The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday, disclosed that it has so far generated N1,012 billion as revenue for 2017, which remains the highest since its creation in 1891.
The figure is N241 million higher than the Customs’ 2017 target of N770 million and also dwarfs the revenue collected in 2016, which was N898 million.
Public Relations Officer of Customs, Joseph Attah, who disclosed this at a press briefing, in Abuja, said the Service expects to generate some more revenue for the government before the year winds down in few days time.
According to him, the feat was achieved despite the harsh economic climate because the management doggedly implemented the Presidential mandate of Restructuring, Reforming and Raising revenue (3Rs), as handed down to the Comptroller General, Hameed Ali, by President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of duties.
Attah said, “Despite the economic recession experienced earlier in the year with low volume of imports, occasioned by restriction placed on 41 items from accessing Forex, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ibrahim Ali undertook some strategic measures in terms of restructuring and repositioning the Service for efficient service delivery which resulted in this historic revenue figure from the Service this year.
“To achieve this feat, the CGC took some measures to redeploy officers and men of the NCS; overhauling and re-training the operatives of the Customs Intelligence Unit; maximizing the potential of automation through monitoring, tracking infractions, blocking and recovering lost revenues.
“Others were the re-invigoration of anti-smuggling operations, setting up a Compliance Team to serve as the third layer of security, rregime of prompt reward for hard work and punishment for wrong-doing; transparent promotion process strictly based on merit; deliberate and sustained sensitization/stakeholder engagement across the country, among others.
“These and other administrative measures of the current Management of the Service continues to motivate the workforce towards selfless pursuit of NCS and indeed the nation’s goals”, Attah explained.
While analysing the 2017 operational year, the Customs spokesman said six officers were killed in the line of duty, but assured that the unfortunate development would not dampen the spirit of personnel.
He also said 2017 was quite dramatic as the Service was able to bust some die-hard smuggling rings.
“Ruthless anti-smuggling operations which resulted in over 4000 assorted seizures with over N11 billion in value also helped increase levels of compliance in terms of honest declarations and correct payment of duties by traders to avoid loss of their goods and possible jail term.
“These seizures include the spectacular 2,671 pump action riffles, dangerous drugs, rice, vehicles e.t.c”, he added.
Attah however noted that the Service would have performed much better if it had sufficient funds to operate. “Despite this difficult situation, NCS strives to deliver, sometime even at the risk of sustaining serious injuries and or even death.
“While 2017 draws to an end with rich harvest of seizures and high revenue collection for the Federal Government, the Service is not unmindful of the activities of unpatriotic elements that are still bent on sabotaging the Fiscal Policies of Government, especially in the areas of rice and vehicles smuggling through the land borders.
“Accordingly, the CGC has directed sustained onslaught against smugglers especially at this festive period. He however in the spirit of the season, enjoyed all stakeholders to reflect on the values of patriotism and resolve to avoid all forms of smuggling.
From the performances of the NCS in the out-going year 2017, it is clear that given the right leadership and better support from Nigerians, NCS will continue to play a more pivotal role in the security and economic well-being of the nation”, he noted.