The Senate on Monday alerted the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on plans to review the agency’s N5.079 trillion 2024 revenue target upwards from the second half of the year to save the country from further borrowing.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Isah Jibrin, dropped the information at a crucial meeting with the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, and top management of the revenue agency.

Jibrin noted that Nigeria needed to wriggle itself out of its current debt obligations and and one of the ways to do that was internally generated revenue.

“Customs is one of the major providers of internally generated revenue and as it is today, we expect them to play one of the major roles in this drive to reduce our debt burden,” Jibrin said.

“We need to pay off what we are owing now and minimize additional loans we are going to take. Customs is in a very good position, if they are able to block all perceived leakages, they should be able to generate significant amount of income that will enable Nigeria get out of debt, at least partially,” he said.

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On concessions given to some sectors of the economy, for example, agriculture, the senator said it is for those who are into agricultural services, those who are into solid minerals and those whose services have direct impact on the economy.

“If somebody is bringing agricultural equipment into the economy and you try to take something out of that person in a way of import duty, that will discourage the person and that is what we are saying. It is not that any body took that money or custom compromised in the course of their services.

“Concessions were in the interest of Nigeria to encourage importers who are going into specific areas in the economy. There is a trade-off here between importers and the country, particularly the things you think you are generating,” he said.

Speaking on the rate of unemployment in Nigeria, Senator Jibrin described it as “very high”, saying, “Customs is not the only employer of Labour. They can only employ the number they believe they can adequately take care of and we are putting them under pressure to exceed the 1,600 benchmark.

“We may not get beyond 2000, but for sure, we will get 1,600 and like we all know, there are so many unemployed Nigerians out there. I will always say, it is difficult for the Nigeria Customs Service to absorb all unemployed Nigerians, but they can only employ those they can.”