By UCHE USIM
Terrorist threats, rise in piracy and economic downturn in Europe have been described as the impediments that may rob the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of achieving the N1.4 trillion 2013 revenue target handed over to it by the Federal Government.
The above development, economic experts say, has led to a sharp drop in cargo that comes into the country‚Äôs ports. A recent agency report said a spike in piracy off Nigeria‚Äôs oil-rich coast has shown gangs are willing to venture further afield and use more violent tactics, thus increasing the risk of doing business in Nigeria.
This has forced ships to arrive Nigerian ports in convoy, to further guarantee the security and safety of the vessel, occupants and the cargo on board. Customs Area Controller, PTML Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Apapa, Lagos, Z. A. Jibrin, has also expressed fears that the command may not meet its projected N90 billion revenue target. ‚ÄúCargo volume drop is affecting us in the command and our revenue. The problem was high in February.
I hope the drop will not persist and if it does, it will affect our revenue target. But we are hopeful that it will subside. If it does, we shall meet our revenue target and even surpass it,‚Äù he said. The Nigeria Customs Service failed to meet its self-imposed target of N1.2 trillion last year and fears are rife that the same scenario will repeat itself this year.
Recall that the Federal Government set a revenue target of N800 billion last year for the NCS, which the Service hiked by N400 billion in setting its self-imposed N1.2 trillion 2012 target. The Service, however, had been able to attain the Federal Government‚Äôs 2012 N800 billion target, exceeding it slightly. The premier command, Apapa Area 1, in the breakdown of revenue distributed to the various area commands has the highest target of N470 billion, going by its monthly target of N39 billion.
The Tin-Can Island Port Command is expected to generate a monthly target of N28 billion, adding up to N339 billion this year. Other commands such as Lagos Industrial and Lilypond commands are expected to generate a monthly target of N1billion, respectively, while Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command has a target of N3 billion. PTML and Seme Border commands, respectively, have a monthly target of N10 billion and N1billion.
The Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command has a monthly target of N4 billion. All the revenue-generating commands had failed to meet the revenue target set for them last year by the Customs Headquarters.