â€¢ Makes 4,000 seizures worth over N11bn â€¢Six officers die in service
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Five working days to the end of 2017, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has generated a total revenue of N1,012,259,006,779.74, making it the highest haul ever by the service.
The historic revenue collection is N241,685,276,289.74 billion or 23.9 per cent rise over the N770,573,730,490 billion target for the fiscal year and well above the N898.673,857,43.07 billion collected in 2016.
The NCSâ€™ Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah, who gave the figures at a media briefing in Abuja thursday, said the sterling performance was posted through the dogged implementation of the presidential mandate to Restructure, Reform and Raise revenue (3Rs), as well as some strategic measures in terms of restructuring and repositioning the customs for efficient service delivery.
Attah noted that the success was achieved despite the economic recession experienced earlier in the year with low volume of imports, occasioned by restrictions placed on 41 items from accessing foreign exchange (forex) through the official windows
He said to achieve the feat, the customs Comptroller-General (CGC), Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), maximised the potential of automation through monitoring, tracking infractions, blocking and recovering lost revenues, and reinvigorated the anti-smuggling operations, as well as setting up three compliance teams to serve as the third layer of security and a regime of prompt reward for hard work and punishment for wrong-doing.
The customs PRO added that a regime of transparent promotion process strictly based on merit, deliberate and sustained sensitization/stakeholder engagements across the country, among others, were also introduced.
â€œThese and other administrative measures of the current management of the service continues to motivate the workforce towards selfless pursuit of NCS and indeed the nationâ€™s goals,â€ he stressed.
According to Attah, ruthless anti-smuggling operations which resulted in over 4,000 assorted seizures with over N11 billion in value also helped to increase levels of compliance in terms of honest declarations and correct payment of duties by traders to avoid loss of their goods and possible jail term.
â€œThese seizures include the spectacular 2,671pump action rifles, dangerous, rice, vehicles and others,â€ Attah said.
Attah noted that â€œdespite this difficult situation, NCS strives to deliver, sometime even at the risk of sustaining serious injuries and or even death. It is imperative to state that the service would have performed better if not for paucity of funds.
â€œFrom the performances of the NCS in the out-going year 2017, it is clear that given the right leadership and better support from Nigerians, NCS will continue to play a more pivotal role in the security and economic well-being of the nation,â€ he said.
Attah regretted that six officers of the service fell in the line of duty, assuring that the Service will continue to motivate the workforce towards selfless pursuit of its and nationâ€™s goals.
Conveying the goodwill of the the comptroller-general, he warned those he described as â€˜unpatriotic elementsâ€™ that are bent on sabotaging the fiscal policies of government, especially in the areas of rice and vehicles smuggling through the land borders to desist from such act.
â€œAccordingly, the CGC has directed sustained onslaught against smugglers especially at this festive period. He, in the spirit of the season, enjoined all stakeholders to reflect on the values of patriotism and resolve to avoid all forms of smuggling,â€ he said.