Senate begins Customs probe
by OWEDE AGBAJILEKE
October 26, 2016 | 4:21 pm| | | Start Conversation
The Senate has commenced comprehensive probe of the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) with a view to blocking all revenue leakages.
The probe launched by the Senate Committee on Customs which began in Abuja on Wednesday aims to increase revenue generation capacity of the Service.
Chairman of the Committee, Hope Uzodinma during an oversight visit to the headquarters of the NCS in Abuja said that the Service should generate enough revenue to fund the nation’s budget.
He expressed displeasure at a report by the Ministry of Finance which showed that the Custom Service had generated less than N400 billion in 2016.
While speaking at the end of the oversight visit, the lawmaker stated that the committee may re-enact the Act establishing the NCS for optimal performance.
His words: “We are looking into the operations of Customs service, looking at the areas of revenue generation and possible leakages with a view to finding solutions. 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 revelation that oil majors were not accessible to the Service for payment of levies, the Senator said that those are some of the areas that require enabling laws.
“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,” he added.
The committee sought to know how the 7percent Negotiable Duty Credit is managed as well as how it handled seized cargoes and overtime cargoes.
It frowned at the Service for always seeking funds instead of working to generate more funds.
Uzodinma frowned at the situation where the service was not collecting duty from oil companies and promised a legislation to review the law.
In his remarks, the Comptroller-General of the Service, Hameed Ali (Rtd), assured of full cooperation of the Service and requested the submission of certain relevant documents to enhance the committee’s probe.
The Committee therefore gave the Service till Friday October 28 to submit the requested documents and answer all the queries posed.
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