By Steve Agbota, Lagos

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday said that it generated N1.34 trillion between January and March, which exceeded 20 per cent of the 2024 revenue target of N5.07 trillion despite the declining Nigerian cargo throughput estimated to have dwindled by 4.89 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

The Comptroller-General of NCS, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja, saying that the total revenue collected during this period amounted to N1,347,675,608,972.75.

According to him, the collection for the first quarter represents a substantial increase of 122.35 per cent compared to the same period last year, where N606.119 billion was recorded. However, the month-by-month analysis further illustrates the Service’s impressive growth trajectory.

“In January 2024, revenue collection surged by 95.60 per cent, reaching N390,824,148,326.55 from N199,809,974,327.52 recorded in January 2023. This upward trend continued in February 2024, with a staggering 138.68 per cent growth, elevating revenue collection to N450,209,267,557.15 from N188,625,011,386.87 in February 2023. By March 2024, the revenue collected by NCS revenue grew by 132.76 per cent from N217,669,949,432.28 to N506,642,193,019.05.

“When compared to the Federal Government’s annual revenue target of N5.07 trillion for the NCS to collect in 2024, which translates to N423 billion monthly; the Service is recording an average monthly revenue growth of 6.2 per cent over the set monthly target and a cumulative revenue collection of 18.6 per cent equivalent to N78,675,608,972.75 over the set quarterly target of N1.269 trillion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adeniyi hinted that there have been challenges related to non-compliance with regulations, infrastructure limitations, and a notable decline in cargo throughput, evidenced by a 4.89 per cent decrease in the volume of transactions handled.

He also pointed out that significant fluctuations in exchange rates applied in the customs clearance of consignments posed considerable difficulties.

“As per protocol, the exchange rate utilised by Customs in the clearance of goods via the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) is based on the rate determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). In the last quarter, a total of 28 rates were directed by the CBN, ranging from N951.94 per USD 1 in January 2024 to a peak of N1,662.35 per USD 1 in February 2024.”

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“While a singular exchange rate of N951.94 per USD 1 was maintained in January, February witnessed 15 different spot rates ranging from N951.94 per USD 1 to N1,662.35 per USD 1. March saw a total of 13 different spot rates applied, ranging from N1,303.84 to N1,630.16. These fluctuations resulted in an average applied exchange rate of N1,314.03 per USD 1 in the clearance of Customs goods during the quarter,” he added.

On anti-smuggling activities in the first quarter of 2024, he said NCS recorded a total of 572 seizures, encompassing various items valued at N10,593,099,654.50 in Duty Paid Value (DPV).

“Notably, January saw 111 seizures amounting to N842,992,751.50 in DPV, while February marked the highest seizure numbers of 432, totalling N3,704,703,350.34. Rice constituted 39 per cent of the seizures, followed by petroleum products at 26 per cent, with motor vehicles and textiles accounting for 9 per cent and 6 per cent of the seizures, respectively.

“During this period, the NCS detained 22 suspects, and appropriate legal measures will be taken in accordance with the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023,” he said.

Conversely, he added that trade facilitation remains a central focus of the NCS operations, stating that the Service diligently worked towards streamlining processes, minimizing bottlenecks, and optimizing efficiency across our ports to ensure seamless trade transactions. In First Quarter 2024, the

“NCS processed a total of 311,492 Single Goods Declarations (SGDs) for imports, reflecting the volume of import transactions handled. This figure indicates a decrease compared to the total volume of 327,491 processed in 2023 and 403,233 SGDs in 2022.”

“Regarding export transactions, a total of 10,786 SGDs were processed in 2024 compared to 9,752 transactions in 2023, representing a 10.60 per cent growth in export activities. Notably, a significant portion of this growth occurred in January, with 4,067 transactions processed in 2024 compared to 3,352 SGDs in 2023, marking a 29.69 per cent increase,” he said.

He further stressed that the Service remains particularly interested in the growth of the non-oil export sector, aligning with the priorities of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration and the initiatives pursued by NCS in recent times.