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Reps, Customs lock horns over N1.3tn revenue projection

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance has dismissed a revenue of N1.3tn projected by the Nigeria Customs Service for 2022, vowing to raise the target.

The Comptroller-General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), had in his presentation at the ongoing public hearing on the 2022/2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, disclosed that the Customs was projecting the amount as revenue next year.

Ali noted that the Customs came up with a figure that was considered realisable, hoping to surpass the target.

“We came up with a figure that is realisable. Then, whatever comes thereafter, it is our hope that we will surpass that. We try to be as realistic as we can in our proposal,” he noted.

Members of the committee, however, dismissed the projection as too small.

Chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Leke Abejide, who is a member of the Committee on Finance, criticised the revenue target as ridiculous, given that the naira had been devalued.

The lawmaker said he expected the Customs’ proposal to be N2.5tn and above.

Abejide said, “This is very ridiculous because now, the naira has been devalued already. So, you will discover that the volume of money you are getting, if you want to get the real value, you will see that it is not a real improvement.”

Another member, Muktar Ahmed, stated that there was no way the committee would accept anything less than N3tn.

Chairman of the committee, James Faleke, in his ruling, said, “For us as a Committee on Finance, we will not accept the N1.3tn. I am sure that by the time our report comes out, you will be pleasantly happy.”

Meanwhile, the committee, also summoned the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, to appear before it on Wednesday, unfailingly.

The lawmakers also summoned the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Sarki Auwalu.

Kyari was to address the committee on revenue generation. He, however, sent the Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy to represent him.

Members of the committee, however, frowned on Kyari’s non-appearance.

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