Revenue:  How Tinubu, Cardoso, Prepare Ground For NCS, To Meet 2024 Target Of N6trn

By Stephen Ubanna

When President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state set the 2024 foreign exchange benchmark of N800.00 to the North American country of the United States, US, dollar, in calculating duties  on imports for the  Wale Adeniyi, MFR, led Nigerian Customs Service, NCS,  the government had set a target of N5.9trn for it.

 Adeniyi, the Custom Comptroller General, who may have seen it as challenge to prove that he can deliver on his mandate   had told the House Committee on Appropriation that he shares the optimism of increasing the Customs 2024 revenue that will be paid into the Federation Account to N6 trn.

 The Customs Comptroller General who had said that the target is achievable if the government will reduce the concessions granted importers, which had been on over the years. The Customs Comptroller General had said that the frequent waivers had impeded the service revenue generation and would not want to continue unchecked.  

 Based on the N5.79 trn, revenue target set for the service which was upped to N6trn by Adeniyi led Management Team, may have informed why they have set targets for the various Customs Formations.  Take for instance,Compt. Babajide Jaiyeoba, led Apapa Customs Command which handles over 70% of Nigerian bound imports was given a target of N1.8 trillion .Compts Dera Nnadi and Saidu Abba Yusuf, of Tincan Island port and Port Terminal Multi-services Limited, PTML, whose Area Command were said to have had revenue targets  of N1.13trn and N414 billion respectively . With the volatile movement of the naira exchanging for over N950.00 to the US dollar, may have convinced Compt. Jayeioba, Nnadi and other Customs Area Controllers that they will meet their respective targets and even surpass it at the end of 2024.

Michael Cardoso” Governor, CBN

Olayemi Michael Cardoso, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who has the ear of the Nigerian President may have prepared the ground for the various Customs revenue generating Commands, to be cocksure of meeting their 2024 revenue targets and even surpass it with ease by raising the exchange rate of calculating duties for clearance of cargoes at the nation’s seaports and the land border areas from N952.00 to one US dollar to N1, 356. T too883 the US dollar, meaning more money for Commands.

   Recall that President Tinubu led All Progressive Congress, APC, government   in December 2023, had raised the rate for cargo clearance at the ports and land border areas from N800.00 to N952.00 to one US, dollar.While Compts. Jaiyeoba, Nnadi, and other Area Controllers could   heave sigh of relief that that they will meet their 2024 revenue targets and even surpass it, importers with their clearing agents are no longer finding it funny in taking delivery of their cargoes at the ports and Land border areas because of the Friday, February 2, 2024, increase in the amount of clearing imported cargoes.

 The fear in both official and unofficial circles that with the increase in the exchange rate for calculating duties and cargo clearance at the ports and Land border Areas from N952.00 to N1,356. 883 to one US dollar in the country’s official foreign exchange rate market and the volatile movement of the exchange rate at the parallel, popular, Black market exchange rate, may impede importation of general cargoes and vehicles imports as ‘’it will decrease and depreciate’’. 

Maritime analysts are emphatic that importers with their clearing agents and other Customs Brokers Agents who may not be able to cope with the new exchange rate for clearance of cargoes at the country’s seaports and border Areas may be forced to relocate to the Autonomous Port of Benin, Cotonou, in neighbouring West African country of Benin Republic and other ports in the sub-region to take delivery of their cargoes at relatively affordable rate.

More worrisome was the fear being expressed in several quarters that ‘’the prices of imported goods and services will automatically go up, particular, vehicle prices. Deji Adeyanju, a Lagos based socialite had said that the naira had been devalued severally in the recent times  because  the former Lagos state born governor has appointed Cardoso, ‘’a failed Banker as the CBN governor’’.

 Adeyanju, who has taken the CBN governor, to the cleaners for contributing to the abysmal performance of the naira  against other world major currencies over the last eight months  , had said that’’ there was no basis for ‘’free floating of the naira’’ in the country’s foreign exchange market as  the country is an import dependent nation.

 He would want the Nigerian President to appoint an Economist with World Bank experience, in the category of of Ngozi Okonjo –Iweala, a former minister of Finance and coordinating minister of the Economy under former President Goodluck Jonathan and now, Director General, World Trade Organisation, TO, to repair the Nigerian economy that had been destroyed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in the eight years of his Administration.

The League of Maritime Editors , LOME, may have hit the nail on the head   when it stated that  the new  exchange  rate of calculating  duties on imports and cargo clearance   ‘’was bound to be  counterproductive   in addressing  the economic challenges   currently  being faced by the populace’’

The down turn in the nation’s economy may have informed why Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, Special Adviser to the President on Policy and Coordination, and Head Central delivery and Coordination Unit, CDCU, has beamed his searchlight on the ministry of Finance, which oversees the CBN and the NCS.

The CDCU, delivery officers, who were said to be working on the instructions of the President Aide on policy and Coordination were said to have taken a critical analysis at’’ the NCS, timeliness on the inspection and clearance of imported cargoes and exports at the seaports and Land border Areas to ensure that the service delivers on its revenue target of N5.79trn, increased to N6 trn, as Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General had promised.

Wale Adeniyi: CG, Customs

Note that the volatile movement of the naira to the US dollar, in both the official and the Parallel forex market which has affected every sector of the economy may have brought together the trio of Wale Edun, minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy, Cardoso, the CBN, governor, and Ola Olukoyede, a lawyer  and Executive  Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, who were said to  have held a closed door meeting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  ‘’to deliberate  on innovative strategies  aimed at revitalizing  the naira’’  which had faced challenges in recent market dynamics.

As a prelude to revitalizing the naira,  the ministry of Finance  in a statement had expressed its commitment  ‘’to aligning  monetary and fiscal policies and underscoring  a dedication to the Law’’, noting that the collaborative  efforts  of these key financial issues which aim  to enhance  the energy between  policies  and practices is the only way  ‘’to ensuring  a robust  response  to the prevailing economic challenges of the country’’. 

The strategic summit, according to a Federal ministry of Finance source ‘’reflects a united front among the financial stakeholders in addressing the complexities affecting the naira and implementing measures of sustained economic stability’’.

 Olukoyede, the EFCC, Executive Chairman who had thrown his weight to the initiatives that would stabilize the naira had said that ‘’upholding the integrity of the financial regulations ‘, would go a long way to revitalizing the naira in the country’s official Exchange rate market’’.

Nigerians are waiting to hear the outcome of the three-man summit, comprising of Edun, the minister of Finance, Cardoso, CBN, governor and Olukoyede, EFCC Chairman and the impact it will have on the naira and clearance of cargoes in the nation’s seaports and Land border Areas.           

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