The federal government has earned about N3.508 trillion in the last four and a half years, from January 2008 to June 2013, through revenue collections by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The government earned this amount from revenue collections that included import and excise duties, as well as other taxes and levies
According to data available to THISDAY, Lagos accounted for more than 70 per cent of the collections.
Specifically, in the first six months of this year alone, a total of N385 billion was collected by the NCS.
A breakdown of the figures for first half of the year showed that Abia/Imo collected N1.9 billion; Adamawa collected N13 million; Apapa collected N121 billion; Bauchi, N2.6 million; Benue/Plateau collected N140 million. Borno/Yobe N104 million; Cross River collected N2.7 billion;
Delta collected N10.6 billion; Enugu/Anambra collected N3.9 billion; FCT/Abuja collected N1.3 billion while Kano/Jigawa collected N1.3 billion. Katsina/Kaduna collected N2.4 billion; KLT collected N8.4 billion; Lagos Industrial collected N5 billion; Lilypond collected N2 billion; Murtala Muhammed Airport collected N13 billion; Niger/Kogi collected N221 million; Ogun collected N2.5 billion; Ondo collected N58 million; Oyo collected N6.8 billion and Port Harcourt 1 N15 billion while Port Harcourt Onne collected N39 billion. PTML collected N36 billion; Seme collected N4 billion; Sokoto collected N354 million; Tin Can port collected N107 billion.
The Chairman, Editorial Board, THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, in a piece titled: ‘Inside the Nigeria Customs Service’, frowned on the federal government’s inadequate attention to infrastructure in Lagos State, even when it accounted for more than 70 per cent of the N3.5 trillion revenue collected by customs in the last four and a half years.
This federal government’s ‘unfavourable disposition to Lagos’, he emphasised, was in spite of the state’s strategic importance to the national economy.
In his words: “It is instructive to note that of the N3,508,873,117,781 collected within the period, January 2008 to June 2013 (five and a half years) Lagos alone accounts for more than 70 per cent.
“When you juxtapose the above figure with the fact that Lagos also accounts for more than 60 per cent of fuel consumption in our country and that more than 50 per cent of the VAT is also generated from there, the strategic importance of the state to our national economy comes to the fore.
“Yet there has not been a commensurate attention by the federal government in terms of infrastructural presence in Lagos, or indeed in the entire South-west.”
Adeniyi, who was the special adviser on media to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, advised the federal government to reform the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), with a view to strengthening its capacity to prevent influx of smuggled goods and ammunition capable of threatening the economy and national security.
He expressed the urgent need to make the NCS also responsive to its critical role in upholding security of the nation, apart from revenue collections.
According to him, “The relevant authorities must be able to profile the collections not only with a view to assessing areas of leakages but also to understand what accounts for those leakages and the threats such pose to the economy and security of our country. The command posts in the Northern parts of the country become important here.
“It must be recognised that smuggling, organised crime and terrorism-related threats are increasing while the capacity of the customs to deal with them seems to be waning. Yet there is the urgent need for a strategic response that must, of necessity, take into account that the responsibility of the agency goes beyond just earning revenues to playing critical role in the security of our nation.
“Yet there is the urgent need for a strategic response that must, of necessity, take into account that the responsibility of the agency goes beyond just earning revenues to playing critical role in the security of our nation.”
Adeniyi also pointed out the lopsidedness in appointment to key offices at NCS to certain zones of Nigeria.
He said notwithstanding the fact that 75 per cent of non-oil revenue earned accruing to the economy as collected by the customs, came from the South-west zone of the country, critical appointments were skewed against the zone.
According to him, “After oil money, the next revenue earner for the country is the customs and excise duties and if about 75 per cent of such comes from the zone, equity demands that critical appointments in the NSC must also reflect that but what we have today is a situation in which such appointments are actually skewed against the South-west. That cannot be right.”
“Other high rollers when it comes to customs revenue collections are Port Harcourt, Delta, Ogun and Oyo. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the sharing of appointments within the Service, thereby raising pertinent questions about equity and fairness. For instance, of the six board members, none comes from the South West with one each from other zones except North East that has two.
However, Adeniyi spoke eloquently of the achievement of the Comptroller-General of NCS, Dikko Inde Abdullahi, whose tenure expires on August 18.
According to him, “In the area of revenue generation, staff welfare and discipline within the rank and file, the outgoing comptroller-general has done a lot to reposition the service. He will be credited with the automation of customs clearance process through a regime of e-Customs covering manifest declaration, customs declaration, duty payment, and remittance among others and upgrading customs ICT from ASYCUDA 2.0 to a full-fledged ASYCUDA World and development of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) to replace the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) issued by Service Providers.
“His leadership has also been more robust, more interactive and responsive to importers’ need while he identified and blocked revenue leakage, leading to steady increase of revenue – from a month average collection of about N40 billion when he assumed office in August 2009, to the current average of about N70 billion monthly. However, the focus of whoever succeeds him must go beyond revenue generation to that of national security.”