- Customs Revenue Fell by N216.5bn in 2016
The revenue target of the Nigeria Customs Service for 2016 fell by N216.5bn, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), told the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Abuja.
This was a dip of 23.11 per cent as against the original target of N937.3bn set for the year.
The agency only succeeded in collecting N720.7bn or 76.89 per cent of the target revenue between January and December last year.
The NCS collected N177.9bn as Value Added Tax on imports, bringing the total revenue collection to N898.6bn.
Ali had appeared before the House Committee on Customs to defend the Customs 2017 budget estimates.
The committee is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Lagos State, Mr. James Faleke.
The Federal Government had started efforts to diversify the economy in 2016 by focusing on non-oil revenue resources, particularly through the NCS.
But, Ali told the lawmakers that certain factors led to the drop in revenue collection.
For example, he stated that while there was a proposed policy to collect levies on luxury items consumed by the super-rich, there was no legal backing to enforce it.
This implies that luxury goods were imported all through 2016 without the payment of levies.
“There was no legal backing to enforce the collection of the proposed levy on luxury items. There was no importation of polished rice in the period under review,” he added.
When asked by the committee to mention the luxury items to be covered by the proposed policy, the CG listed them as luxury cars, champagne and furniture.
He added, “Some of our emirs and other traditional rulers love to import Royce Rolls and very expensive cars. You have costly wines and so on for some of the super-rich. The government is saying that if you have decided to buy something out of the ordinary, you should pay a levy.
“But, we need a legal framework and policy pronouncement by the Ministry of Finance for the Customs to enforce the levy. We have to be able to determine what to collect on the various categories of items.”
Another factor Ali mentioned was the decision of the government to place 41 items on the restriction list from accessing forex at the official window.
He added that the drop in the value of the naira, collapsed scanners at border points and the porous nature of the country’s borders also affected the revenue target.
Out of the budgeted N81.2bn for its operations in 2016, Ali stated that only N45bn was eventually accessed by the agency.
He claimed that to be able to continue to pay salaries, the NCS had to fall back to the N6.1bn savings it accrued over time for the purpose of such interventions.
Lawmakers grilled the CG on the insistence of the service to execute the ban it had placed on the importation of vehicles through land borders.
Ali said the policy was justifiable to grow the Nigerian economy.
According to him, Benin Republic enjoys the revenue for cars driven in Nigeria.
He argued that 99.9 per cent of cars imported into Benin always ended up in Nigeria through smuggling and other illegal activities on the land borders.
“Why should we be growing the economy of another country when our own is facing challenges? That is the point that we have been making. That Benin cars will come to Nigeria after they have collected their import duties over there,” Ali added.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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