Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess (Dr.) Vicky Haastrup has blamed the shortfall in the first quarter revenue of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the federal government’s unfriendly policies that banned the importation of rice and frozen fish.
Haastrup made the statement at stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos last week.
She said that the policy, with regards to rice and fish importation, should have made provision for a gradual implementation, while encouraging the local content development.
“The customs revenue that dropped from 191 billion in the first quarter of 2013 to 77 billion is because of the sudden government policy on rice.
“Government needs to really look at the implication of these policies because policies cannot just be changed anyhow.
“We support local content, we are not against it. Nigeria is for local content, because it will create jobs for our youths. But it is something that has to be gradual”, she said.
She added that “How much of rice is Nigeria producing today?” The local production is only 30 per cent of rice consumption in Nigeria. Rice is the only staple food in the county, if you ban such food product now, how do you expect the people to live and the attendant result is what we are getting in the customs revenue.”
It would be recalled that the NCS revenue profile had dropped in the first quarter as it collected a mere N77.9 billion as against N400 billion it was expected to collect in the first three months of the year.
The amount collected represents 19.5 per cent of its projected revenue for the first quarter of the year. The amount is also less than half of the N191.3 billion collected by the Service in the first quarter of 2013.