Economy: Customs raises alarm over dip in trade, targets local industries for revenue

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By; Niyi Ogungbola, Abeokuta.

The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) has vowed that the Service would as from now on intensify efforts towards encouraging the growth of local trades and investments in its search for improved revenue generation for the federal government.

The NCS Comptroller made the declaration in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital when he paid a courtesy visit on the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun during his tour of facilities to the Zone “A” comprising of all the states in the South West.

While disclosing that the country’s foreign trade is low in recent time, he as well maintained that NCS will be tilting its search for revenue towards growing the home industries by way of excise duties which he said are capable of generating more revenue to the federal coffers.

He expressed optimism that the Service would soon be generating the needed revenue for government through improved excise duties from local industries aside from the tobacco and alcohol which he said are the leading revenue generating items for federal government.

Lamenting the menace of smuggling activities which he said has resulted in the loss of considerable revenue, the Customs boss urged the Ibikunle Amosun led administration in Ogun to partner NCS in its anti – smuggling crusade.

This, he said Ogun government can do by enlisting the assistance of the traditional rulers, particularly in the border towns to create a community relations between NCS and the citizens which will educate their subject not to see smuggling as a business, lamenting that the Service loses its personnel to the nefarious activities of the smugglers “almost on daily basis”.

Reacting to the NCS’ charge, Governor Amosun said his administration has always encouraged traditional rulers in the state on sensitising their subjects on the illegalities of smuggling.

While emphasising that no country can succeed without a vibrant, committed and well equipped Customs Service, Amosun charged the Customs’ boss to instill it on his personnel to always exercise greater caution when dealing with the members of the public, particularly the Ogun market men and women.

He expressed dissatisfaction on the attitude of the Customs’ personnel who entered market stalls to confiscate textile materials suspected to have entered Ogun markets from Kano without duty.

The governor also charged the NCS boss to always fathom Ogun state in the policy formulation in a way that will attract development to the state, stressing that Ogun has the higher number of industries which pay excise duty to NCS.

While assuring that his administration would continue to do its best to assist the Service, Amosun also said that the on-going 110 Kilometers Ilara – Ijohun – Tata – Egua – Ipokia road being constructed by his administration was aimed at discouraging smuggling activities since the NCS would have its men manning check points on it.

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