Senate recommends service commission for Nigerian Customs

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

Nigeria's Senate

Nigeria’s senate committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff has recommended the establishment of a Customs Service Commission to replace the existing Board of Customs established in the old Customs Act.

The committee also introduced the use of mandatory pre-shipment/ post- shipment inspection in clause 42 of the Act to conform to existing laws of the country.

These were part of the recommendations contained in the report of the committee on the repeal and re-enactment of the Customs and Excise Management Act 2004, presented to the Senate in plenary on Wednesday.

And the committee indicated that its recommendations became necessary because of the need to reform the Customs Service which had been operating under obsolete laws leading to huge revenue losses to the government.

Objectives of the Bill include, to repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2004, and other Customs and Excise laws. It will also establish the Nigeria Customs Service, reform the administration and management of Customs and Excise in Nigeria.

The Bill also seeks to consolidate in a single reference document, the Nigeria Customs Service legal authority which is scattered in multiple enactments, and to bring the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) dating back to 1958, in line with modern day reality and international best practices.

Consequently, out of the entire 287 clauses in the Bill, only 6 clauses were recommended for deletion thereby ensuring that 98% of the original clauses were retained with few modifications.

Speaking with Journalists after the plenary, Chairman of the committee Senator Hope Uzodinma expressed the believe that, “the Bill which strengthens the full implementation of the pre-shipment laws of the country through the provisions for screening as a pre-requisite for clearing goods into Nigeria, not only adds to the expedited clearing system but empirically improves the security of the nation by maximizing the unfettered access into the country of illicit goods, prohibited narcotics, proliferation of small arms and toxic cargoes.”

Thereafter, the Senate adjourned consideration of the report until the next legislative day, after 17 clauses in the Bill had been considered.

 

Nnenna.O