The Nigerian Senate has discovered huge loopholes in the operations of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in its responsibility of generating revenue for the federal government.
In a motion sponsored by Senator Isaac Alfa (Kogi East) and 6 others, the Senate exposed how the Customs Service recorded a revenue shortfall of N230 billion by the last quarter of 2015.
The Senate also alleged that, “the Tin Can Island and Apapa Command of the Customs Service recorded another revenue shortfall of 2.7 and 2 billion Naira respectively, compared with the corresponding period in 2015.”
While leading a debate on the motion, Senator Alfa said, “the revenue shortfall is as a result of unwholesome fraudulent trade malpractices, under declaration, abuse of fiscal policies concealment, over and under invoicing, force declaration of value and wrong classification.
Senator Alfa, while urging the Senate to invoke legislative action in creating an enabling environment that sees the NCS thrive and in effect dramatically increase the revenue accruable to the country; he also canvased for multiple revenue sources to augment the dwindling oil revenue.
On his part, Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) expressed concern over the low volume of trade and commerce in the country.
“The Nigerian Customs Service is not a mere Paramilitary body; it is an agency of the government specifically established to generate revenue for the country.
We sit here and talk about budget and others, and the Customs sit there doing nothing”, Senator Shehu said.
While ruling on the motion, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki charged the federal government to intensify efforts at generating more revenues for the country.
He said, “in this period of economic recession, the government needs to improve generation of revenue.
“There are a lot of loopholes and leakages on the part of the Customs. Recently, somebody returned the sum of N1bn to the federal government.”
The Senate, therefore, resolved to carry out a holistic investigation into the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service, with the view to identifying the leakages and irregularities in the service.
Credit: Onogwu Muhammed