Customs Revenue Collection Jumps 21.4% to N3.2trn in 2023

January 12, 2024
e-Customs Project

By Adedapo Adesanya 

The Nigeria Customs Service (NC), has recorded N3.2 trillion in revenue collected in 2023, a 21.4 per cent increase over the preceding year’s revenue of N2.6 trillion despite facing significant operational hurdles.

The Customs Comptroller-General, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, made this announcement this week in Abuja at a news conference on the NCS activities in 2023.

Mr Adeniyi said that the 2023 performance was remarkable given the fact that the NCS recorded a revenue shortfall of N532 billion in the first half of 2023.

He said the year was marked by operational challenges including lower transaction volumes, compliance issues, inadequate infrastructure, and capacity gaps compounded by delays in policy implementation and socio-political factors.

He added that the anxiety associated with a major election year, and the prolonged cash crunch linked with the Naira redesign programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which temporarily impacted purchasing power and economic activities, further hampered revenue performance last year.

Also, the transition of power to the President Bola Tinubu-led administration brought about a new policy direction, including the removal of fuel subsidies, the floating of the exchange rate, and the closure of the country’s Northern borders with Niger Republic, further added to the complexity of the operating environment for the service.

Mr Adeniyi said these challenges led to a revenue shortfall of N532 billion compared to the N1.84 trillion target in the first half of 2023 but following his appointment as CGC in July last year, as well as merit-based reconstitution of the customs management team, there was a significant shift that enabled the service to exceed monthly revenue targets by 6.71 per cent for the first time in 2023.

He specifically attributed the positive change to strategic measures, including the immediate establishment of a Revenue Review Recovery Team and the dissolution of existing Strike Force Teams, streamlining enforcement under the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), and extensive stakeholder engagement.

Mr Adeniyi also expressed NCS commitment to end petroleum products smuggling in 2024 adding that the service would block all attempts to smuggle weapons and other contraband into the country.

“Our zero approach towards smuggling, especially petroleum products, rice, arms, and ammunition, out of the country would be rigorously enforced. We remain resolute on addressing border management challenges, balancing security concerns with trade facilitation,” he said.

Mr Adeniyi added that the NCS had conducted a vigorous campaign against smuggling and illicit trade in 2023, which resulted in 3,806 seizures of illicit items, including artefacts, antiquities, drugs, food products, and endangered species of flora and fauna, among others.

“Remarkably, we also achieved during this period a total of 52 convictions, 11 of them specifically linked to illicit trade in animal wildlife. This is also a record performance through diligent prosecution of our cases and the successful conviction of some of those criminals who were apprehended.

“Noteworthy is the international acknowledgement garnered for the Service’s efforts in combating this illicit trade in animal/wildlife. This steadfast commitment underscores the NCS’s dedication to protecting Nigerian society, maintaining a resolute stance against smugglers, and diligently dismantling their operations,” he said.

Going forward, he highlighted that numerous strategic initiatives are poised to positively impact the Service’s performance in the coming months.

These initiatives he enumerated include the introduction of the Advanced Ruling system, aligning NCS operations with global best practices, and meeting the recommendations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

He said the NCS is set to inaugurate an electronic auction, e-auction, platform strategically designed to enhance transparency in the auction process.

The CGC said the service remained committed to facilitating the achievement of the newly set revenue target of N5.079 trillion which is aligned with the government’s economic objectives for 2024.

“This target signifies the government’s confidence in the NCS’s capabilities and underscores the service’s important role in contributing to the nation’s fiscal wellbeing.

“The strategic initiatives detailed above, alongside other operational reforms, are anticipated to play a crucial role in achieving this revenue goal.

“As the NCS addresses the challenges and opportunities in 2024, the service is steadfast in its commitment to implementing these strategies and exploring practical approaches to meet the heightened revenue target. This commitment aligns with the NCS’s ongoing dedication to efficiency, excellence, and positive contributions to Nigeria’s economic landscape.”

Mr Adeniyi emphasised that the NCS will maintain a zero-tolerance stance towards indiscipline and non-compliance in the year 2024, and urged all officers and stakeholders to adhere strictly to established procedures and regulations as maximum cooperation is expected from every stakeholder in the customs operations.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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