The Senate Committee on Customs, on Monday, disclosed that there is a need to increase the revenue target set for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the second half of 2024 to enable the Federal Government meet up with its debt obligations.
Isah Jibrin, Chairman of the Committee at a meeting with Adewale Adeniyi, NCS’ Comptroller-General, in Abuja, said the Federal Government needed to minimize the loans it takes.
“Nigeria is saddled with a lot of debt obligations and we need to wriggle ourselves out of that trap and one of the ways to do that is internally generated revenue.
“Customs is one of the major providers of internally generated revenue and as it is today, we expect them to play one of the major roles in this drive to reduce our debt burden.
“We need to pay off what we are owing now and minimize additional loans we are going to take.
“Customs is in a very good position, if they are able to block all perceived leakages, they should be able to generate a significant amount of income that will enable Nigeria to get out of debt, at least partially,” Jibrin said.
The lawmaker said concessions should only be given to certain sectors of the economy such as solid minerals and agriculture.
“Concessions were in the interest of Nigeria to encourage importers who are going into specific areas in the economy.
“There is a trade off here between importers and the country, particularly the things you think you are generating,” he said.
Adeniyi, on his part, said the volatility of the exchange rate has made “adequate planning” a difficult task.
“It is the mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to fix the rate, either the one we use during the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF or the one we use for importation or the one used for payment of customs duties.
“I have been in discussions with my minister. Perhaps, what you are going to advocate is that there would be a meeting point between authorities of government that are in charge of monetary policy and those in charge of fiscal policies,” the customs boss added.
The NCS currently has a target of N5 trillion to meet for the 2024 fiscal year.