The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, has clarified that the 2022 revenue target given to the Service by the federal government is N3.1 trillion and not N4.1 trillion as reported by some sections of the media.
Ali disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at a media briefing held on the sidelines of the 2022 International Customs Day celebrations themed: “Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by Embracing a Digital Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem”.
On accusations that the Service seems to be focused on revenue generation and not trade facilitation, Ali said Customs remained a major revenue generator and trade facilitator of the country as such could not down play one role and promote the other.
“We are a major contributor to economy of Nigeria. You can’t facilitate trade without revenue. Then the third arm is national security. No aspect of our mandate is raised above the other. They go hand in hand,” he explained.
To deepen trade facilitation, the Customs boss noted that three multidimensional scanners have been deployed in Apapa, Tin Can and Onne seaports.
“They detect organic and inorganic substances. We can’t facilitate trade manually, hence our investments in digital operations. e-Customs will ensure we have 135 scanners in all our ports and land borders. In the next two years, no point of entry and exit will not have scanners. They have capacity to scan 20 containers in one hour. It’ll store images and we can do analysis with them,” he stated.
Ali also stressed the need for a Customs data ecosystem to be built on trust in recognition of the extensive volume of data the Service collects on actors in the international trade chain including the citizens, government agencies, local and transnational companies.
He noted that the growth NCS’ capacity to facilitate more trade transactions peaked at 858,843 transactions in 2021.
“This translates to 17.26% increase in the volume of transactions handled in the year 2020. Another, patent result of our effort in this regards is in our landmark revenue collection of NGN 2.28 trillion in 2021. All these would not be possible without digital transformation and scaling up the use of data,” he said.
In his goodwill message, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), Dr Kunio Mikuriya, said the focus of global Customs operations in 2022 would be on digital data that Customs administrations collect in large volume through digital technology.
“Throughout this year, Customs Community will be focusing on how to create an operating model in a fully digitalized environment that captures and exploits data.
“To build a data ecosystem or consolidate existing ones, the following enabling actions may be considered: establishing formal data governance to ensure the relevance, accuracy and timeliness of data; making use of international standards regarding data format and data exchange;
ensuring that the right people have access to the right data and that protection regressions are respected; and adopting progressive approaches such as data analytics to collect and successfully exploit data to drive decision making”, he said.
Mikuriya added that a robust data culture empowers people to ask questions, challenges ideas and rely on detailed insight, not just intuition or incision, to make evidence-based decisions.