The Senate on Wednesday questioned allocations by the Nigeria Customs Service for 2021, where N1.6 billion was voted for “borehole and other water facilities” and N180 milion was earmarked for cleaning.
Some of the senators also frowned on a vote of N2 billion for retirement incentives.This followed the presentation of Nigeria Customs Service 2021 budget report by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs, Francis Alimikhena (Edo North).
Out of the approved sum, N99.7 billion was voted for personnel cost, N19.5 billion for overhead, and N137.9 billion was approved for capital cost.
In 2021 fiscal year, Customs revenue target was pegged at N1.67 trillion comprising N1.5 trillion for Federation Account and N178 billion for Non-Federation Account.
Details of the budget showed that N2 billion was set aside for retirement incentives for Customs operatives; N3 billion for local travels and transport.
Customs will spend N200 million to maintain its aircraft and N100 million to fuel it.
Internet access charges got N100 million; maintenance of vehicles got N250 million; while N400 million will be spent to fuel the vehicles — this is aside from the N5 billion already earmarked for motor vehicle advances.
Under capital expenditure, Nigeria Customs Service voted N1.6 billion for borehole and other water facilities; N15.9 billion for motor vehicles; N87 million for photocopiers and N81 million for shredding machines.
Before the budget was passed, some senators picked holes in the fiscal document, especially regarding expenditure.
Senator Sam Egwu from Ebonyi queried why the agency is spending N2 billion as welfare packages for retiring officers, while they have retirement benefits.
Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who also raised the issue of N180 million for cleaning and fumigation, asked what the NCS is cleaning and fumigating to have budgeted such a huge sum.
Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger) expressed concern that Customs is spending huge sums on non-essential items while officers are being attacked at the borders.
Reacting to this budget presentation and consideration, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the plenary, berated the committee chairman for failing in his oversight function.
He urged the committee to upscale its oversight of the agency and ensure that the budget is implemented within the fiscal year.