In the face of declining imports and reduced volume of trade, Nigeria Customs Service has collected above its 2017 target of N770,573,730,490 by N10 billion ahead of the year end.
This came as the Assistant Controller General of Customs and Zonal Coordinator in-charge of Zone A, Aminu Dahiru, said there will be no hiding place for evaders of customs duty who smuggle in vehicles for sale in car shops as operatives are out to ensure that such smuggled vehicles are tracked through intelligence and enforcement relying on the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) provisions for search without warrant where necessary.
This feat is being achieved five years after it had failed to meet its annual targets even when there was higher volume of imports, stronger national currency for international trade and more relaxed import regime allowing cars and rice importations through land borders.
Speaking during a telephone interview, Joseph Attah, Public Relations Officer of the service said the feat was achieved as a result of improved service delivery by customs workforce, blocking areas of revenue leakages, enhanced anti smuggling activities and entrenching zero tolerance for corruption.
‘’The Controller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has been able to achieve blocking of revenue leakages and strategic deployment of personnel for increased productivity.
‘’We as a service are not relaxed on our functions and will not compromise our position in the cause of serving the country. We shall continue to maximally evoke the provisions of Sections 147 and 158 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (as amended) to enter anywhere suspected to be used to warehouse smuggled goods, seize the goods and legitimately patrol everywhere in the country to achieve our goals’’ Attah said.
Attah said the service anti smuggling activities has resulted in increased number of seizures amounting to over four thousand seizures with a duty paid value of over N10b and still increasing.
The customs spokesman added that the service is focused on achieving unprecedented revenue collection this year and beyond
Customs in recent times intensified seizures of suspected smuggled cars parked in cars shops while also raiding shops and warehouses where smuggled rice were kept.
Meanwhile, the Zonal Coordinator, in-charge of Zone A, Aminu Dahiru, has urged customs personnel to evoke the powers of Section 147 of the CEMA as amended to enter anywhere suspected of being used to warehouse smuggled goods and Section 157 to patrol anywhere in the country.
‘’We are always aware that commercial activities at the ports and borders increase during the end of the year. Be vigilant not only to make seizures but also to arrests those behind the crime. We dont have enough customs offenders in jails. This is one area we must improve’’ Dahiru said
While commending all the officers in the zone for their efforts, Dahiru reminded them that the management of the service the sustaining its zero tolerance for corruption policy of the Controller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali.
He said that the service will continue to wield the big stick against officers found to have compromised on their duties by engaging in acts of corruption.
He added that the service would also reward hardwork as recently done with officers who made outstanding seizures while also increasing its priority on officers welfare.