Desire to evade duty payments and smuggle prohibited items into Nigeria have been identified as major reasons for the diversion of some Nigerian bound cargoes to neighbouring ports of Cotonou, Lome, Tema and Duala, a recent report has revealed.
Contrary to some reports that cargoes were diverted because of minor system glitch that affected importers transacting businesses with Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), it’s been proven too that cargo volume into Nigeria has been on the increase in the last three years.
This is indicated in increases noticed in the volume of single goods declarations (SGDs) processed in the last three years.
The report confirmed that Nigeria Customs ICT infrastructure is more superior to that of all other West and Central African countries customs administration and could not have been reason for diversion of Nigeria bound cargoes.
In addition to having a reliable back up system that will ensure there are no interruptions in Customs ICT service, should there be a sudden breakdown, the NCS system has consistently worked without relying on the conventional Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) or it’s subsidiary companies for electricity.
Figures obtained from Customs shows that Nigerian ports processed a lot of goods as at ending of August 2021 when compared with 2020 and 2019 within same periods of two previous years.
Up to the end of August 2019, Customs had processed about 700,000 SGDs and also during the same period in 2020, it had processed about 820,000. So far this year, Customs has processed over 1,200,000 SGDs
While smuggling activities are recorded from ports across the country through Customs detections during 100 percent physical examinations, larger number of seized smuggled items have been found to come through borders with neighbouring countries.
The NCS had announced it generated a revenue of N1.003 trillion for the first half of the year, which is over half of its N1.678 trillion revenue target for the year.
This was disclosed in a statement by Customs Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah in Abuja.
The statement revealed that the sum was earned from January to June 2021, a gain of N290.2 billion, compared to N713.5 billion generated within the same period in 2020.
“Hitting the trillion-naira mark within six months is unprecedented in the Service. This feat is a result of the resolute pursuit of what is right and willingness to adapt to changes brought about by global health challenges occasioned by COVID-19.
The Service revenue profile continues to be on the increase due to ongoing reforms that exploit the potentials of technology.
This is possible through robust automation of the processes and procedures, and also the deployment of officers strictly based on the Standard Operating Procedure,” Attah said.
He added that robust stakeholders sensitisation resulting in more informed/voluntary compliance, as well as an improved working relationship with the National Assembly, enabled more standard operating procedures in the operations.
“As stated by the CGC earlier in the year, it is always the desire of the Service to generate more revenue than what is set for it, given a favourable environment.
NCS will always be willing and happy to break its records as it is in this case of over one-trillion naira in 6 months,” he said.
He also revealed that Customs made a total number of 2,333 assorted seizures with duty paid value at N4.4 billion. Seized items include arms and ammunition, illicit drugs, and food items like rice, vegetable oil, and others.
Most of the foreign parboiled rice and cars seized by the service were due to anti-smuggling operations at the borders with neighbouring countries.
Perpetrators of the smuggling acts have been found to be persons who deliberately want to evade duty payment.”