The Senate has informed the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) that the agency's revenue target for 2024, initially set at N5.079tn, will be revised upwards during the second half of this year to save the country from further borrowings.
Last Wednesday, the Comptroller General of the NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, told members of the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise that in 2023 the service generated a total sum of N3.21 trillion, falling short of the target of N3.67tn due to various factors
However, during a crucial meeting with Adeniyi and top management of the revenue agency on Monday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Isah Jibrin, stated that his committee expected the service to play a major role in reducing Nigeria’s debt burden by increasing its revenue.
He said, “First of all, Nigeria is saddled with a lot of debt obligations and we need to wriggle ourselves out of that trap and one of the ways to do that is internally generated revenue. Customs is one of the major providers of internally generated revenue and as it is today, we expect them to play one of the major roles in this drive to reduce our debt burden.
“We need to pay off what we owe now and minimize additional loans we are going to take. Customs is in a very good position. If they are able to block all perceived leakages, they should be able to generate a significant amount of income that will enable Nigeria to get out of debt, at least partially.
The Kogi East senator mentioned that concessions given to some sectors of the economy, such as agriculture and solid minerals, are for those who provide services in those areas and whose work has a direct impact on economic growth.
“If somebody is bringing agricultural equipment into the economy and you try to take something out of that person in a way of import duty, that will discourage the person and that is what we are saying. It is not that anybody took that money or custom compromised in the course of their services.
“Concessions were in the interest of Nigeria to encourage importers who are going into specific areas in the economy. There is a trade-off here between importers and the country, particularly the things you think you are generating.
He said, "Customs is one of the major providers of revenue. If they block leakages, they can help Nigeria get out of debt."