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Just In: Customs generates N1.5trn revenue, impound over 4,000 arms, drugs, others in 2020

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has disclosed that it generated over N1.5 trillion as revenue and impounded over 4,000 arms and ammunition, drugs, as well as other items been through the borders in 2020.

Customs added that inspite of the outbreak of Coronavirus that resulted in several weeks of lockdown during the year under review, the funds generated was over N100 billion higher than the targeted revenue approved by the Federal Executive Council for the agency and N200 billion more than the generated funds in 2019.

The agency attributed the huge increase in revenue to closure of land borders by President Muhammadu Buhari, forcing cargoes that could have been smuggled through the porous land borders to come through sea and airports which further aided the funds collected for the Federal Government.

According to NCS, the sum of N1,562,115,419,216.32  was generated for the year 2020. Amount generated is over the target of N1,380,765,353,462.00 over the sum of N1,342,006,918,504.55 generated in 2019 despite the covid-19 pandemic.

The Controller-General, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), on Wednesday, said that the result of revenue realised was due to the agency’s personnel to adapt to change brought about by the global health challenges occasioned by COVID-19.

Ali, who made the assertion through the statement signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Joseph Attah, and made available to newsmen, further explained that the revenue generation improved drastically with neighbouring countries accepting to comply with Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) protocol on transit and operationalisation of joint border patrols.

He noted that the effort further yielded the impoundment of the 4, 304 assorted items with a duty valued of over N28 billion that could have compromised the security of lives and property.

“These items include arms, ammunition, illicit drugs, used clothing, vegetable oil, frozen poultry, and foreign rice among others that have grave consequences on the economy, security, and wellbeing of Nigerians.

“The teams are required to share intelligence and ensure prevention of transit of prohibited goods into the neighbours territory. Accordingly, the Commission wishes to express its readiness to strictly implement the outcome of the diplomatic engagement as the land borders open for the movement of cargoes.

“Intelligence gathered during the period and introduction of the electronic-customs whose component include installation of scanners at all entry points will enhance border security and boost national trade facilitation”, the Customs boss added.

He disclosed that the Ministry of Finance was responsible for the three scanners currently in use, adding, the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also concluded plans to procure four scanners and establish control centers for monitoring all scanning sites.

While noting that these would boost national economy particularly agriculture, Ali stated that the seven scanners to be mounted at strategy points would aid full switch of operation to e-customs which would see to the deployment of 135 scanners at different locations.

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