From Uche Usim, Abuja and Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Comptroller–General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, yesterday, said the proposed slash in duties on vehicles and tractors from 35 to 10 per cent may take off next week.
“We are the proponent of the new tariff. I’ve been torn apart by many people criticising it, saying I used my connection to get it done. But it is in the overall interest of Nigeria. Now, it has become a law. We’re now waiting for the Finance Minister to give us a formal conveyance of that Act. Once we receive it, we commence implementation immediately and inform our commands. We are hoping that latest by next week, it will become operational,” Ali said at the 2021 edition of the International Customs Day celebrations held in Abuja themed: “Customs Bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for Sustainable Supply Chain.”
According to him, the vehicle tariff reduction, contained in the draft 2020 Finance Bill, was initiated by Customs to ease the scathing transportation cost in the country due to high cost of vehicles.
On Customs preparedness for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), Ali said: “Every aspect that concerns us have been adhered to.
We need certain inputs from AfCTA secretariat, like the aspect of rules of origin. It should not be left to chambers of commerce alone and Customs should be members of the team. But we are ready.”
The Customs boss also described the N1.5 trillion generated last year as a pleasant surprise, even as he hailed his officers and men for working hard to generate such amount, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Kwara state command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said it generated and remitted a sum of N 9,310,734,065.11 billion in one and half years into the federation account.
Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, yesterday, the Customs area controller, Hussaini Ahmed, said that the command generated a sum of N6.9 billion between January and December 2020 representing 86 per cent of the year annual target, as against N2.4 billion in 2019.
Ahmed, who said that COVID-19 pandemic that came with the lockdown, EndSARS protests and partial border closure were the reasons for not meeting the stipulated last year budget, and added that placement of temporary embargo on movement of goods and persons through the land borders nationwide was another reason.