Buhari Declines Assent to Customs and Excise Management Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has returned the Customs and Excise Management Act amendment bill to the National Assembly. This is the second time the President would be withdrawing assent to the Bill.

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, again reviewed the bill seeking to repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act and other laws governing the Nigeria Customs Service, following the withdrawal of assent by the President.

According to Chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Leke Abejide, the recommital and review of the bill became necessary as some amendments made by the National Assembly were not duly reflected in the clauses.

Abejide said: “This bill is not new. It came the first time and was adjusted. It came the second time and was adjusted. This time, it is only one clause that was in the original and was omitted from the amendment bill. The other area, we already dealt with it the last time. The Ministry of Finance complained that the Chairman of the Board should be the minister and not a retired Deputy Comptroller General of Customs and we corrected it here. Anywhere in the bill where the board chairman appeared, it was supposed to be changed to minister. But when they were doing the clean up, they didn’t change that.”

The legislation is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Other Customs and Excise Legislation and Enact the Nigeria Customs Service Act, 2022 to Provide for the Reform of the Administration and Management of Customs and Excise in Nigeria; and for Related Matters.’

The House, as a Committee of the Whole presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, considered and adopted the fresh report on the bill.

The House, on April 12, 2022, considered and adopted the initial report by its Committee on Customs and Excise on a bill to repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act 1958

The legislation was titled, ‘Bill for an Act to Repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap.C45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the Nigeria Customs Service Bill.’

Part of the amendments to the CEMA was the restriction of Controller-General appointment to the serving officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.

If the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), signs the reviewed CEMA into law, the current Controller-General of the NCS, Hammed Ali, a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army, who was appointed to head the Service, would be the last non-Customs officer to occupy the office.

Abejide had in his presentation to the Committee of the Whole, noted that the old Act had “become obsolete in today’s competitive global world and also, in effective operations of the NCS.”

Abejide also noted that the review of the Act sought to reposition the NCS for improved efficiency and service delivery.

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