The Nigeria Customs Service has said it collected a total of N897.3billion revenue for the 2016 fiscal year despite the sharp decline in the volume of imports occasioned by fluctuations in the foreign exchange regime in the country.

This covers revenue from import duty, negotiable Duty Certificates as well as fees and levies collected on behalf of government agencies.

The service had blamed its dwindling revenue figures partly on the inconsistent foreign exchange policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, which among other several other inadequacies barred 41 items of imports including raw materials from accessing forex through the official segment of the market.

Comptroller General of the service, Col. Hameed Ali, who reacted to revenue figures, commended officers and men for recording as much as N897.3billion.

According to him, this is considering the economic recession that stifled import business in the country with the attendant low revenue on imported goods.

He attributed the impressive revenue collection even in the face of dwindling import volumes, which represents 96 per cent of the N1trillion total revenue target for the year on the efforts and doggedness of the officers and men of the service.

“This is not a small feat considering all the challenges. On this note, I wish to congratulate each and every one of my officers and men for rising to these challenges. We have done well but I believe we can do better if we re-dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to our duties, block all leakages and refuse to allow fraudulent traders, agents and the few bad eggs amongst us to defraud the nation we swore to serve’, the CG said.

He also said “All hands must however be on deck to ensure that our performance in the year 2017 is far better than 2016. I therefore wish to use this medium to convey to you the appreciation of the management of the service for your dedication to duty”.

The CG blamed the sharp decline in import volumes and the attendant decline in revenue generation on CBN’s policy on foreign exchange which denied official allocation of forex to importers of the 41 items prohibited from accessing foreign exchange at the official window.

Ali however charged officers to ensure that they block all revenue leakages in the current fiscal year, a development he said would lead to the collection of maximum.

He in turn disclosed that the management is currently working in a new welfare package that would become effective before the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

“I will also like to assure you that your welfare is paramount to us and efforts are being made to provide the Service with a new welfare package which is commensurate to the Services you are rendering to this nation.

“Hopefully, before the end of year 2017, we would be able to actualise the new welfare package. You should however note that the more revenue we generate, the more our cost of collection and the more our cost of collection, the better our welfare package. I therefore call on each and every one of you to make a resolution that henceforth, national interest will super cedes any other interest in the discharge of his duty”.

The service had in the first half of the year covering January to June 2016 collected N385.7 billion revenue, which indicates a N52.5billion decline when compared to the N438.2 billion generated in the same period in 2015 and a far cry from the expected N500billion half revenue projection for 2016.

It was however gathered that out of the N385.7 billion collected for the first half of the 2016 fiscal year, cash import duty payment accounted for N197.7billion while N203 billion was collected from non-cash import duty payment in the form of non-duty negotiable certificate.