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From 2014, the Federal Government will adopt tighter parameters for its budget, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said. This is sequel to a sharp drop in revenue generated by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which has so far recorded a short fall of about N188 billion.

This was disclosed when Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Abdullahi, appeared before the Senate Joint Committees on Finance and Appropriation. It was disclosed that within the months of January and August, out of the estimated N718 billion budgetary revenue target of the Customs Service, only N530 billion was collected by the agency, leading to a short fall of about N188 billion.

According to Okonjo Iweala, the government is aware of the sharp decline in revenue generated by the NCS in the current fiscal year, which is partly due to certain government policies, such as waivers and concessions on some imported goods.

But she said that the government is studying the situation to decide what other actions should be taken. “On the losses being experienced in the non-oil sector, the customs had identified how government policies were slowing down their revenue projection but the Federal Government was also making efforts to block loopholes so that the non-oil sector could also bring in the required revenue. We are supporting FIRS which is in conjunction with Mckenzie to shore up revenue collection,” she said.

The NCS said that certain government policies and bilateral agreements have led to a revenue loss of N603.2 billion for the country in the first eight months of the year.

“If not for government policies of waivers, import duty exemption etc on some imported goods and free trade zones that are largely being abused by traders involved, the Nigeria Customs Service would have collected more than N600 billion more of the N530 billion it remitted as at the end of September this year”, said Abdullahi Dikko, Comptroller General of Customs (CGC).

The Customs boss explained that on rice importation alone which has since January attracted a duty of 110 per cent, Customs has lost about N105 billion that would have been collected as import duty revenues. Also, under import duty exemption, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) imported equipment alone, customs lost N86.4 billion. It lost N264 billion to waivers on petroleum products and lost N76 billion to manufacturers and assemblers.

 

Information from Daily Independent was used in this report.

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