Nigeria rakes in between N5 billion and N6 billion daily from imports since the closure of its land borders with neighbouring countries.
Prior to the closure in August 2019, daily duty collections hovered between N4 billion and N5 billon.
The Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hammed Ali (retd.), who stated this on Tuesday at a forum on the “Impact of Land Border Closure on the Nigerian economy” attributed the rise to increased activities at the nation’s seaports.
“The NCS daily collection before the border closure ranged between N4 to N5 billion but now, the NCS collects N5billion to N6 billion daily as a result of the rise in activities at the nation’s sea ports,” Ali said
The forum was organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), and the support of Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in Lagos.
The Customs’ boss, who was represented by the ACG/Zonal Co-ordinator, Zone A, KayCee Ekekezie, also said the border closure had led to a 30 per cent drop in fuel hitherto supplied by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for local consumption.
He added that the sums being realised from the ports would help the Federal Government provide more infrastructure and add fillip to critical sectors of the economy.
“This (money) will be used to build more infrastructure and develop critical sectors of the nation’s economy. The border drill has also curbed the diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to our neighboring countries.
“NNPC records shows a 30 per cent drop in fuel consumption, which means that we have been subsidizing fuel for neighboring countries,” he said
Ali also stated that before the border closure, NCS had engaged the customs of neighboring countries severally, drawing their attention to the need to comply with ECOWAS protocols on transit of goods and persons.
“The protocol demands that when a transit container berths at a seaport, the receiving country is mandated to escort same without tampering with the seal to the border of the destination country.
”Unfortunately, experience has shown that our neighbours do not comply with the protocol, rather they break the seals of containers on transit to Nigeria at their ports and transload the goods in open trucks, which belong to their country. The trucks will in turn make entry into Nigeria and trans load same onto Nigerian trucks,” Ali added
The President of LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, said the border closure had had positive and negative implications for the economy.
“We have seen appreciable increase in domestic rice and poultry products production and decrease in fuel smuggling to neighboring countries.
“The directive paid off for the NCS as revenue generated by the agency increased to N1.34 trillion in 2019 from N1.2 trillion in 2019,” she said.
She added that food inflation continued to uptrend, hitting a record 14.7 per cent in December 2019, the highest in 20 months.
Mabogunje said the policy had also led to unplanned losses for manufacturers, especially those who export their products by road.
The Advisor, Borderless Alliance, Mr. Caleb Omoyiola, said the policy had resulted in increased internally-generated revenues, rise in consumption of local products and reduction in smuggling.