Customs Encourage Smugglers, Youth To Invest In Legitimate Business
By Ebenezer William
The Ogun 1 command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Monday, said that the N1.51bn loss incurred by smugglers in the last eight months would have improved Nigeria’s economy if channelled into legitimate trade.
Giving his welcome address at a symposium organised by the Ipokia Local Government Youth Forum (IPYF), titled, “Smuggling and Hoarding Of Petroleum Products: Effects On Border Communities & National Security,’ the acting Customs Area Comptroller, Ahmadu Shuaibu, said the program was an opportunity to inform and enlighten the border communities about the consequence of smuggling on the socio-economic wellbeing and national security of the country.
Shuaibu who was represented by the Deputy Comptroller, Administration of Idiroko Border, Charles Ogunesan, said smuggling retards the nation’s economic development, hampers social well-being and endangers national security.
According to him, It is time smuggling is stopped considering the dangers inherent
in it, saying the service has lost officers to death and permanent disability while locals have also been killed due to smuggling. communities had lost their members to the evil of this unfortunate demon called smuggling.
“The Command in conjunction with the youths, used the opportunity of this auspicious occasion to bring us all together, to inform and enlighten us about the consequence of smuggling on our socioeconomic well-being and national security. Over the years, the Command had recorded a series of horrible and unwanted experiences in our line of lawful duties. These experiences range from blocking access roads by smugglers and their sympathizers, mob attacks of officers either going in pursuit of information or conveying seized goods to the government warehouses, and skirmishes to altercations which often result in casualties.
“We have lost officers to death and permanent disability while our dear communities have lost their members to the evil of this unfortunate demon called smuggling. It is high time we say no to smuggling considering the dangers inherent in it. It retards our economic development, hampers our social well-being and endangers our national security.”
” From January of this year to date, for instance, the Command had made a seizure of goods worth N1,514,478,916.00. If such a huge amount of money is well utilized for legitimate trade, this will no doubt improve our economy.”
Shuaibu who reiterated that the security and development of the country is the responsibility of everyone, stated that the core mandate of the command is to generate revenue, suppress smuggling, facilitate legitimate trade and secure our border lines.
“Similarly, the recent seizure of smuggled ammunition and the usual seizure of harmful substances like Cannabis Sativa (popularly known as Indian helm), among other dangerous goods, are good examples of threats to our social well-being and national security.
“Permit me to state empathically, that our core mandate in Ogun State is to generate revenue, suppress smuggling, facilitate legitimate trade and secure our border lines. I want you to know that the security and development of our dear nation are the responsibility of us all,” Shuaibu stated.
Also speaking, the keynote speaker, Barr. Kehinde Bamiwola advised the government to reduce Customs duties and tariffs on goods not locally produced in the country.
He, however, warned that any country whose import is more than its export will be regarded as a dumping ground that will be bugged by a high debt profile.
“Smuggling kills or destroys local industries and the domestic economy. Smuggling creates unhealthy competition for local industries outside the doctrine of comparative cost advantage. This has nothing to do with the concept of legitimate international trade. It causes great economic loss through loss of Customs duties, and taxes receivable by the government and also promotes the proliferation of fake, counterfeit or substandard items.
“To the Border communities, smuggling discourages education, industrialization and legitimate trade and antithesis to Agricultural development as well as tilting and disequilibrium the national income equation.”
He, however, recommended that the government should aid local production of goods that are mostly imported via agricultural loans, subventions and free Customs duty on farm equipment and machines.
“Government should aid local Production of goods that are mostly imported via Agric-loans; industrialization grants, subventions and make farm equipment and machines Customs duty-free.
“Since smuggling started as high taxes and customs duty, I hereby recommend a call for a reduction in customs duties and tariffs on goods that are not locally produced in Nigeria.
“Proper regulation and stabilization of the foreign exchange market should be done. Foreign currency speculators and racketeers including their sponsors (bourgeoisies or money bags) should be dealt with if we must have a sane demand and supply regulated foreign exchange market in Nigeria.”