Faced with a significant drop in revenue, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of contributing to the unimpressive performance.
The Comptroller-General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali, who spoke on Monday on the development, said that the service generated more than N600 billion for the last quarter of 2016 as against N903 billion it realised during the same period last year.
Ali told journalists on the sidelines of the 136th meeting of the Joint Tax Board in Abuja, that had the CBN not banned the import of 41 items, its revenue would have remained high.
He said that the Customs contributed N903 billion to the nation’s coffers in 2015 but N600 billion this year.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Ali as saying that the drop is due to the fluctuating foreign exchange rates and the ban on importation of more items by the CBN.
There are 41 items banned from importation; among them are soaps and cosmetics, tomatoes/tomato pastes, plywood boards and panels, wooden doors, rice, cement, margarine and toothpicks.
Ali said: “The Service made more than N600 billion in the last quarter of 2016. I will not say it regrets but the CBN should have liaised with the Service before placing the ban on some of the items.”
Ali said the collaboration between the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Nigeria Immigrations Service (NIS) would boost income and shift the nation’s dependence from oil.
“With the declining revenue from the oil industry, our economy is dangerously exposed to the uncertainties in the oil sector. We must therefore look beyond oil and focus attention on tax which is internally generated.
“As revenue generating agencies, working together will put us squarely on the driving seat of Nigeria’s vehicle towards an economic model that is inward-looking and self-sustaining,” Ali said.
The NCS boss said that the application of modern tools to check corruption among the agencies would minimise leakages, adding that a review and expansion of excise duties were being looked into for locally manufactured items, to expand government’s tax base to generate more revenue.