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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Senate pushes for Customs revenue target increase to curb Nigeria’s borrowing

Senators Call for Strengthened Internal Revenue Generation to Alleviate National Debt, Engage in Critical Customs Service Review

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In a pivotal meeting convened on Monday, the Senate Committee on Customs, led by Chairman Isah Jibrin, underscored the imperative for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to reassess its 2024 revenue target of N5.079 trillion, aiming to mitigate Nigeria’s escalating borrowing trends.

Jibrin emphasized the urgent need to augment internal revenue sources to alleviate the country’s mounting debt burden. Addressing top officials, including Comptroller General Adewale Adeniyi, Jibrin stressed the pivotal role of the Customs Service in bolstering revenue generation and curbing reliance on external loans.

Highlighting the significance of customs revenue contributions, Jibrin outlined the critical need to fortify revenue streams to offset existing debt obligations and forestall additional borrowing. He underscored Customs’ pivotal position in facilitating fiscal sustainability and economic resilience.

The committee scrutinized concessions granted to specific sectors, such as agriculture and solid minerals, emphasizing the strategic importance of incentivizing key economic activities. Jibrin underscored the necessity of fostering an enabling environment to encourage investments and spur economic growth.

Reflecting on Nigeria’s pervasive unemployment challenges, Jibrin acknowledged the limitations of Customs’ employment capacity while urging efforts to exceed existing benchmarks and engage more Nigerians in gainful employment opportunities.

Adeniyi, the Customs Chief, acknowledged the agency’s pursuit of governmental approval to grant waivers for owners of smuggled vehicles to regularize their customs duties, underscoring efforts to streamline import processes and enhance compliance.

Concerns over currency volatility prompted reflections on the naira exchange rate, with Adeniyi expressing dismay over the prevailing instability in the exchange rate regime. The discussions underscored broader concerns regarding economic stability and currency valuation strategies.

The Senate’s engagement with Customs signals a concerted effort to address systemic challenges and recalibrate revenue projections to foster fiscal sustainability. Amidst mounting debt pressures and economic uncertainties, the imperative for robust revenue generation mechanisms remains paramount in Nigeria’s quest for financial resilience and long-term prosperity.

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