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Customs raise concerns over dishonest trade data declarations

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The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, has raised concerns about the integrity of trade data due to dishonest declarations by Nigerian exporters and importers.

Speaking at the commencement of the 2023 Comptroller General Conference in Lagos, Adeniyi questioned the accuracy of trade data reported by the National Bureau of Statistics, particularly concerning the final destination of exports.

Adeniyi highlighted instances where exports from Nigeria, as declared in a U.S. port, differed from the actual contents of the containers.

He emphasized the need for stakeholders to recognize the dual nature of trade data and its impact on international transactions.

“I want all of us in this hall – Customs, terminal operators, stakeholders – to know that there are two sides to trade. You have your data, and do not forget that those other entities you are trading with also have their own data. So what you generate as your export data is the import data of another trading entity,” Adeniyi explained.

He shared a corporate example from a recent study tour in the United States, where a shipment flagged as originating from Nigeria contained dry fish as per the declaration.

However, upon further inspection, fake Louis Vuitton bags manufactured in Lagos were found behind the bags of dry fish.

Adeniyi stressed the importance of leveraging the data available to the Nigeria Customs Service, urging action and recognition of its potential impact on trade.

He warned that failing to utilize this data could result in other entities presenting it to the government, emphasizing the significance of accurate and reliable trade information.

“The unfortunate part is this story about the integrity of NBS data is that these data were taken from our system,” Adeniyi stated.

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