From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has disclosed plans to acquire 135 modern scanners under its e-Customs project to be installed at all air, land and sea borders.
NCS spokesman Joseph Attah made the disclosure in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
According to him, the Ministry of Finance has already purchased three new scanners, adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also expressed commitment to purchasing four scanners and establish the control centre for monitoring all scanning sites; in a bid to boost the economy, especially the agricultural sector.
‘This means that within the next six months, NCS will have about seven functional scanners to be mounted at strategic entry points even before the full deployment of e-Customs components which will see to the deployment of 135 modern scanners. The NCS appreciates and commends the leadership of CBN for this strategic intervention in the interest of the nation,’ Attah revealed.
The Customs spokesman further explained that intelligence gathered during the period of border closure and the introduction of the e-Customs whose components include installation of scanners at all entry points will enhance border security and boost national trade facilitation.
Attah added that the partial border closure, which forced cargoes that could have been smuggled through the porous borders to come through the sea and airports raised revenue collection from ports.
‘Before the commencement of the border drill on 20th August 2019, revenue generation was between N4 billion to N5 billion but now NCS generate between N5 billion to N9 billion daily.
‘Diplomatic engagements that took place during the partial land border closure yielded many positive results, including a commitment to comply with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit. Operationalisation of joint border patrols at both sides of the border.
‘The teams are required to share intelligence and ensure prevention of transit of prohibited goods into the neighbour’s territory.
‘In the same vein, the Service’s efforts to prevent the entry of items that could compromise the security of our citizens, economy and the well being of our people resulted in the seizures of 4,304 assorted items with a duty paid value of N28,287,285,847.52.
‘These seizures include arms, ammunition, illicit drugs, used clothing, vegetable oil, frozen poultry and foreign rice among others that have grave consequences on economic security and well being of Nigerians.
‘While we give assurances of total commitment to the course of protecting national security and economy, we call on Nigerians, especially the business community to support the NCS as our borders open to African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in order to benefit from the trade agreement and other cross border activities,’ Attah explained.
He also revealed that Customs generated N1,562,115,419,216.32 as revenue for 2020.
According to him, the figure surpassed its target of N1,380,765,353,462 despite the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
The figure also exceeds N1,342,006,918,504.55 generated in 2019.
He quoted the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd), as describing the feat ‘as the product of the resolute pursuit of what is right and willingness to adapt to changes brought about by global health challenges occasioned by COVID-19.’
According to him, Service revenue generation profile has continued to be on the rise annually as the ongoing reforms in the Service insist on the strategic deployment of officers strictly using the standard operating procedure; Strict enforcement of extant guidelines by the tariff and trade department;
Automation of the Customs process thereby eliminating vices associated with the manual process; Robust stakeholder sensitisation resulting in more informed/voluntary compliance; Increased disposition of officers and men to put national interest above selves.