The Senate Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff has uncovered N120 billion unpaid revenues from several companies. Chairman of the committee Senator Hope Uzondinma gave the information in a statement issued by the committee. The names of the companies that refunded the payments were however not revealed. The committee has also mandated the Nigerian Customs Service to recover the funds from the affected companies. Over 2000 firms are yet to appear including Dana Air and BUA international which have been given till Monday to appear or face sanctions.
Customs has a capacity issue
The Nigerian Customs Service needs more training in terms of human capacity building. Had the Senate Committee not undertaken the investigation, the monies would not have been paid. More money may be recovered as the committee has addressed a small fraction of the firms involved. How were these companies able to escape paying the required revenue? Where possible collusion by officers of the NCS is involved, they should be sanctioned.
More money for government
The recovery will be good news to the Federal Government which has recently embarked on a revenue drive. A drop in crude oil revenue last year pushed the economy into recession, and has forced all tiers of government to deepen other revenue sources. In addition to customs recovering unpaid duties, other arms of government such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) would need to conduct their own investigations as unpaid taxes could also be recovered. Rather than take the companies to court, a settlement should be worked out as litigation will lead to a delay in getting the funds.