2021 Customs Budget: N2billion Retirement benefits incentives for Officers raises uproar

…As Senate approves N1.678trn revenue target collection 

By Ignatius Okorocha 

The Senate at a plenary on Wednesday approved a total sum of N1.678 trillion revenue target collection for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) for the 2021 fiscal year.

The upper house also approved a total expenditure of N257 billion, including retained earnings, for ongoing projects for the 2021 financial year as proposed by the committee.

This is as senators queried the the allocation of N2billion as retirement  incentive benefits for retired officers of the commission.

The approval of the sum of N257.18billion for  the service followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo North), in his presentation, said out of the amount budgeted for the Customs in the 2021 financial year, the sum of N99,719,722,681.71 is for Personnel Cost; N19,530,769,000.00 for Overhead; and N137,933,180,013.00 for Capital Cost. 

Giving a breakdown of the revenue framework, Alimikhena said the Committee increased the NCS revenue target from N1,465,345,719,428.00 (one trillion, four hundred and sixty-five billion, three hundred and forty-five million, seven hundred and nineteen thousand, four hundred and twenty-eight naira) to N1,678,715,061,014.00 (one trillion, six hundred and seventy-eight billion, seven hundred and fifteen million, sixty-one thousand and fourteen naira). 

According to the lawmaker, “in the 2021 fiscal year, NCS revenue target was pegged at N1.465 trillion comprising of N1.267 trillion for Federation Account and N197.996 billion for Non-Federation Account, respectively. 

However, the Senate Committee deemed this target to be inadequate, while taking cognizance of the recently assented Finance Act, 2021.”

He explained that other factors such as expansion of excisable items, excise duties of carbonated drinks; tariff review on vehicles; re-opening of border; and projected increase on collectible duty of imports informed the upward review of revenue target for the NCS.

He added that expected revenue are from seven percent cost of collection for 2021 projected at N111,573,991,091; two percent VAT share of NCS – N7,500,000,000; sixty percent share of CISS – N47,007,935,827; and Retained Earnings for Ongoing Projects, 2020 – N91,101,744,776.51.

However, before the approval, Senators Bala Ibn’Nala (APC Kebbi) and Sam Egwu (PDP Ebonyi ) sought clarifications over the budgeted revenue of N180 million for funmigation and provision of N2 billion as incentive for retiring officials.

 Sen. Sam Egwu wondered how an officer that was duly paid his salaries and has his retirement benefit tabulated would be paid an incentive retirement benefit incentive when e had already left the service.

In his response, presenter of the report simply explained that the N2billion was total package for all the officers of the service that retired after their meritorious service to the nation.

His words,” The retirement incentives is for officers comprising all ranks and files.”

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