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Business News of Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Source: Today NG

House raise customs’ revenue target by N214 billion to N1.6 trillion

The house of representatives committee on customs and excise has raised the revenue target for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in the 2021 financial year from N1.465 trillion to N1.679 trillion.

The committee made this announcement on Tuesday when Hameed Ali, the Customs comptroller-general, appeared before the committee to defend 2021 budget proposals and performance of the 2020 budget.

The revenue target was set for the NCS in 2020 before the coronavirus outbreak resulted in a downward review of the target.

Justifying the increase, Leke Abejide, chairman of the committee, said the legislators would retain the targets on duties and value added tax (VAT) collection as the NCS was able to surpass the 2020 reduced target despite the nationwide lockdowns occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 2021 proposal that Customs brought to us; we compared notes of what was presented to us in the 2020 fiscal year and what was collected by the service. There was a proposal of N1.4 trillion,” he said.

“When we looked at your new proposal and the kind of noise it will generate when we get to the floor of the house, we don’t want to have problems on the floor trying to pass the budget.

“So, when we looked at what you collected in 2020 which was N1.56 trillion when you add VAT, it will look somehow illogical for us. We want to stand on the initial target given to you last year. We are not going to increase it, we are to stay on it at N1.679 trillion and we are not going to influence what you proposed or the target you gave to yourself on the issue of VAT.”

Ali said the service generated a revenue of N1.211 trillion for the period of January to December 2020, N350.63 billion as VAT on imports during the same period, thereby bringing the total collection to N1.562 trillion in 2020.

However, he lamented that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements entered into by Nigeria were already affecting the country’s revenue negatively in 2021.

He further noted that the targets set by the federal government are based on some parameters and not based on actual computation.

The Customs boss also said plans are underway to ban vehicles that had been used for more than seven years from being imported into the country.

“We are now working on a policy proposal that will reduce the years of the vehicles that will be imported into the country as used vehicles,” the Customs boss said.

“Our own is to ensure that we have roadworthy vehicles and that is not to say that we want to kill our own home-grown industries.

“It is our hope that our own industries will begin to produce vehicles that we can afford to buy and reduce importation of used vehicles.”

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