By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has faulted the Federal Government on the N4.1 billion revenue target given to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for 2022, describing it as a high target that will put undue pressure on the agency.
It posited that the target would also undermine its core responsibility of facilitating trade between Nigeria and other countries.
President of ANLCA, Hon Iju Tony Nwabunike stated this in Lagos at the weekend during a press briefing to celebrate the four years of his executives on the leadership of the foremost freight forwarding association in Nigeria.
“Pursuing bigger revenue and failing to strengthen trade results in greater losses to the economy as investments are either threatened, reduced or made non existent.” He also said that totality of customs efforts deployed into revenue pursuit reduces the service’s productivity in many ways”, Nwabunike stated.
He further warned President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Finance not to sign the proposed $3.1 billion the customs modernisation contract, saying it would tie down the NCS to a 20 year debt repayment programme that is not necessary for the country which is already contending with huge foreign and domistic debts which are gulping over 85 per cent of the nation’s annual revenue.
Nwabunike said: “We want to also advise the Federal Government to be careful before signing into the $3.1 billion Customs Modernisation Project which we heard, will run for 20 years.
We urge President Muhammadu Buhari and the Finance Minister to avoid assenting to the deal. “Nigeria is already in serious debts and customs being a strategic non-oil revenue earner for government shouldn’t be tied to another long term debt repayment for two decades.
“On this, we call on the National Assembly to take a closer look at the details and ensure that the Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria Customs Service and all parties involved observe due diligence that won’t entrap the country in another long term debt repayment for 20 years and maybe for lesser value,” he said.
He commended the Federal Government for its recent inauguration of an expanded partnership committee on blue economy chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, saying its a very bold step in the right direction.
“For us, this shows more commitment by the Buhari administration to maritime matters. We urge the committee to go beyond conference room talk and paperwork to addressing real challenges militating against full harvesting of our marine environment benefits in a sustainable manner.”
Nwabunike concluded by calling on Federal Government to ensure that it includes the ANLCA in some of its committees, saying “As a body of Customs Brokers, practitioners and investors,” they have vast experience in trade matters