*sacks 2,000 over corruption
Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, has raised the alarm that the Service may face challenges in meeting its N3.019 revenue target for 2022.
Nonetheless, the Service hopes to rake in no less than $176 billion after the conclusion of the automation of its operations in few years.
Ali made the disclosures on Thursday at a media briefing organized by the Presidential Media Team at the State House, Abuja.
He told newsmen that the Service had so far collected and remitted the sum of N2.143 trillion into government’s coffers.
Explaining the challenges threatening the target, Ali said “we were given the target of 3.019 trillion for the year 2022. We have so far collected 2.143 trillion. So, we are working towards making sure that we get to the target.
“As per our challenges, as a matter of fact, some of the key areas that were factored into the N3.019 trillion was the collection of the Telecommunication Tax, which up till now we have not started.
“Also, the collection of the Carbonated Drinks Tax, which we started in June or July; we did not start at the time we were supposed to start. And those figures ought to have added to the N3.019 trillion.
“But we’re working very assiduously to make sure that we block all the channels and see if we can, by the end of December report to Nigeria that we have been able to make the 3.1019 trillion target.”
Ali also disclosed that the Service would make about $176 billion for the country at the completion of its automation in the next fifteen years
He projected that the Customs would need $3.5 billion to fully automate its operations and limit human interactions.
Commenting on the fears in certain quarters that his successor may dismantle his structures and reverse reforms in the Customs, Ali explained that he would not be held liable if such happens.
He, however, assured the public that with his efforts to deploy technology in the operation of the Service, such reversal would be difficult assuring that his successors would only build on his achievements.
On the roles of the Customs in oil theft, Ali explained that the responsibility of enforcing maritime laws and sea security lie with the Navy and NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency).
Asked to explain the increase in tariff on imported vehicles and seizures of same on highways by his men, the Customs boss said the cost of clearing cars rose because the Service has deployed technology to determine the year and make of imported cars to avoid under-valuation.
According to him, imported cars are now being appropriately valued and requisite duties collected from importers.
Where the clearing agents succeed at under-valuing vehicles and paid less duties, owners of such cars risk being arrested on the highways and made to pay the appropriate duties to the government’s coffers.
Meanwhile Ali disclosed that over 2,000 personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service have been sacked for various corrupt practices in the last seven years as his administration has zero tolerance for corrupt officers.
He said that some of those who were sacked were, also got prosecuted and jailed.
Ali said that many of them were found to be shortchanging the Service in its revenue drive, especially on the custom duties and levies that were supposed to be paid for imported vehicles.
Also, some importers who engaged in sharp practices that impinged on the activities of the Service have either been suspended or prosecuted, he revealed.