The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated over N2.5 trillion revenue between January and November this year, The Nation learnt yesterday.
NCS National Public Relation Officer, Timi Bomadi said, the agency was given N1.679 trillion revenue target for this year, based on its last year’s performance.
Addressing reporters at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, Bomadi attributed the remarkable success to the current leadership of the Service, and to the diligent and hardworking officers of the NCS.
Although the image maker only mentioned N2 3 trillion as revenue collected by the service to date, but sources at The Federal Ministry of Finance (FMoF) told The Nation that the service generated about N2.5trillion between January and November this year.
Bomadi said: “In the current year, the Nigeria Customs Service has already exceeded expectations in revenue generation by going beyond the target set for it by the government. Also in its anti-smuggling activities, the Service has made landmark seizures of absolutely prohibited items and items prohibited by trade.
“In August, the service made seizures of 17,137 kg of pangolin scales, 44 kg elephant tusks and 60 kg in pangolin claws all valued at over 22 billion naira. This was made possible through active collaboration between NCS, US, British, and German officials who helped in tracking the suspicious shipment. It further led to the arrest and prosecution of some foreign nationals and their local collaborators.
“In October FOU operatives in zone A seized 751 bullets concealed in garri sacks, while arms, ammunitions and military uniforms were intercepted at Tin Can port Lagos in September 2021 just to mention a few. Our warehouses in all border formations are overflowing with seizures of rice, groundnut oil, used clothing, used vehicles etc.
“At Apapa Area I Command, through the cooperation of other sister agencies and the Nigerian Navy a landmark seizure of cocaine with a DPV of $54 million was made. This seizure was unique for the fact that the illicit substance was found in one of the components of a bulk carrier of sugar. In the same command, 97 containers carrying illicit, expired drugs and other offensive goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N17.5billion naira was seized.
Bomadi said the service is also facilitating trade at ports and border stations through the modernisation/automation of import/export processes, aimed at reducing trade costs and the simplification and harmonisation of Customs processes to help in the development of local industries, improves economic prosperity, boost the revenue base of the Federal Government and enables foreign direct investment.
Currently, the image maker said, the NCS has integrated and automated over 90 per cent of its activities and collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Finance for the introduction of the National Vehicle Registry VReg portal which among other things incorporates an automated vehicle valuation mechanism that authenticates Vehicle Identity Number (VIN) and validates the make, model and year of manufacture for easy assessment of value for Customs purposes.
The service, according to him, has NCS has also introduced mobile applications for verifying the authenticity of documents by enforcement officers on patrol. This app will eliminate delays in verifying genuine Customs documents on our highways making it difficult for forgers to get away with their illegal acts, while easing the journeys of law abiding citizens.
“Members of the public have continued to avail themselves of copious information on both its web based and mobile applications.
“The e-customs project which is certain to take off next year will provide end to end automation aimed at eliminating physical contact and the potential for subjective judgments based on unethical considerations. Fast track and Authorized Economic Operator schemes are there to enhance and facilitate the experience of traders with track records for honesty and transparency.
He continued: “However, all trade across borders is associated with different levels of risk necessitating the establishment of control mechanism via risk management. In managing of goods in transit, the historical antecedents of importers/exporters and agents, countries of origin, fiscal policy, security, wellbeing, health and safety of citizens.
“The Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System II (NICIS II) meets the TFA criteria for the SIMPLIFICATION of Customs processes and procedures. While it provides easy access to Customs information regarding trade regulations, it allows for easy interface and an enhanced user experience. Importers or their agents can access the Customs portal from the comfort of their homes and offices. Declarations, assessments and payments are made via web based applications on the trader zone. At the Customs zone, selectivity is triggered based on risk assessment and the required mode of examination indicated in the system. Release is activated when no infringements requiring interventions are discovered.
“NICIS II allows for the full integration of other regulating authorities like Standards Organization of Nigeria, (SON) and the Nigeria Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). In so doing all regulatory issues concerning other agencies are expected to be treated expeditiously and simultaneously to facilitate trade. However, an important to note that the potential speed for execution under the NICIS II platform can be impeded by the operations of other agencies that are yet to fully define and automate their risk criteria for integration with the existing platform. In this case the efficiency of the system becomes defined by the slowest players in the team,” Bomadi noted.
Although, he admitted that the valuation of goods by officers of the service is another area that has often drawn criticism from some stakeholders and importers, he said: “there is no market in the world where prices remain static over time Same is true for other components of Customs value, which includes insurance and freight charges. When we add the ever increasing rate of exchange into the mix, the inevitable result has to be commensurate increases in the value component of declared items used for calculating duty. Therefore situations where some insist on declaring fictitious values for customs purposes will always be met by adjustments reflecting current realities.”