It will be recalled that the Federal Government in 2014 set for the Nigeria Customs Service a revenue target of N1.2 trillion out of which the Service was able to rake in over nine Hundred Billion Naira by the end of 2014.
Speaking on the matter, the former Public Relations Officer, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNIFFIEC), Mr. David Pius was unable to meet up with the as result of the many irregularities on the part of the men and officers of the service.
Pius pointed out that the arbitrary charges as well as unnecessary alerts on consignments after the appropriate duty had been paid virtually made the Nigerian ports the costliest in the world thereby driving away importers who would have imported their goods through the Nigerian seaports to the ports of the neighbouring countries.
He said,” why should they make it when all the importers on the Nigerian shores have flee the country importing through other countries like Benin Republic and Ghana? Even some businessmen have relocated from Nigeria to other West African countries because of the exorbitant clearance procedures at the ports”.
“As I speak to you, there is no amount that you pay that will satisfy the customs. They will always find a way to ensure that that businessman does not do business in Nigeria anymore and that was what we saw last year’.
He however advised that government as well as the Customs management should not set target for the service this year arguing that in a bid to actualize the target, Nigerians were made to go through untold hardship in the long run saying that the service should conform itself to the Common External Tariff (CET) as obtained across the shores of Nigeria.
On his part, former Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tincan Island Chapter, Dr. Kayode Farintho believed that the Nigeria Customs Service should be given a pat on the back for the feat it achieved even with the introduction of a new document known as the Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).
Farintho argued that a situation where the service generated something within the neighbourhood of between Seven Hundred and Eight Hundred billion Naira the previous year, only to generate over Nine Hundred billion last year was a thing to grasp at.
According to him,” I want believe that the Nigeria Customs Service actually tried in 2014. They generated Nine Hundred and Seventy- Five Billion Naira and unfortunately, ordinarily, after introducing a new document, the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, meaning that we even have One Hundred Billion naira in excess to what was generated when we were using the Risk Assessment Report”.
“I give them a serious kudos. Forget about target, you cannot meet your target if Nigerians did not import but a situation where we generated Seven Hundred or Eight Hundred Billion Naira the previous year and we are now generating over Nine Hundred Billion Naira, my brother, we should give them kudos”.
He added that in advanced countries, the service should be given some percentage of what they had generated such that it would serve as an incentive to the Service.
On whether government should give them more target this year, he had this to say,” unfortunately, we have shot ourselves o the leg. I don’t even know why government should give them target when we are implementing CET”.
“So, I don’t see government giving them target because we are going to implement the Common External Tariff now with the ECOWAS. They may not give them target at all. Let the government not give them target at all”.