Despite the over one year shutdown of Nigeria’s land borders, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has overshot its revenue target by 13.2% in 2020 while surpassing the 2019 performance by 16.4%.
Recall that Nigeria shut all its land borders since August 2019, thereby shrinking revenue that could have accrued from imports through the borders.
Following the hardship and criticism that heralded the closure of the borders the NCS had argued that its revenue would be boosted with the border closures.
But many stakeholders believed the problem was more of leakages and corruption which denied the Customs the revenue accruable from duties payable on land border imports.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer, Deputy-Controller Joseph Attah, in Abuja, yesterday, indicated that the Service generated N1.562 trillion in revenue in 2020 against the target of N1.380 trillion. He said the revenue was also ahead of the N1.342 trillion recorded in 2019.
The performance, according to him, was coming against the adverse impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the economy during the period under review.
He said that the partial border closure which has forced cargoes that could have been smuggled through the porous borders to come through the sea and airports also significantly contributed to raising revenue collection from ports.
He stated: “Before the commencement of the border drill on 20th August 2019, revenue generation was between N4 billion to N5 billion but now NCS generate between N5 billion to N9 billion daily.
“Diplomatic engagements that took place during the partial land border closure yielded many positive results, including commitment to comply with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit. Operationalization of joint border patrols at both sides of the border.
“The teams are required to share intelligence and ensure prevention of transit of prohibited goods into the neighbor’s territory,” he added.
Atta said that the NCS would strictly implement the outcome of the diplomatic engagements as the land borders open for movement of cargoes.
He added that intelligence gathered during the period and the introduction of the e-Customs whose components include installation of scanners at all entry points would enhance border security and boost national trade facilitation.
He disclosed that seizures of 4,304 assorted items with a duty paid value of N28.287billion were recorded within the period under review.
According to him, “These seizures include arms, ammunitions, illicit drugs, used clothing, vegetable oil, frozen poultry and foreign rice among others that have grave consequences on economy security and well being of Nigerians.”