By Kenneth Jukpor
The Federal Government is concluding plans to begin excise duty collection on several products such as carbonated drinks, plastics, tiles, tissue paper, among others.
The Zonal Coordinator, Zone A Headquarters of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Assistant Comptroller-General, ACG, Modupe Aremu revealed this while briefing senior officers at the Ogun II Area Command in Abeokuta, yesterday.
ACG Aremu, during her working visit, encouraged the Area Controller, Comptroller Saleh Bala and his team to commence findings on the factories producing the new products to be included in excise duty collection.
Her words: “I want you to hit the ground running even before government gives the go-ahead. You are to do a census of how many factories we have here, especially companies producing carbonated drinks and other products. We need to have the figures. It’s not when the government gives the approval for collection that you start running about. I expect that by now Ogun II Command would have a comprehensive list of all these companies.”
Earlier, the Command’s Area Controller, Compt. Bala had lamented that the Command is littered with seized vehicles that are over 30 years old, noting that the issue poses environmental risks while the government also loses the economic value.
The Area Controller also noted that presently there are 26 excise duty-paying factories and 2 Free Trade Zones (FTZ) under the Command; the Celplas Free Trade Zone at Sagamu and Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone at Igbesa.
On revenue collection he disclosed that the Command, which has a revenue target of N6.2billion quarterly for 2020/2021, has collected N13.7billion from January to August 2021. The percentage of collection for the period under review is approximately 82%.
“The command has just two serviceable vehicles. There is a need for at least additional five Hilux vehicles. The power generating set inherited from the erstwhile Ogun Command no longer has the capacity to power the Command. Consequently, two blocks of the barracks are disconnected from the generator thereby throwing that section of the barracks into pitch darkness at night when ever is power outage. The importance of a health facility centre in the Command cannot be overemphasized,” the Area Controller said.
According to him, in the period under review, 15 new factories were brought under excise control and are under different stages of registration: Four new factories are currently paying duty, five new factories have got licenses but yet to pay duty due to ICT connectivity delays while four others are yet to get their licenses. He also added that one existing factory recently relocated to the area while another one which stopped operations had just resumed.
Speaking on some of the challenges highlighted by the Area Controller such as; low staff strength, ICT server constraints as the main IT facility was situated in Idiroko, ACG Aremu assured that after the ongoing recruitment process more officers will be posted to the Command while the Service would engage the ICT operator, Webb Fontaine to address the server failures.
She also posited that a process of auction had been initiated at Ikorodu that would assist in decongesting the Ogun II Area Command, encouraging the Area Controller to make written requests for operational vehicles and other infrastructure needs to the headquarters as she pledged to make similar recommendations.
Noting the accommodation needs of officers and absence of health facilities, she assured that the Customs management would address these issues, even as she encouraged the Area Controller to make findings on land space available for such facilities.