The Nigeria Customs Service said its anti-smuggling operations have resulted to seizures of 3,665 vehicles from 2015 till date with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N13 billion.
The Comptroller-General of the service, Col Hameed Ali (retd), said this during a lecture titled “Problem of Smuggling and its attendant Consequence on Nigeria’ s Economy and the Way Out” at the IBB Golf and Country Club, on Thursday in Abuja.
Col. Ali, who gave a breakdown of the seizures, said in 2015, 1,917 vehicles were seized with DPV of N3.856 billion and 1,483 vehicls were seized in 2016 with DPV of N2.683 billion.
He added that from January to August his year 265 were seized with DPV of N6.625 billion.
The Customs boss said that the high value recorded in 2017 was because most of the vehicles were of high value which included 15 bullet proof vehicles.
Col. Ali said out of the 18 vehicles seized in September in Abuja over non-duty payment, 13 were bullet proof vehicles of which 10 have no Customs papers.
He said that Nigeria imports about 70 per cent of its needs and that more than 45 per cent of all the imports were smuggled into the country.
“Lack of patriotism among the traders and complicity of Customs officers has added to the problem.
“Over 85 per cent of the traders do not comply with fiscal policies, extant rules and import guidelines. They falsify documents except for about five per cent of them who can be trusted and often have their goods cleared within 48 hours,” Ali said.
He said that the four containers of arms intercepted this year at the seaports in Lagos were concealed with cartons of building materials; including sanitary wares, steel doors, plumbing and electrical materials.
"Most imports have infractions of under-declaration, under-valuation, wrong classification, false declaration and concealment"
On the challenges of Customs in fighting smuggling, he said the Service lost three officers this year.
Col. Ali said that Customs under him was being sanitised and now very few corrupt officers in its midst.
“Ninety per cent of our officers are now imbibing the culture of doing the right thing.”
He urged Nigerians to report corrupt officers to enable the service weed out the 10 per cent of the corrupt officers.
Col. Ali said that importers must be patriotic and stop inducing officers to fast track clearance of their goods.
According to him, smuggling is a problem to the society that kills the local industries, adding that it hinders the growth of the economy.