The Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, has asked the Federal Government to embark on aggressive internal revenue generation strategy in 2022, adding that the red chamber would not encourage borrowing to fund budget deficits.
He also asked the red chamber to commence immediate forensic audit into the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service from 2015 till date.
Fadahunsi, who retired as the Deputy Comptroller General of the NCS, stated this in an interview with our correspondent on Friday.
He lamented the inability of federal agencies, especially the NCS, to raise enough revenue that could fund the budget.
He said the NCS failed to curb smuggling leading to a huge loss of revenue that forced the country to start borrowing to fund its annual budgets.
Fadahunsi, therefore, demanded the immediate resignation of the Comptroller General of the NCS, Colonel Hameed Ali (retd), following his alleged failure to save the government from borrowing loans.
He said, “The Senate would not encourage more borrowing, the Federal Government should look inward.
“All heads of revenue-generating agencies of government must be given a marching order to meet realisable targets or risk being removed from office.
“As soon as we resume, I will propose that the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise should audit the transfer of containers to bonded warehouses to know how many containers are involved. We will look for serious retired customs officers and seasoned auditors to look at the duties that are supposed to be paid and what was actually paid.
“Nigerians will now know that we shouldn’t have borrowed money in the first instance to fund the budget if the customs is actually performing.”
The Customs CG on Wednesday told the Senate Joint Committees on the Medium-Term Expenditure and Fiscal Strategy Paper that the NCS had not been able to improve on revenue generation as a result of smuggling, among others reasons.
But Fadahunsi argued that the customs boss had no excuse not to stop smuggling because the National Assembly had approved what he needed to curb the menace.
He also said that the idea of making a soldier to head the foremost revenue generating agency would continue to hinder the intention of government to avoid huge budget deficits.
Fadahunsi alleged that the military personnel were aiding and abetting smuggling of goods across the nation’s borders.
He said, “The government of Nigeria resorted to borrowing to fund its yearly budget deficits because the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) decided to put a square peg in a round hole.
“The President’s decision to appoint an inexperienced retired colonel as the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, is a serious error.”