By Christiana Ekpa
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) has revealed that Coca Cola company does not pay tax on carbonated drinks to Nigeria Government even as he called on the federal government to lift tax wavers on local companies producing carbonated drinks, especially multinationals like Coca Cola.
Ali who made the call while addressing lawmakers on the performances of his agency in the year 2018 and projection for 2019, on Tuesday in Abuja also urged government to clamp down on unnecessary issuance of duty wavers in order to boost revenue generation.
He said the Service has been able to surpass its target for the preceding year hitting 92.55precent on the Federation Account, Federation Account Levi and Non-Federation Accounts.
He said: “N1.2trillion and 131percent of total collection. For 2019, N937.2billion was given to us as target. We’ve designed strategies to be able to achieve this with a proposal to eschew all forms of manual collection of revenues and we’re automating our collection mechanism”.
The Customs boss also told members of the House Joint Committee on Aides and Loans, Finance and Appropriations that “ all money collected through the commercial banks are routed to the CBN into the Federation Account”.
He disclosed that the Service is evolving a system called the ‘Nigerian Customs Integrated System’ has been put in place.
“We’re blocking all leakages by enhancing all commands monitoring and collection capabilities”, he said.
He therefore called for local industries to pay taxes on products such as carbonated drinks saying that “it’s only in Nigerian that Coca Cola doesn’t pay tax on its products while it does in other countries where it operates.”
Ali called for intensive and deliberate anti-smuggling campaign saying that customs has lost about 5 to 6 personnel from January to date in 2019 alone.
Ali also spoke about a collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force on the application of ‘Geospatial Technology which he said the Air Force has launched, adding that “it has been opened to us to use in monitoring of vehicular movement across the borders using satellite images to check smuggling”.
On the measures to curb smuggling, Ali called for government’s presence in border communities, saying that many citizens cross the borders to access medicals and water and as such has little or no loyalty to the Nigerian government.
“So they find it difficult to help us expose smugglers, because the smugglers seem to be more helpful to them than government”, he said.