The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed concerns over the culture of importing what the country can produce, saying such practice poses a big threat to the economy.
The coordinator of Comptroller General of Customs Strike Force, Zone A, Deputy Controller, Mohammed Sani Yusuf, addressing journalists at Ikeja, Lagos, recently, on the sidelines of the half–year report of the unit, said that unlawful felling of trees promoted deforestation.
“Specifically speaking, importing what we can produce threatens our economy. Unlawful felling of trees degrades the environment and promotes deforestation while illegal killing of wildlife creatures and endangered species like pangolin and donkeys for their scales and skins respectively, could lead to these animals extinction.”
Yusuf said that between January and June 2022, the strike force made several seizures with duty paid value of over N7bn with four suspects arrested in connection with the seizures.
“Notable among the seized items were, over 8,000 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg each, equivalent of 13 trucks, 1x40ft container of Tramadol, Sildenafil citrate, 1613 bottles of 100ml Codeine, 1,079 bales of secondhand clothing, 3,695 pieces of used tyres, 966 slabs of Donkey skin, 77,760 pairs of new Ladies shoes, 5,250 pairs of used shoes and 197 logs of wood.”
He also said that the agency was able to recover n3bn through meticulous checks on import documents and through issuance of demand notices.
“This was done sequel to our discoveries of short payment of duties within the period of six months. This amount would have been lost, but for our vigilance and uncompromising disposition in the discharge of our duties. Within the same period in 2021, a total collection of n1bn was made which shows an increase of N1.33bn representing 73percent revenue increase.
“May I use this medium to once again, advise all importers, agents, haulage operators and the entire business community operating in the South West to keep themselves abreast with the import and export prohibition lists and guidelines,” he said.