The Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, has said the Service generated N1.167 trillion in the last seven months. Mr Ali disclosed this on Thursday at the public hearing on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance. He said NCS is on course to meet the N2.267 trillion target at the end of the fiscal year and that it beat the target in the 2021 fiscal calendar by N1.715 trillion as against the N1.67 trillion target in the budget. Mr Ali also spoke on the efforts by the Service to curb the importation of rice on the high seas.
He said NCS has been able to effectively patrol the land borders but struggles to patrol the marine areas. He stated that the agency has been hampered by a lack of boats. He added that the agency has acquired some ballistic boats and seeking to double its fleet.
“We don’t have adequate boats to patrol these waterways, and these waterways are ways smugglers use to smuggle rice.
“We have now done our analysis, and we have been able to isolate some of the places. We just commissioned some fast ballistic boats. In our budget, we are requesting to double the number of boats to effectively get our men to be mobile.
Mr Ali also alleged that the government of Benin Republic has been aiding smugglers into Nigeria, noting that the service is deploying diplomatic means to address the smuggling of rice. He stated that the NSC is partnering with the Nigerian Navy to help tackle smuggling on the high seas.
“We are also using the Navy to ensure that those that use the high sea…….. while we man the creeks and the marines.
“In addition, we have taken a diplomatic angle by discussing with the Benin Republic. Most of this rice comes from the Benin Republic. They don’t eat the type of rice we eat, they eat the sticky rice,” he said.