ANLCA BoT Applauds Nigeria Customs on ICD
Task FG to Scrap Revenue Target Setting
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Chairman Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha yesterday felicitated with the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), officers and men on the occasion of this year’s Customs International Day (ICD), noting the NCS invaluable contributions to national security and the growth of the port economy in particular is commendable.
Mustapha in a statement signed by himself and made available to our reporter said while the NCS is engaged in self appraisal and evaluation of its activities for the year 2021, its supervising Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF) and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) should discontinue the imposition of annual revenue target, which he argues is impacting negatively on trade facilitation and the image of the customs service.
He said while the registered board identifies with the concerns of importers, customs brokers and freight forwarders that the 2022 Customs Revenue Target of N4.1trillion was way too huge for industry comfort, he believes the Customs Service is no less a victim of the oppressive revenue target regime, which subjects its officers and men into engaging in revenue mobilization through tricks and hooks, making the Service target of public opprobrium.
The statement reads in part: “On behalf of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the Board of Trustees (BoT), l wish to felicitate with the Comptroller General, Management, Officers and Men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for this year’s International Customs Day.
“I understand it is a period to reflect, engage and introspect about global customs administrations, and to map out strategies to improve on customs administration in the area of trade facilitation, digitization, trade recovery amongst other things.
“I also on behalf of the BoT wish to make an intervention on the NCS 2022 Revenue target made public recently, and which has attracted few reactions by segments of the port industry stakeholders. With all sense of humility and duty, l believe we all have a right to be concerned about its impact on the survival of businesses, and particularly on the maritime sector.
“The BoT is also concerned about our members’ fate in a regime that believe in successive jack up of revenue to the detriment of trade facilitation; which has been a recurring issue, inherited by the current customs management.”
He explained that revenue target setting not only encumber port and freight operations but also distort the fiscal policy system, which engenders an immoral official mechanism designed to rip off importers and clearing agents through hooks and tricks; thereby also subjecting the productive real sector into avoidable harsh operating environment.
“We also recognize that this yearly revenue target ritual is a policy directive of the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF) handed down to the Nigeria Customs Service. We have seen where the NCS do struggle to meet such targets, and in some cases have failed; so, in a way, even Customs itself is a victim of this unfair revenue target, while importers, agents and freight forwarders are the worst for it.
“The registered ANLCA BoT think that the setting of annual revenue target is primitive, have no place in modern day customs trade; a distortion to the Fiscal Mechanism, and a disservice to National growth. We humbly call on the Federal Government to abrogate Revenue Target System, focus more on Trade Facilitation, promotion of friendly business environment, improved economic security, and cease from putting the NCS under pressure, papered to instigate economic strangulation.
“We are dismayed about the constant harassment of the NCS into engaging in improper mode of revenue generation. We urge the Federal Government to stop belittling the Service and refrain from pushing its officers and men into engaging in official highhandedness just to satisfy the federal government morbid and unethical quest for More Revenue; in the light of its negative impact on the economy.”
According to the association board chairman, rather than continue to scare away players from the nation’s import industry, the federal government should seek ways to reinvent the national tax system to encourage the redistribution of revenue projection, which he noted has been allowed to rest unfairly on the port sector.
“Operatives of the NCS have been made too much victim of unnecessary high handedness through unpopular revenue policy thrusts, and yet, officers’ Welfare and Wage remain poor compared to other agencies of government involved in revenue generation.
“It’s about time the federal government stops this oppressive anti-economic policies which is inimical to the operations of the customs brokers. The BoT implores the FG to leverage its revenue collection mechanism in all fiscal avenues, develop mechanism to tap into other areas, both formal and informal; and stop its inappropriate focus on the freight and port industry.
“We believe that with an improved and equitable tax and revenue generation system across all sectors, reduced import duty waivers, fiscal and monetary policies with human face, improved maritime security, the oppressive grip on the port economy which indirectly puts the Customs Service in negative searchlight, and its indirect suffocating grip on importers and customs brokers, will definitely abate.”
The statement continues: “We cannot continue to make the NCS or Customs Agents the weeping children. It is wrong and unfair to continually put out the NCS and its officers and men as tax collectors without morality, in addition to making freight forwarders the underdog, while other Nigerians are the saints.
“ANLCA BoT believe that as long as this ugly system remain, the transfer of aggression from officers to agents and importers will have no other result but negative. Let’s rejig the entire tax system and create an acceptable and ethical tax value chain that meets with global best practices.”