- …As Covid-19 weakens, carbonated drinks now excisable
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives on Tuesday raised the revenue target for the Nigerian Customs Service in the 2021 financial year from N1.465 trillion to N1.679 trillion.
The House Committee on Customs and Excise disclosed the increasment when the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali appeared before during the defence of the 2021 budget proposals and performance of the 2020 budget.
The increase is the retention of the initial approved target in the 2020 budget before the advent of Covid-19 pandemic which caused the sum to be revised to N1.380 trillion.
Chairman of the Committee, Leke Abejide said the decision of the lawmakers was based on the reduction in the effect of Covid-19 on economic activities with the availability and adminstration of vaccines and the approval given to the Service’s to proposal for carbonated drinks to be excisable.
Abejide acknowledged that despite the adverse effect of Covid-19, the Nigerian Customs Service was able to generate
N2.211 trillion so it can do better now that the pandemic is being contained and charged the agency to meet the targets of the budget.
He said: “Initially before Covid-19 came, the sum of N1.679 trillion was given to the Service to generate and despite the Covid-19 you were able to generate N2.211 trillion and collected N350 billion Value Added Taxes (VATS). So, that is to tell you that now that Covid-19 is subdued as a result of vaccine and there is no lockdown, the border is opened and when I checked with the Chairman Finance Committee, your proposal for carbonated drinks to be excisable is now approved.
“So when we look at all these, we see that we can not go to the floor with this proposal and this is our conclusion, we want to stand on the initial target given to you last year. We are not going to increase it, we are to stay on it at N1.679 trillion and we are not going to touch what you proposed or the target you gave to yourself on the issue of VAT”.
While defending the 2020 budget performance, the Customs Boss, Ali said the Service collected a total revenue of N1.211 Trillian for the period of January to December 2020.
“When compared with the approved revenue target of the same period January to December 2019, the Service surpassed its target by N114.78 Billion or 10.47%.
“The Service also collected the sum of N350.63 Billion as Value Added Tax (VAT) on Imports from January to December 2020, thereby bringing the total collection to N1. 562 Trillion for the period under review”, he explained.
On the 2021 budget, the fromer military Governor of Kaduna State said the revenue target for the year which is based on the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) approved by the National Assembly is set at N1.465 trillion, consisting of N1. 267 trillion for the Federation and N198 billion for non-Federation.
According to the retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army, the Service proposed a budget expenditure of N 242.45 billion, out of which personnel cost is allocated N99.72 billion, overhead cost takes N19. 53 billion and capital cost gulps N123. 20 billion
He identified e-customs project, tariff review on vehicles, reintroduction of import taxes on petroleum products, expansion of excisable items border reopening, stakeholders collaboration, amongst others, as the budget objectives and strategies to improve revenue generation by the Service in 2021.