Following the drop in the price of oil in the world market, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has frowned at calls in some quarters for the Federal Government to increase the revenue targets set for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other revenue generating agencies in the coming year to make up for the shortfall in revenue of the country.
The Vice Chairman of the association in Apapa, Chief Dom Onyeka who disclosed this in a chat with Primetime Reporters in Lagos described the call as unfortunate and unwarranted.
Onyeka regretted that Nigeria has insensitive leaders who had refused to be proactive in reasoning and planning contending that when the oil market was booming, the leaders at various time had refused to make judicious use of the money so generated from the sell of oil even as he said that one could hardly point at where the money was channeled.
He said, now globally, the oil price has gone down and then they want to come down on the users of the ports, the importers to get money to replace the shortfall in oil. It is very unfortunate”.
“It is very unfortunate because in other nations, they don’t mount so much pressure on importation, some of them are importing free, that is why in Nigeria, some people are under-declaring the true value of what they imported because government will always muscle them to get some money from them”.
He reminded the government and those making this recommendation to the government that these importers go through the same foreign exchange rate to make these importations saying that implementing the recommendation would only end up driving some importers out of business.
“They buy the Dollar at the rate of #190 per Dollar as against the government official rate multiply that times thousands of Dollars that they needed to import their containers. So, you can imagine that, how many people will be able to continue with that. Somebody told me today that the amount he used to import before, that he added #30,000 to be able to make the same importation. How many people can afford that?” he queried.
He therefore advised the government to look inwards to see how to raise money from other sources rather than stretching the already overstretched importers.
The ANLCA Chieftain also admonished the Federal Government to cut down on the cost of governance in the country adding that monies being wasted on running the government alone could be used in fixing up the already battered economy.
“The earlier they are able to reduce wastages on governance the better for us, the money being wasted on those things can be used to solve the problem of the economy. Let them look where they should look, there are lots of internally generated revenue mechanism, let them look at those avenues, cut off all those wastages on governance and then we will manage”, Onyeka said.