The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hamid Ali (rtd) has said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) free trade treaty may affect revenue collection of the service in the year.
Ali reported at hearing of the Customs 2021 budget defence before the House Committee on Customs and Excise, said the two agreements tended towards zero duty for goods imported from member countries who are signatories to the two agreements.
The budget defence of the Service was cut short on March 4, 2021, following the news of the sudden death of the former Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Yuguda Kila.
Ali was reacting to the statement by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Leke Abejide that the Committee was increasing Customs’ revenue target from N1.4 trillion to N1.6 trillion, the same target given Customs last year before the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Customs chief said the take-off of the AfCFTA and the WTO treaties of free, which took off on January 1, 2021, would, no doubt, affect revenue collection of the service as the two agreements are tailored towards zero duty on goods imported from member countries.
He, therefore, warned the National Assembly against increasing the revenue target given to the service from N1.4 trillion to N1.6 trillion, stressing that if the Service is able to surpass the target, it would, definitely, reflect on its collection for the year.
He said: “On the issue of increasing the 2021 budget from N1.4 trillion to N1.6 trillion, let me say that the target set by the Federal Government is based on some parameters and not based on actual computation.”
“The budget committee sits down and take a look at it and do a projection and with our own officers, we sit down and look at what is feasible that can be generated.’’