The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Seme Command, said it recorded a shortfall in foreign trade in the first quarter.
The Customs Area Controller, Seme Command, Dera Nnadi, who disclosed this yesterday, said the command generated a total of N350 million in revenue from imports, noting that the amount is N150.1 million or 23.09 per cent short of N455 million realised in 2022.
According to him, the command facilitated the movement of 425 trucks with fees amounting to N314.7 million in its Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) as well as 412 baggage declarations with duty amounting to N58.8 million.
He said the items imported under this arrangement include food products and beverages produced within the sub-region.
Nnadi said the deficit could be attributed to the lull in business activities owing to the scarcity of cash and the wait-and-see posture that preceded the general elections.
He said the economic policy of the Republic of Benin that charges on goods in transit to Nigeria constitute tariff barriers to trade along the corridor, which also affected the command’s revenue.
On export trade, Nnadi said the command facilitated 1,243 trucks bearing 40,096.47 metric tonnes of made-in-Nigeria cargo declared on 165 Single Administrative Documents (SAD) with free on-board value of N4.3 billion and the National Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) fee of N21.5 million.
In the previous year, 3,006 trucks bearing 116,053.9 metric tonnes of cargo with FOB value of N6.5 billion with NESS fees of N33 million was recorded.
Nnadi said the shortfall in export to the tune of 75,000 metric tonnes of cargo was due to competition between Dangote Cement and competitors in Togo.
He noted that other sources of revenue of the command are fees collected from the auction sales of seized items, especially petroleum products and other perishable items.
On anti-smuggling and enforcement activities, Nnadi said the recorded landmark seizure of fake $6 million (the equivalent of N2.763 billion at the exchange rate of N460.52) was handed over to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).