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Senate investigates over N235 billion Customs revenue shortfall

Senate on Tuesday directed itts committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff to probe how the Nigeria Customs Service {NCS} recorded a revenue shortfall of N235 billion by the last quarter of last year.

Senate decision to investigate the operations of NCS follows a motion by Senator Isaac Mohammed Alfa representing Kogi East.

Alfa noted with serious concern that the “revenue projection of Nigeria Customs Service has not been met despite multiple strategies and policy initiatives to improve revenue generation”.

The lawmaker observes that in the first quarter of 2016,the Tin Can Island and Apapa Command of NCS recorded a revenue shortfall of N2.7 and N2.5 billion respectively in 2015.

Alfa believes the revenue shortfall is “as a result of unwholesome fraudulent trade malpractice, under declaration, abuse of fiscal policies, concealment, false declaration of value and wrong classification.

Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central laments the decline in NCS revenue at a time when Nigeria’s economy is facing recession.

He said what is happening to NCS is a reflection of fall in the volume of trade and commerce.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu believes the motion is timely; emphasising the need to ensure that government block all leakages and optimise the revenue potential of customs.

“It’s time we block all leakages in the system and optimise the revenue potential of the Customs Service so as to increase all revenue”, he said.

While commenting Senate President Bukola Saraki believes there is need to clean up the Nigeria Customs pointing out that “the place is stinking”.

He notes that the drop in Customs revenue has sharply affected government revenue as well as the need to plug all leakages.

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