Freight forwarder cautions FG against setting revenue target for Nigeria Customs Service in 2016

Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Chief Boniface Aniebonam, has advised the Federal Government against setting revenue target for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in 2016.
Speaking at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos, Aniebonam said customs revenue should be dependent on cargo throughput and the value of the consignments.

“If you go outside this country to import cargo and you make genuine declaration for customs purposes, the duty will come out on its own,” he said.

The freight forwarder said that the idea of setting revenue target, thereby forcing the NCS to struggle to meet the target, was part of constraints of international trade in Nigeria.

He said this was one of the major reasons why things were not working well at the ports, and advised that the customs service should rather focus attention on compliance by all port operators.

He said smuggling, false declaration, under-valuation and concealment among others, were part of the factors that affected the customs revenue in 2015.

“It is not all about foreign exchange, the issue of smuggling also comes in. When you smuggle goods into Nigeria, definitely government has lost revenue.

“Meeting the target is not important. What is important is the compliance level by all operators and all customs needs to do is to increase its supervision and enforcement,” Aniebonam said.

He, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to set in motion, a process of reviewing the port concession agreement signed with the port concessionaires in 2006.

He said that despite the port concession exercise, the cost of doing business in Nigerian ports remained high.

Recall that the NCS announced that it collected N903 billion in 2015 out of its N954 billion revenue target for 2015.

The service explained that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy restricting importation of 41 items denied it some revenue.