…As Ali Boycotts Public Hearing
The Federal Government has proposed a legislative framework that would stop the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) from revenue collection, saying the role was a distraction to the service.
According to the government, the sole responsibility of collecting revenue should be domiciled with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) while NCS facilitates trade.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, stated this at a one-day public hearing on a bill for an Act to repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act (2004) and the Nigeria Customs Service (establishment) Bill.
The session was organised by the House Committee on Customs. Sponsor of the bill and Chairman of the Committee, Leke Abejide, said the bill sought to rejig the board of customs and excise management with competent and result-oriented technocrats.
Meanwhile, the speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila expressed anger at the absence of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) at the public hearing.
Gbajabiamila expressed his displeasure over the apparent nonchalance of the Customs boss in his non appearance at the public hearing, saying that it was totally unacceptable.
He explained that the bill when passed would reposition the Nigeria Customs Service in tandem with international best practices and make the Service more result oriented.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon Leke Abejide, listed the legislative initiatives on the bill to include ; Collation of all Customs and Excise legislations into a single compendium of the Customs and Excise Act to facilitate easy reference; The Act will position the Nigeria Customs Service to be financially stable in order to recruit the required number of officers they need to man our porous border stations and provide legislative imputs in the appointment of the Comptroller General of Customs as is done in the appointment of Service Chiefs.
Other obsolete laws the Committee want reviewed include the rejigging of the Board with competent and result oriented technocrats for smooth and fast operation of the Service , among other sundry issues. Hon Abejide further explained that the present workforce of 15,349 falls short of the about 30,000 officers and men required if the Service must perform optimally.
The Committee Chairman explained that the present 7per cent cost of duty collected allocated to the Service was barely enough for recurrent expenditures, not to talk about capital projects and that the new bill seeks a 4per cent FOB , according to international best practices.