AFCON

Bill to reform Nigeria Customs scales Second Reading

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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A Bill for an Act to repeal the customs and Excise Management Act 2004 and to enact an Act to establish the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2021 has passed the second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill was part of the legislative effort for a holistic overhaul of Nigeria Customs Service for more contribution to fiscal and national policy development.

The sponsor of the bill, Mr. Leke Abejide from Kogi State, while leading debate on the bill, explained that if become law, it will position the Nigeria Customs Service to be financially stable to effectively manage the country’s borders and generate more revenue.

He said “This exercise is noticeable in the following areas:

(a) Collation of all Customs and Excise Legislations into a single compendium of Customs and Excise Act to facilitate easy reference and easy knowledge-driven Customs and Excise policies;

(b) This 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. The Nigeria Customs Service recently have 15,349 officers instead of 30,000 officers needed for the Service to function optimally.

The current 7% cost of collection from Duties payment is not enough to pay salaries of officers, not to talk of improving the infrastructures. For this reason, this Bill provides for an additional funding system based on 4% FOB, according to international best practice, to address funding problems, and to reposition the Service for improved efficiency and service delivery.

(c) Making the Act more readable to the understanding of the Principal Stakeholders thereby deviating from hitherto strict legal drafting of the aged.

(d) Providing stiffer punishments for offenders to act as deterrence for serious economic crimes of Customs and Excise oriented, thereby encouraging more revenue in the area of fine payment.”

Mr. Abejide who is also the Chairman of House Committee on Customs and Excise maintained that the bill will provide the necessary support for the digitization of the Nigeria Customs Service that led to the increase in the agency’s revenue generation.

The 9th House of Representatives in its Legislative Agenda pledged reforms in governance through amendments of absolute laws and the Nigeria Customs and Excise Management Act being amended has not undergone any major reform since 1958

 

Nneka Ukachukwu

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