders serve some economic benefits for the locals and you must find a way to strengthen your own operations, not a wholesale ban on vehicle importation,” the committee noted.  

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