The Contributions Of The Nigeria Customs Service To Revenue Generation In Nigeria By Musa Omale

A review By Stephen Ubanna

‘’The  Contributions of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to Revenue generation  in Nigeria’’, is an article, written by a resourceful Musa Godwin Omale, Ph.D and who incidentally is a Deputy Comptroller, attached to the Tin-can Island Command, published  in European Modern Studies Journal vol.5No.4, 2021.

 The role of the NCS, which is a revenue generating agency of the government, cannot be overemphasized. This is because it is in the same category with such other revenue generating agencies  such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which may soon, go by the planned new name of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, after incorporation with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, in the next six months, and the Federal Island Revenue Service, FIRS.

 Given the importance of the NCS, in enhancing trade Facilitation, in the country, the Author, Omale, had said, the NCS ,had lived up to its expectation in revenue generation  despite the country’s eonomic challenges, which had  adversely affected  the price of oil  in the International market. The sharp drop in oil price in the international market had affected NNPC sales and revenue paid into the Federation account, leaving barely enough for the  three tiers of government, Federal, state and the Local government to share on a  monthly basis.

 The situation was so bad for the  Corporation that President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired , army General, had looked up to the Hameed Ali, a retired army Colonel led agency, to fill the vaccum, by ensuring that the NCS, generate the required revenue that would be shared by the three levels of government. Indeed, the agency had met the government expectations. 

   The Author had recommended the putting in  place of the Arusha Declaration policy, which,many believe is working out in Tanzania, Late Julius Nyerere, home country and other countries that have adopted the policy in  the African continent .He believes that the policy  if  adopted by the Nigerian government and properly implemented will improve the service  revenue collection efficiency.

 Drawing from the reports of the Trade and Tariff department, the Author noted that between 1989 and 2020, the service had generated about N14.7 trillion, which was paid into the Federation account. This huge revenue generation in 22 years from the non-oil sector,  clearly shows the significant contributions of the NCS, towards the development of the nation’s economy, which the Author, had tried to highlight in his published article in the European Studies of Modern JournalTaking the service, through the memory lane, from the time it was established, to resume revenue collection from the then Colonial government using the Lugardian system for its operations to the establishment of the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, Cap, 2004, which is currently being reviewed by the agency experts. The Author, stated that the service has never failed the nation, even in trying times, when other revenue generating agencies, were still struggling to meet up their yearly revenue target.

Given an overview of the functions of the government revenue generating agency which includes collection of duties from non-oil sources, (import., export and excise duties), combating smuggling activities across the country and protection of the country’s economic security, the Author emphasised the need for the government to initiate policies that would further encourage more non-oil exports to earn Forex for the country.

Besides, the Customs major, Functions of collecting revenue and Combating smuggling activities, across the country, the Author gave an insight into the Advisory roles of the service to the government which includes  educating the public on prohibited and non-prohibited goods for imports and exports, boarding and rummaging of aircrafts, cargo and haulage examination  at the  seaports, airports, Land border Areas and checkpoints as well as processing of imports and exports clearance through the Customs Processing Centre, CPC,  Detection of imports, exports and Excise duty offences, including Detention of seizures and arrest of offenders. This is in addition to Excise control and Investigation of importers and exporters, with their agents, who have contravened the government Fiscal policy.

The author, who, maritime analysts had said is well versed in Customs operations and the legal document, CEMA, had  documented in his published work that   the service performance as enshrined on the CEMA, is geared towards increased revenue collection for the government. He has alluded to the fact that the role of the service was crucial to the realisation of the past and present governments’ economic vision for the country.

He has  x-rayed  the service efforts  in achieving  a sustainable Agricultural growth , particular, rice production  in the county  to take over control of the domestic and the larger Economic Community of West African  States, ECOWAS, sub-regional markets, which had been dominated over  the years by the North American country of Vietnam  and the  Asian countries of Thailand and indian, produced  par boiled  and Agric, rice respectively.

 The Author who had quoted copiously from the works of other relevant Authors, particular,   Eze. C.C, who had stated in his work, The Role of the NCS, in achieving growth in Nigeria, the entrepreneurial option revisited,  that the country’s Agricultural sector alone, employs over 70% of the nation’s workforce.

 The Author had said in his work that between 2010 and 2017,  based on Research findings that the sector contributed N3.7 billion on a yearly basis to the economy which had accounted to 40% of the growth of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP .

The Author, had opined in his report that the NCS, in the recent times had put some measures in place   to further boost its revenue generating capacity and which have continued to act as a stimulant to its increased revenue generating capacity over the last couple of years.

This includes the introduction of e-manifest, e-payment, e-notification to other government control agencies, e-government Platform for Single Window , e-release and e- provision of NCS national private  telecom network.

The Author, of the published article on the Contributions of the NCS, to Revenue Generation  in Nigeria had described  the e- Customs  as a very robust Project and in line with past Objective expectations , to provide  the best  for the NCS, in order to achieve its statutory responsibility  of  revenue collections and anti-smuggling operations.

The Author had looked at the various reforms of the service over the years describing it as an unending reforms.He has stated in his work that if the past Customs reforms had made the appreciable impact in the service, there would not have been any need for the e-Customs Project.

 The Customs Deputy Comptroller, had stated in his work, that the  Senate Committee on Customs remains the major  threat  to the e-Customs Project.This is evident with the invitatio extended to Ali, the Customs Comptroller General to appear before the Committee on several occasions to throw more light on the e- Customs Project.

The Author had alluded to the fact as stated by the Senate Committee on Customs that the service having awarded a contract of N384 million for upgrade of its scanner machines, that there was no need to migrate to any e-Customs, rather the service  should go ahead to recruit more Information Communications Technology, ICT, personnel.  He, however opined, that if Nigerians would embrace the e-Customs Project, and do the right thing, it would become the future game changer to more revenue generation in the country.

The Author had concluded in his work by stating that the contributions of the NCS, in the country’s revenue generation in the face of the dwindling oil revenue due to the drop in the price in the internationational market speaks volume. He observed that despite the challenges the service had faced over the years in its revenue Collection drive, it has stopped at noting to ensure that its yearly targets set for it are met and even surpassed.

The Omale’s article, which is published  in an international Journal and currently being reviewed  by Stephen Ubanna, makes an interesting read for every Customs officer and other Nigerians, interested in  knowing more  about  the functions of the service and why officers and men of the service must take very  seriously every assignment  that have to do with revenue  collection for the government  and combating smuggling activities  across the country  to ensure that the country is not turned as a dumping ground  for foreign Manufactured goods and Agricultural products.

The Author deserved to be Commended  for giving thoughts to write  such an insightful article,  which was published in a foreign Journal and  which  have further exposed the works of the NCS, to the international Community and Nigerians , who are still groaning in the dark about the responsibilities of the NCS, as  all other agencies  are virtually  doing Customs job, particular, the police.

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