Senate Commands Customs To Render 3 Years Account Within 48hrs

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Nigeria’s Upper Legislative Chamber has given Customs 48
hours to provide records of waivers since 2013 and also details of how it
handles seized cigarettes and alcohol, record of auctioned overtime and seized
cargoes.

This took place less than 24 hours after Finance Minister,
Kemi Adeosun, revealed how revenue-generating agencies engage in “high level
corruption” especially the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), which she described
as “cohesive crooks hard to break,” Senate has commenced investigation into its
activities.
The Senate Committee on Customs and Excise also dropped
hints that after the Customs’ probe, it would beam its searchlight on the
ports.
On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 the minister said
revenue-generating agencies are frustrating government with “non-remittances”
which she described as a big issue.”
Regardless, Senate, through its Committee on Customs and
Excise, chaired by Hope Uzodinma, has launched a comprehensive probe into  Customs’ activities with the hope of
blocking  revenue leakages and enhance
generation.
Specifically, the committee has asked the NCS
Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), to submit the records of all
waivers granted in the last three years, value of the waivers, detailed record
of sugar levy and other details of revenue accrual.
The committee gave the Service till Friday, October 28, 2016 to submit the
documents and answer all the queries.
It also sought to know how the seven per cent Negotiable
Duty Credit was managed and how the Service handled seized cargoes and overtime
cargoes.
Uzodinma expressed displeasure at the inability of the
Service to collect duty from oil companies, promising that a legislation to
review the law would be initiated.
Uzodimma, during an oversight visit to the NCS headquarters
in Abuja, said the Service should generate enough revenue to fund the nation’s
budget.
He expressed displeasure at a report by the Ministry of
Finance, which indicated that the NCS had generated less than N400 billion so
far in 2016.
The committee chairman explained the rationale for the
probe.
“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 detailed work and we have established contacts
with all commands under the service.
“All we are interested in is to evolve a robust framework
that will help the NCS earn more revenue.
“We want to create a situation where the NCS will be able to
fetch the country the kind of revenue we are looking for from non-oil sector,’’
he said.
Commenting on the revelation that the Service could not
access some oil companies for payment of levies, Uzodinma said, it was part of
the impediments that require enabling laws.
In his remarks, Ali, assured that the Service would fully
co-operate with the committee, directing his officials to provide the panel
with all the information and documents it required.
On how revenue generating agencies are frustrating the
government, Adeosun on Tuesday, told the Senator John Owan Enoh-led Finance
Committee that:  “non-remittances by the
revenue-generating agencies is a big issue. 
“We have done a lot of work on it. 
“We are auditing about 31 of the agencies and what we found was very shocking,
it was very, very shocking. 
“That is the only way to describe it.”


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