The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday disclosed that certain government policies and bilateral agreements led to a revenue loss of N603.2billion for the country in 2013.
Speaking during a joint senate committee public hearing on revenue collection and remittance in Abuja, Comptroller-General, NCS, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi, said waivers on petroleum products alone resulted in a loss of N263.8 billion.
This was also in addition to the remarks by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was also at the hearing, that there was about N400 billion in the 2013 budget waiting to be utilised by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
The Customs boss had earlier said the abuse of Free Trade Zones, increased on duties on imported rice, loss to manufacturers and assemblers and drop in excise duties revenue due to closure of some factories and de-excising of some excisable goods contributed to the revenue loss.
He further explained that the increase in tariff on imported rice led to increased smuggling across the nation’s boarders thereby denying the NCS the opportunity of generating more revenue on rice importation.
On her part, Okonjo-Iweala said the country’s reduced earnings this year despite oil selling above the benchmark was as a result of shortfall in crude oil production and leakages. She said the country’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $4.3 billion.
According to her, in trying to plug the leakages in the oil and gas sector, “the president has set up a committee headed by Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, which also has as members, all the governors in the Niger Delta region, the minister of defence, minister of petroleum, minister of finance, the NNPC, heads of the arms of the military and other security agencies, to address the issue.”
She added: “The federal government is committed to the issue of shortfall in production which is a major headache to the nation’s economic resources. We hope the work of the committee will go a long way to tackle the problems including the shutting down of oil pipeline.
“There are two pipelines being controlled by Shell that had been completely shut down. If these could be revived, it will go a long way to address the issue at hand.”