The recent fiscal policy review removing textile fabrics from import prohibition list has paved the way for Nigeria to earn its first N10 billion from smuggled textile materials intercepted by Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in Kano recently. Fraudulent officers hitherto allowed prohibited textiles enter the country after collection of bribes.
The move to allow the importers of the detained goods pay duty is expected to shore up Government revenue, which has witnessed a downturn in recent times following 2014 sharp drop in oil prices and the massive stealing of funds by public officials.
Last month, 75 warehouses of assorted textile materials operated by foreign nationals using a handful of Nigerians as their guarantors were sealed up in Kano by Customs anti-smuggling operatives, following months of undercover operations and activation of local and international intelligence networks.
After assessment of the textile materials including 20,878 bales of printed African fabrics, 21,980 bales of high grade brocade materials, 6,127 bales of Lace materials, 554 bales of polyester materials and 30 rolls of curtail materials the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Monday said it is expecting to rake in N10 billion as Customs duty and other charges payable on the items.
The assessment also showed that the goods are liable to the following additional charges: N26,569,253.73 for seven percent surcharge; N14,243,212.64 for one percent CISS levy; N6,767,022.49 for 0.5 percent ETLS levy; N59,154,231.65 for Textile levy; and N95,527,905.15 for Value Added Tax (VAT).
Total revenue payable on the first set of assessment stood at N576,161,369.17. Another set of assessment worth over N600 million is pending on the outstanding textiles in the same warehouse.
The exercise is being coordinated by a Special Task Force comprising operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi gave the directive to collect duty on the textile products following consultations with the Federal Government and importers of the items.
The imported items are currently discharged in warehouses sealed by the Nigeria Customs Service in various areas of Kano metropolis according to Wale Adeniyi, public relations officer of the Customs Service.
In the first warehouse opened for the exercise, 14 importers turned up for assessment and duty payment for their textile items valued at about N1.5billion in the first week .The importers were expected to pay a combined import duty of N373, 307, 242.16.
In view of the organized nature of the smuggling syndicate, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi has called for closer inter Agency collaboration to curb the excesses of foreign economic saboteurs who break Nigerian laws with impunity.