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Customs raking in N5.8bn daily since border closure – Hameed Ali

Hameed Ali, comptroller general of the Nigeria Customs Service, says the agency has been generating an average revenue between N4.7bn and N5.8bn daily since the borders were closed.

Ali made this known on Wednesday while answering questions from the joint national assembly committee on finance working on the 2020 – 2022 medium-term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy paper.

The Nigerian government had closed its borders since August to curb smuggling.

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He said smugglers from neighbouring countries now have no choice than to bring their goods through the ports, which they pay duty on.

“When we closed the border my fear was that our revenue is going to drop. To be honest, our revenue kept increasing, ” Ali said.

“There was a day in September that we collected N9.2billion in one day. It has never happened before.

“This is after the closure of the border and since then, we have maintained an average of about N4.7billion to N5.8 billion on a daily basis which is far more than we used to collect.

“What we have discovered is that most of those cargoes that used to go to Benin (Republic), shipped to Benin, continue and then discharged and smuggled into Nigeria, now that we have closed the border they are forced to bring their goods to either Apapa or Tin Can Island and we have to collect duty on them.

“If that would continue to us it is a welcome situation. As a matter of fact, to answer your question, our revenue has not reduced. As a matter of fact, it is increasing as a result of closing the border.”

He also said there has been a significant reduction in the amount of fuel consumed daily in Nigeria.

“About 10.2million litres of fuel has now been cut down from what we have been assuming to have been consuming. This 10.2million litres of fuel is always going to cross the border, “he said.

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“The issue here is that there is an incentive because there is a price differential. And that is why our people keep pushing this fuel.

“If you go to Ilaro today, the filling stations that are there…in Idiroko, there are over 50 to 60 filling stations in one place and they are close to the border.

“And what we have discovered is that they bring in fuel in the afternoon and in the night they siphon it. They do that every day and this is why we keep saying we are consuming so many litres of fuel every day.”

In his Independence Day broadcast, President Muhammadu Buhari had said revenue generating agencies of the government will face severe consequences for not achieving agreed targets.