The Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, has solicited the support of lawmakers to empower the Service through appropriate legislation to collect excise duties from carbonated drinks.
The Customs boss made the call at the interactive session with top government functionaries at the helm of affairs of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) of government to consider and approve the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper in Abuja.
Ali said that at present, excise duties are only paid on tobacco and alcoholic drinks while there is no law mandating the customs to collect an excise on carbonated drinks.
This he said is one of the factors limiting the customs’ ability to generate more revenue.
Ali said if adequate laws are put in place, more revenue will be generated into the government coffers.
He also attributed the recent dwindling of revenue generation to the activities of smugglers lamenting that residents of border communities are not cooperating with the customs to track the activities of smugglers across the nation’s borders.
He however blamed the government for neglecting border communities by not proving them with basic amenities such as water, electricity and good roads adding that this makes residents of border communities to be readily engaged by smugglers for illegal activities.
“The border communities do not want to cooperate in fighting to smuggle because of the absence of government in their communities, sometimes they cooperate with the smugglers because of the support they receive from the smugglers.”
Ali, revealed that NCS generated in 2020 generated N1.5trillion, while N1.02trillion has been generated so far in the last six months of 2021.
Also speaking at the interactive session, the Director-General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha, cautioned the federal government to reprioritize projects as a way of reducing the level of new borrowing.
She also canvassed that the Public Private Partnership should be given a sharper focus to reduce the direct borrowing by the federal government.
The Director-General also cautioned that there is an urgent and immediate need for an increase in government revenue failure of which could run the government into debt distress.