Senate wants quarterly reports from Customs, FIRS

Col. Hameed Ali

Col. Hameed Ali

The Senate Committee on Finance has directed all the revenue-generating agencies in the country to henceforth prepare and submit reports of their performances on quarterly basis to the committee for assessment.

This development came as the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) yesterday said Nigeria lost a total of N138.9 billion, representing 35.5 per cent in income generation expected from the agency between January and May, 2016.

Ali said the agency generated the total sum of N312.9 billion for the country within the period under review.

The amount generated, according to him, was from Valued Added Tax (VAT) and the Negotiable Duty Credit Certificate (NDCC).

The custom boss spoke at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Finance led by Senator John Enoh on the performance of his agency.

He also disclosed that within the period, the NCS lost a total of N138.9 billion out of the N390.6 billion it was expected to generate within the period.

He further stressed that the agency was able to gather the sum of N251.8 billion out of which the sum of N211.124,434,386.60 was generated for the Federation Account with the sum of N40,591,872,059.41 generated for Non Federation Account.

Giving a breakdown of revenue generation within the period, the Customs boss said: “Compared to last year of what we are expected to generate, we are in deficit of 18,406,949,135.55 as against the sum of NN78,110,936,416.67 expected to be generated in the month of January.”

For the month of February, the Customs, according to Ali, lost N27,176,737,878.21 instead of N78,110,936.416.67 just as the sum of N28,910,737,844.24 could not be realised from N78,110,936,416.67 expected in the month.

According to him, the agency equally lost the sum of N32,304,439,625.98 from N78,110,936,416.67 in April just as it lost N32,039,511,153.56 from the expected generation of the sum of  N78,110,936,416.67 in the month of May.

“With this, it means we have 35 per cent less than what we are supposed to have generated,” he said.

He attributed the loss to three variables, which according to him, included the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) new forex policy and increase in volume of credit

Ali said: “The CBN forex policy has become a big problem to trade. Therefore, people are not importing and we are a nation that is dependent on importation. If people do not import, there will be no duty paid and Customs will have nothing to collect.

“With this trend, there is no way we can by any chance meet the target set to us. We are hoping and praying that with the release of the budget and with the now relaxed forex market, traders will begin to pick up and import things. If things do not improve, certainly, we are in big problem.”

In his remarks, Chairman of the committee, Senator John Enoh, who expressed worry over the development, directed all revenue generating agencies in the country to henceforth not only prepare but also submit their detailed performances to the committee.

“We hope that we will not have to wait for the revenue generating agencies to submit their detailed performance reports on quarterly basis. The revenue generating agencies will be making returns to the Senate Committee on Finance on what is going on their performances so that we will know how we are doing,”Enoh said.

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