Customs revenue going up, despite ban on rice importation

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The Customs Command in Apapa, Lagos met its 2013 revenue target, despite initial fears that the government policy on rice importation, through the port, would pose an insurmountable challenge. The government had last year added rice to the list of prohibited items.The Apapa Custom Command is presently making about N1.7 billion daily.

The command which last year posted over N250 billion to meet its revenue target, despite the fact that duty from rice which dipped to only N10.1 billion or four percent had hitherto remained the commands major revenue earner.

For instance, in 2011 duty from rice accounted for 55 percent of the command’s revenue; when all other items put together yielded 45 percent; out of total revenue figure of N235billion.

In 2012 when the command posted a total revenue figure of N285.6billion, rice import duty collection stood at N125.3 billion or 43.9 percent; when other items accounted for N160.1 billion.

Surprisingly, in 2013, though rice dipped to 4 percent which amounted to only N10.1 billion, revenue nonetheless still rose to N250.2billion.

“If the thinking cap is worn, a lot more can be collected into the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria” declared Comptroller, Ekpowe Edike who commended the government’s rice ban initiative, which he opined had engendered the growing wave of rice plantation in the country.

“Rice plantations are now springing up all over the place now, while more of our compatriots are earning a good living”, he stated further, adding that he was also in consultation with the foreign terminal managing giant, the APMT, Apapa, em-barking on sharing out a large chunk of containers arriving his command to other terminals outside his command, as a result of his patriotic zeal and belief that all revenue duty collected, naturally goes into the purse of the Federal Government; through the Nigeria Customs Service.

Meanwhile, the command has appealed to the business class, in respect of challenges arising from server down-time, affecting Customs agents, stressing that it was as a result of the failure of the link supplied by the MTN, a telecom service provider.

He also made public, his warnings to his officers, that henceforth, on no one’s table, should a SGD spend more than 20 minutes; and urged agents to report any officer who keeps SGD on for more than such minutes.
“However, while I say this, let me also caution, that those who come to equity, must come with clean hands”, he highlighted further, noting that the overall Customs Service revenue target for 2014 was N1.2 trillion.

“For now, the target for Apapa is not yet known. But, we are poised, confident and determined to meet the challenges, whenever we are given!” he concluded-International Trade Monitor