By Akanimo Sampson
Tin Can Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) says it recorded revenue of N122.695 billion within the first quarter of this year, an improvement over what it generated in 2020.
In spite of this huge revenue haul, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State says the Buhari administration minting N50 billion to N60 billion to augment revenues received by states from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in March.
He is warning that Nigeria is in a huge financial trouble because the country’s economy is not what it used to be before.
While speaking at the Edo State Transition Committee Stakeholders Engagement on Thursday Obaseki said, “when we got FAAC for March, the Federal Government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share.”
The governor who lamented the overdependence on crude oil, expressed worry over rising debts of the country, canvassed for a diversified economy where all the three tiers of government would have a strategic role to play.
“This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion. Imagine a family that is just borrowing without any means to pay back and nobody is looking at that. Everybody is looking at 2023, everybody is blaming Mr. President as if he is a magician”, he said.
“Nigeria has changed. The economy of Nigeria is not the same again, whether we like it or not. Since the civil war, we have been managing, saying money is not our problem as long as we are pumping crude oil everyday.
‘’So we have run a very strange economy and strange presidential system where the local, state and federal governments, at the end of the month, go and earn salary. We are the only country in the world that does that.
“Everywhere else, government relies on the people to produce taxes and that is what they use to run the local government, state and the federation. But with the way we run Nigeria, the country can go to sleep. At the end of the month, we just go to Abuja, collect money and we come back to spend. We are in trouble, huge financial trouble.
“The current price of crude oil is only a mirage. The major oil companies who are the ones producing are no longer investing much in oil. Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron is now one of the world’s largest investors in alternative fuel, so in another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to share in Abuja?”, he said.
According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s total public debt stock as of the December of 2020 stood at N32.2 trillion.
However, the Command’s Area Controller, Mba Musa, who made this known in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Uche Ejesieme, said the amount is an improvement of about N21.05 billion, which is 23 per cent over the total N91 billion recorded within the same period last year.
Musa also disclosed that the command’s anti-smuggling activities yielded results within the same period, with seizure of cocaine weighing 43.110 kilogrammes, which was concealed in raw bulk sugar.
He said 20 suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure, as well as the detaining of the vessel MV SPAR SCORPIO, adding that the command has handed over the case file, suspects, and the vessel to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further investigation.
Musa said the recorded feat, in spite of the twin threat to lives and livelihood posed by the pandemic, was due to the Command’s inspiration to its officers towards continuous hard work with the use of technology and collaboration to achieve best performance.
Speaking on promoting trade facilitation, the Area Controller said the command has put measures in place with a view to ensuring that legitimate trades are given expeditious attention, adding that its lines of communication are open with concerted efforts made to ensure the supply chain is not disrupted.