Forex Ban on 41 Items: Customs Loses N230bn Revenue in Q4

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Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) lost N230 billion revenue in the last quarter of 2015 due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) shutting of the foreign exchange window on 41 imported items.

The NCS’ Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), who made the disclosure, said a request for the review of the policy had been tabled before the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Ali, had, as part of his continuous engagement with various stakeholders, concluded a week-long working visit to Lagos and other operational areas in the South West weekend.

During the visit, he had a forum with members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) where issues of mutual concerns were addressed.

On the front burner of the parley were concerns raised by the participants over the constraining impact of the CBN policy banning some items from accessing its foreign allocation.

In his response, Ali noted that the policy had created a revenue shortfall to the tune of N230 billion in the last quarter of 2015, adding that a request for a review had been tabled before the Vice-President.

“At the end of the forum, the two sides acknowledged the growing cordial relationship existing between the Customs and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, and expressed commitment to sustain the tempo.

“To formalise the relationship, a joint Customs – MAN team was agreed to be set up to harmonise areas of conflict in a current draft Memorandum of Understanding.

“Continuous engagement, honest declaration, training of importers and regular advocacy was recommended to address the issue of value upliftment and queries. Customs was enjoined to monitor its new dispute resolution mechanism and review it for modification if there are gaps in implementation,” a statement issued by the NCS’s Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi, said.

According to the statement, while showing understanding for the current economic downturn, which places pressure on Customs to safeguard revenue on contentious declarations, the forum encouraged the Service to balance that out by availing importers the opportunity to use the Bond option to avoid
heavy demurrage pending final resolution of such disputes.
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