Seme Customs revenue drops over ban on land borders vehicles importation

The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) recorded steep decline in its revenue generation, as the bulk of its revenue were halted by the Federal Government’s policy banning the importation of new and fairly used vehicles through the land borders.

Nigeria Customs Service

The Command’s revenue profile for March 2017, showed that it generated about N474.5 million, while 62 seizures with duty paid value of N25.7 million were recorded. The Command had November and December 2016, surpassed its monthly revenue target with a collection of N1.2 billion and N1.5 billion respectively, when importers and agents were hurrying to meet the January 1, 2017 deadline, to clear the backlog of imported vehicles from the border posts.

During the period, the command witnessed a boost, as 848 seizures with a duty paid value of N608 million were also recorded.
However, by January 2017, the Command revenue profile dropped drastically to N594 million, while the earnings in March, stood at N474.5 million.

Its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Selchang Taupyen, who confirmed the figures in a statement, said the recent development (ban on vehicle importation through the land borders) had a negative impact on the revenue drive of the Command.

He also attributed the reduced revenue generation to low level of economic activities since the beginning of the year. The Customs Area Controller, Mohammed Aliyu, has however assured of prospects for increases in the Command’s revenue profile, as he is engaging critical stakeholders in a series of mutual consultations on the way forward and also proffer solutions to get out of what he described as “an ugly trend”.

Taupyen further explained that the challenging downturn in activities witnessed in March persisted because of the “Slow pace of economic activities commenced in the month of March 2017, after exhausting the backlog of uncleared goods at the Atlas Park since December 2016.The empty vehicle parks indicated that there were no importations through the land border as at the time of the visit.

“The downward trend in economic activities in the month of March 2017 resulted in very low revenue generated by the Command N474.5 million. The Command also made 62 seizures with a duty paid value of N25.7 million for the period under review. It is pertinent to note that the challenge witnessed in the month of March 2017 still persists.

“This recent development is of utmost concern to the Nigeria Customs Service as the scenario has had negative impact in the revenue drive of the command,” Taupyen stated.

Meanwhile, clearing agents are also complaining of being idle due to lack of consignments at the borders. The Chairman, Seme Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Lasisi Fanu, complained on the benchmark that was raised by the service with over 150 per cent increment. The situation, he said, was not favorable to importers, hence the change of route by some of them.

Fanu added that recession occasioned by the increase in foreign exchange rate also affected the importation of goods.