The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) reports a significant milestone in the fiscal year 2023, surpassing all expectations with a total revenue collection of N3,206,603,417,315.47.
Comptroller-General of Customs Service, CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, made this known on Wednesday, 10th January 2024, while addressing newsmen at the Customs Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.
According to the Comptroller-General, this noteworthy figure represents a remarkable 21.4% increase compared to the previous year’s revenue of N2,641,616,673,501.83, showcasing the Service’s consistent upward trajectory.
He said, “This achievement is particularly remarkable given the challenges within the operational environment. Operational challenges such as lower transaction volumes, compliance issues, inadequate infrastructure, and capacity gaps were compounded by delays in policy implementation and socio-political factors.”
The Customs’ Boss highlighted that “despite grappling with operational challenges, such as lower transaction volumes, compliance issues, and socio-political factors, the NCS demonstrated resilience in adapting to dynamic economic conditions. Delays in policy implementation and major changes in government direction, including the removal of fuel subsidy and border closures, added complexity to the operational landscape.”
He also said the Service has, in the first half of 2023, witnessed a revenue shortfall of N532 billion, falling short of the projected target of NGN 1.84 trillion – adding, “A positive transformation occurred in the latter part of the year following my appointment as the Comptroller-General of Customs in July.”
He highlighted that “Merit-based reconstitution of the management team and strategic measures, such as the establishment of a Revenue Review Recovery Team and dissolution of existing Strike Force Teams, contributed to exceeding monthly revenue targets by 6.71%.”
Speaking further, the CGC said strategic reassignments of Customs Area Controllers, the creation of an ideas bank, and extensive stakeholder engagements played a pivotal role in the impressive resurgence, reiterating that the NCS’s robust campaign against smuggling and illicit trade resulted in 3,806 seizures, with a Duty Paid Value totaling N16,049,023,262.
Over the last 12 months, the Service has successfully secured 52 convictions, especially in the illicit trade of Animal/Wildlife, garnering international acknowledgment for the Service’s commitment.
“Noteworthy is the international acknowledgment garnered for the Service’s efforts in combating this illicit trade in Animal/Wildlife. This steadfast commitment underscores the NCS’s dedication to protecting Nigerian society, maintaining a resolute stance against smugglers, and diligently dismantling their operations.” He explained.
Speaking on the NCS’ plans to forge ahead with its mandates in 2024, he said, “the Service has been allocated a challenging revenue target of N5.079 trillion, emphasizing the government’s confidence in its capabilities.”
“Strategic initiatives, including the introduction of the Advanced Ruling system and collaboration with international partners like the World Customs Organization, are anticipated to contribute to achieving this ambitious goal.” the CGC explained.
According to him, the NCS is keenly aware of various challenges and opportunities in the coming year, ranging from alignment with government policy directions to active participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Speaking about the Service’s plans to modernize its activities, CGC Bashir Adeniyi said, “Customs modernization, border management, leveraging the NCS Act, stakeholder engagement, and intensive capacity-building initiatives are on the agenda to navigate the dynamic trade environment.”
The Comptroller-General, however, emphasized a zero-tolerance stance towards indiscipline and non-compliance in 2024, urging all officers and stakeholders to strictly adhere to established procedures and regulations.
He also used the medium to invite stakeholders to actively participate in this collective journey towards a more efficient, transparent, and revenue-optimized customs operation for the nation’s benefit.
“Going forward, numerous strategic initiatives are poised to positively impact the Service’s performance in the coming months. These initiatives include introducing the Advanced Ruling system, aligning NCS operations with global best practices and meeting the recommendations of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA),” he added.
He also announced that the Service has concluded all arrangements to inaugurate an electronic auction (e-auction) platform strategically designed to enhance transparency in the auction process.