The House of Representatives’ Committee on Customs and Excise has proposed a revenue target of N1.56tn for the Nigeria Customs Service in 2021, while also considering a ban on the importation of vehicles older than 7 years.
This new figure is up from the original proposition of N1.4tn.
The committee’s decision to raise the figure came at a budget defence session held with the Controller-General of the NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), in Abuja on Tuesday.
The customs CG lamented that the African Continental Free Trade Area and the World Trade Organisation treaty which Nigeria is part of was already affecting the country’s revenue negatively.
The chairman of the committee, Leke Abejide, said the lawmakers would retain the targets on duties and Value Added Tax collection as the Customs was able to surpass the reduced target during the lockdowns.
Abejide said, “The 2021 proposal that Customs brought to us; we compared notes of what was presented to us in the 2020 fiscal year and what was collected by the service. There was a proposal of N1.4tn.
“When we looked at your new proposal and the kind of noise it will generate when we get to the floor of the House, we don’t want to have problems on the floor trying to pass the budget.
“So, when we looked at what you collected in 2020, which was N1.56tn when you add VAT, it will look somehow illogical for us.”
However, in the attempt to prevent the committee from raising the target, Col. Ali stressed that the targets set by the Federal Government are based on some parameters and not based on actual computation.
When members of the committee threw questions on the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders which has allowed for the infiltration of arms and ammunition, Ali said that the Customs was already taking delivery of scanners.
Ali said while the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning had bought three mobile scanners on emergency purchase, billed to arrive in May, the Central Bank of Nigeria had also offered to provide four scanners which will be deployed in the four land borders that have been opened for business.
Speaking on importation of vehicles, the customs boss said the more the Federal Government reduces the number of used vehicles in Nigeria, the better for the country.
“We are now working on a policy proposal that will reduce the years of the vehicles that will be imported into the country as used vehicles.
“Our own is to ensure that we have roadworthy vehicles and that is not to say that we want to kill our own home-grown industries.
“It is our hope that our own industries will begin to produce vehicles that we can afford to buy and reduce importation of used vehicles,” Ali said.