The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, has revealed that the agency collected N9.2 billion in one day as a result of the ongoing partial border closure exercise initiated by the Federal Government.
He stated that the agency had been raking in between N4.7 billion and N5.8 billion daily since the border closure.
Ali disclosed this during his meeting with the National Assembly Joint Committee on Finance working on the 2020 – 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
The Comptroller General was summoned alongside the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, who was expected to brief the joint panel on the MTEF/FSP documents.
The land border closure a blessing? According to Ali, the land border closure was a blessing to the nation and the agency’s revenue which had dropped has now increased as a result of the closure.
“When we closed the border my fear was that our revenue is going to drop. To be honest our revenue kept increasing.
“There was a day in September that we collected N9.2billion in one day. It has never happened before. This is after the closure of the border and since then, we have maintained an average of about N4.7billion and N5.8 billion on a daily basis which is far more than we used to collect.
“What we have discovered is that most of those cargoes that used to go to Benin (Republic), shipped to Benin, continue and then discharged and smuggled into Nigeria, now that we have closed the border, they are forced to bring their goods to either Apapa or Tin Can Island and we have to collect duty on them.
“If that would continue to us it is a welcome situation. As a matter of fact, to answer your question, our revenue has not reduced; it is increasing as a result of closing the border.”
Nairametrics reported when Nigeria’s borders in two regions were shut down following a directive from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), owing to the state of insecurity in the country.
The Seme Border, which is the busiest border between Nigeria and the Benin Republic, is one of the borders partially shut down by President Muhammadu Buhari to restrict the importation of rice into Nigeria.
The border closure code-named ‘Ex-Swift Response’ commenced on August 19 and was being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel.