December 7, 2022

Customs set to surpass revenue target, hits 2.5trn in 11 months

By Godfrey Bivbere

There are indications that the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, is set to surpass 2022 revenue target as it has already recorded N2.5 trillion in 11 months to November 2022, representing 98 per cent of the N3.1 trillion target set by the Federal Government.

Confirming this to Vanguard Maritime Report in an exclusive interview, the National Public Relations Officer of the Service, Timi Bomodi, stated: “I can confirm that we have collected N2.4 trillion (as at third week in November), we are hopeful that by the end of November we are likely going to be over  N2.5 trillion.

“We are hopeful, end of the year is always like that. We might scale through.”

Agents weary of scanners

When asked if the use of the scanners will improve the revenue collectable by the Service, Bomodi explained that it is supposed to but noted that some of those who have been shouting about the absence of the scanning machines seems not to want to use them.

In his words, “The people that were shouting we need scanners, we need scanners; now that the scanners have come; they have kept quiet.

“Most of them do not want the scanners. Scanning of containers is optional, it is the system that will select which container that will go for scanning.

“These people will complain that they do not want their container to go for scanning because it takes time, the delay by terminals to position a container for scanning etc,” he noted.

Stakeholders insist on scanners

Speaking with Vanguard on the scanner issue, former Chairman of the Ports and Terminal Mulpurpose   Limited, PTML, chapter of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Ari Ayuba, it could increase revenue collectable by the Service if the right things are done.

“The scanners will increase revenue to an extent if the people that are manning them are sincere and dedicated to the Service.

“They should be well paid if the Service wants the system to succeed, otherwise, there could be man-made errors or whatever.

“Importers/agents are not sincere, they will tell you they are carrying water while they have engine oil in the containers”.

Similarly, Chairman of Apapa chapter of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Dom Onyeka, also agreed that the use of the scanners will reduce wrong declaration as well as help increase revenue collection.

In his words, “The scanners will help to reduce wrong declaration by some of us in our documents because the scanner will know exactly what you are carrying, that is if the Customs officers manning the scanners are sincere, they will be able to work with it.

“It will fasten the job because you would not be going for physical examination with all the associated problems since everything is right there in the captured image.

“With the machine, what you should do in an hour, you may do in five minutes.

“The problem will be the implementation, as regarding the officer manning the scanners. They must listen to the agents and stakeholders who are the users of the scanners”.

The Chairman of Tin-can Island Chapter of the African Association of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, AFFLON, Godfrey Nwosu, also agreed that the use of the scanners will increase revenue collection by Customs as well as improve capacity development of officers and men of the Service.

According to him, “Under proper and sincere arrangement, it is possible.   “It depends on the sincerity of purpose of the Nigeria Customs Service. It is not only going to boost revenue, it will also boost capacity development amongst Customs personnel.

“Another question is, what is the condition of the scanners? Are the claims about them true? Are they brand new or are they refurbished scanners that are painted and presented as new scanners?

“If the Service stay true to what they are preaching, we will have maximum revenue generation by the Customs Service to the benefit of the Federal Government.

“There is no doubt that we are long overdue to have upgraded to the use of scanners for cargo delivery,” he concluded.