Reps Assure Accountability, Transparency in Customs Duties, Levies

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By Dipo Olowookere

The House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise chaired by Mr Leke Abejide, has promised to ensure that all customs duties and levies collected by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) are accounted for and remitted to the nation’s purse.

He gave this assurance during the inaugural meeting of the panel on Wednesday in Abuja, using the occasion to roll out the seven-point agenda of his group.

The lawmaker, who contested in the recently-concluded governorship election in Kogi State under the African Democratic Party (ADC), listed the key focus of the team as oversight of the Nigeria Customs Service’s implementation of the new NCS Act 2023, revenue collection and remittance by the Customs, cost of collection deducted by the NCS, Export Processing Zones, training institutions, customs and excise laws, and budget estimates of the customs.

Mr Abejide said for efficiency, the committee would conduct periodic reviews of customs and excise laws to ensure that they remain relevant and effective in the face of changing economic and technological landscapes.

He also disclosed that he and his members would “meticulously” review the customs’ annual budget proposals to ensure that they align with the government’s comprehensive economic and fiscal policies.

Speaking on how his team intends to monitor the agency’s implementation of the new Act, the federal legislator said efforts would be made to ensure customs “adheres to the principles of transparency, accountability, and efficiency.”

As for revenue collection and remittance, the chairman said the group would ensure that all customs duties and levies are promptly accounted for and remitted into the federation account, adding that the cost of collection of the NCS is reviewed.

“It is worth mentioning that the new Act introduces a more streamlined and revenue-enhancing approach. Instead of the previously imposed 7 per cent surcharge on duty payable, the Act now mandates a 4 per cent Free on Board (FOB) charge.

“This change ensures that waivers granted do not adversely impact the revenue collection targets of the NCS, leading to a projected threefold increase in income compared to the current levels,” he pointed out.

In addition, he said the committee would assume oversight of the customs’ enforcement of regulations in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) to verify compliance with legal requirements and their contributions to economic growth.

In collaboration with the Excise Department of the NCS, Mr Abejide said the committee would strive to ensure automation of production lines from raw materials intake to final product output, to block leakages and eradicate corruption.

He assured that personnel of the organisation have access to quality training to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their duties effectively.

“Committee members too shall participate in training to acquaint themselves with customs laws, not only in Nigeria but also in other climes,” he declared.

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