There are indications that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) may not meet the target of N1tr it set for itself at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Investigations by The Daily Times revealed that in the first quarter of 2016, The Apapa command, which is the largest in revenue generation for the Service, lost a whooping N13billion in import duty.
The command generated a total of N61.7 as against N74.71 billion collected in the corresponding period of 2015 representing a N13 billion decline.
Controller of the command, Comptroller Willy Egbudin had in an earlier interview lamented that “If revenue collection continues to drop in flagship command of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wonder how other commands will get their own revenue, if revenue generation from Apapa is going down, that means revenue generation as a whole to the Customs will go down’ he said.
Similarly, the Tin-Can Command of the Service recorded a revenue shortfall of N2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
The command generated N58.9 billion in the first quarter of 2016, and generated N61.6 billion in the corresponding period of 2015.
The breakdown of the commands’ revenue performance for 2016, indicated that N24, 858,625,588.00 was collected in January, N16, 856, 458, 800. 00 was collected in February, in the month of March N17, 215, 979, 575.00 and in April N14, 342, 974, 003. 00.
However, the cumulative figure is lower than the recorded N221.6 billion revenues of the command in the first quarter of 2015.
The slump is expected to deteriorate further into the second quarter of the year as volume of imports continues to fall even much more than expected.
The problem of decline in revenue was further highlighted by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali, during a visit to the District Head of Gwadabawa, Sokoto state, Alhaji Lawal Zayyana where he stressed that the average monthly revenue of the service has now fallen to about N50 billion from an average N80 billion.
National President of the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents, Lucky Amiwero, said the situation was an outcome of the forex policy and current exchange rate of the naira.
He said, “About 80 per cent of importers have shut down their businesses because of the current exchange rate. They cannot afford to continue business because they would need more money to raise the required foreign exchange for imports.
President of the Lagos Shippers Association, Mr. Jonathan Nicol, also appealed to the Federal Government to save the sector which was being choked by the exchange rate.
He said there was the probability that more shippers would move to other West African countries, to do business.