The Nigeria Customs Service has said that it currently rakes in a minimum of N5.5billion revenue into the coffers of the Federal Government and some of its agencies in terms of import duty and other fees and levies on a daily basis.

The service has also hinted that it has commenced the training of over 8,000 of its officers and men on the use of firearms to forestall the increasing cases of loss of lives through accidental discharge.

Zonal Coordinator in charge of the Zone A, Lagos Assistant Comptroller General Kaycee Ekezie, who made these disclosures when she paid a one-day working visit to the headquarters of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF, said that the service has up its game in terms of its core responsibilities, especially revenue collection and trade facilitation.

According to her, the service hit the N1trillion annual revenue mark in December last year as against the former N800billion in the previous years, assuring that the service would continue to block all possible revenue leakages with a view to collecting all revenues possible.

She however attributed the increased revenue generation on the fact that the service has automated its processes, which has led to efficiency in cargo delivery and loss of revenue to some fraudulent importers and freight forwarders.

The ACG also said that the level of compliance on the part of some importers and freight forwarders has increased due to the automation of the trade processes by the service, which makes it difficult for some importers to cheat.

“We will continue to up our game in terms of revenue collection and other statutory functions of the service such as trade facilitation and suppression of smuggling because we are aware that the government needs these funds to pay the Military and Police Force to always continue to provide security for lives and property in the country.

“The service can do more with the support and cooperation of the stakeholders, especially the freight forwarders and Customs Brokerage agents, who are crucial to the process of clearing goods at the nation’s seaports and land borders. This can be achieved when importers and their agents are compliant and honest with their declarations. It will also lead to faster processing and release of cargo from the seaports.

“When people cheat and cut corners, the service becomes more circumspect with every declaration and this gives rise to multiple alerts and Debit Notes, but when people display integrity and make honest declarations, the process of cargo release become more seamless and less cumbersome. That is why when you visit seaports abroad, you do not see anyone around because of their high level of automation and compliance to import and export regulations” she also asserted.

The ACG however disclosed that the current management of the service headed by its Comptroller General Col. Hameed Ali has taken urgent steps to checkmate the ugly incidents of accidental discharge by exposing over 8,000 officers and men to training on the use of firearms and relationship with the public.

It was further gathered that in addition to the training on the use of firearms, officers and men from other units of the service including Enforcement, Valuation among others are also being trained to ensure compliance and efficiency in the entire supply chain.

 Meanwhile, Deputy National President of NAGAFF, Mr. Simeon Nwonu, who spoke earlier during the visit, urged the ACG to take steps to address some of the operational challenges faced by importers and freight forwarders in the course of doing their legitimate businesses.

He argued that the rampant cases of stopping on the roads duly inspected and cleared cargo from the seaports does not make for trade facilitation, urging the management of the service to streamline the activities of its various units.