TIN: Customs gives importers 3 weeks to register, or

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has issued a three-week deadline to importers who are yet to register for their Tax Identification Number (TIN).
The TIN number, which was introduced in 2011 by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the NCS, is an inter-connectivity project for the purpose of clearing goods at the ports.
A letter dated March 6, 2013, signed by Assistant Comptroller-General I. A. Umar, and titledReplacement of RC Number with TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (TIN) , mandated Area Controllers to inform all importers concerned that a cutoff date for replacement of registered company (RC) number with TIN is March 31, 2013.
The letter directed all Area Controllers to ensure that every importer and agent who wishes to transact business at the port have the TIN number.
It was gathered that the development has resulted in the low volume of trade coming into the country, as a number of importers are yet to acquire the TIN, which, hitherto, has affected revenue generation of some Customs command.

Customs Public Relations Officer of the Port and Terminal Multi-services Limited (PTML), Chief Superintendent of Customs Steve Okonma, confirmed that the development among other factors was responsible for the drop in the command’s revenue generation between January and February.
The command generated a total of 5, 227,546,242 last month, as against 5,958,202,874 that was realised in January which shows a shortfall of about N7 million.
“The TIN number is one of the things slowing down the clearance process here because without the tin number you cannot get your Risk Assessment Report (RAR). The process of obtaining the TIN number at the FIRS office takes time, sometimes a month and because of this it has really affected our operation,” Okonma stated.
Also speaking, Customs Public Relations Officers of the Tin-Can Island Port Command, Deputy Superintendent of Customs Chris Osunkwo, affirmed that, besides the rush by importers to acquire the TIN, there is usually a low level of trade in the first quarter of the year, which, according to him, is responsible for short fall in the revenue figure of the command between January and February.
“It is natural that by every first quarter of the year, our revenue drops. It is a factor that generally affects trade within this period. In January we had 16.3billion and in January we had 16.2. And with the Easter holiday coming up in March, it will also affect our revenue, but, by April, I believe our revenue will increase,” Osunkwo said.

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