Senate seeks new laws for Customs to block leakages

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According to reports, the Senate is considering new laws for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) that will effectively block revenue leakages in the service.

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The Senate Committee on Customs and Excise which began the tour of Customs facilities in Abuja Wednesday gave the hint at NCS headquarters, Abuja.

The committee said that the new laws would fashion ways and means to increase revenue generation capacity of the service by blocking all sources leakages.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma, insisted that the Service should be generating enough revenue to fund the country’s annual budget.

Uzodinma expressed disapproval at a report by the Ministry of Finance which indicated that the NCS had only generated less than N400 billion in 2016.

Uzodinma said that the Senate will likely re-enact the Act establishing the NCS for optimal performance.

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He said, “We are looking into the operations of Customs Service, looking at the areas of revenue generation and possible leakages with a view to finding solution.

“We have done a very detailed work here we have established contacts with the commands.

“All we are interested in doing is to bring up a robust position that will help the NCS earn more revenue.

“In order to do that effectively we are looking at their current modus operandi with a view to refining how things are done so that more revenue can accrue to the Service.

“By the time we look at the operations of some of these ports, we will come back and look at how best to amend and alter the existing Act.

“We want to create a document that will be bold enough to earn the country the kind of revenue we are looking for from non-oil sector.

On the report that oil majors were not accessible to the Service for payment of levies, Uzodinma noted that “these are some of the areas that require enabling laws.”

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He added, “There are some limitations that have not made it possible for Customs to perform the way they should according to their mandate.

“Those are things that we will also look at and remove all obstacles to enable them function effectively.”

The committee requested for the submission of some relevant documents to enhance its work.

It gave the commission till Friday October 28, 2016 to submit the requested documents and answer all the queries posed.

Among others, the committee sought to know how the seven per cent Negotiable Duty Credit is managed as well as how it handled seized cargoes and overtime cargoes.

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The Service is also expected to submit details of how it handles seized cigarette and alcohol, record of auctioned overtime cargoes as well as auctioned seized cargoes.

The committee also sought the record of all waivers granted in the last three years and the value of the waivers.

The detailed record of sugar levy is also to be submitted to the committee as well as other details of accruable revenue.

The Comptroller General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali assured the committee of the full cooperation of the Service.

Ali directed his officials to provide the committee with all the information and documents required.

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