Adeniyi Promises Adequate Sensitisation on Nigeria Customs Service Act
By Adedapo Adesanya
The acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Wale Adeniyi, has promised that his agency would embark on adequate sensitisation on the new Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, which takes effect.
He explained at a 2-day sensitisation workshop in Abuja that this was to prevent the excuse of ignorance of the law, stressing that this would not be a defence for violators of the law.
He stressed that the new law has stiffer penalties on trades, urging those involved in sharp practices to desist as the agency was fully prepared to bite.
According to him, the new law, which replaced the erstwhile 63-year-old Customs Act, has empowered customs to administer and enforce provisions of the Act.
He added that the new law further empowers the service to promote trade facilitation, prevent smuggling activities, and carry out border enforcement, among others.
Mr Adeniyi said it became necessary to re-enact the new CEMA because the old act has been in operation for a long time without significant amendment.
“CEMA had become obsolete and could no longer adequately meet the contemporary fiscal policies of the government and the mandate of the service.
“This situation propelled the National Assembly through a private member Bill to initiate the repeal and enactment of a new Nigeria Customs Service Bill.
“The new law addresses some of the defeats in CEMA and has introduced innovative solutions in the implementation process,” he said.
“As a responsible institution, we are not unmindful of the fact that members of the public are not yet familiar with the provisions of this Act,” he said.
“We will bring into the sensitisation fold. Stakeholders like importers, manufacturers, Customs agents, and journalists, among others.
On his part, the Director of Legal Services of the NCS, Mr Smart Akande, said the new act also introduced fundamental changes to the operations of the service.
He said the new act had 282 sections as against the old one with 195 sections.
According to him, critical changes were made to the new act to meet the modern-day realities of the service.
“The act provides for stiffer punishment for contravention of the act, such as an increase in fines and prison terms for offenders.
“With the new law, the status of the service has equally changed from being non-personality to a jurisdictive person that can sue and be sued.
“Furthermore, Section 14, a novel section, provides for the appointment of C-G among officers not below the rank of Assistant Comptroller-General.
“Before now, non-career officers were appointed.
He further said, “previously, seven per cent cost of collection was used to fund the budget of customs.
“This has been found to be inadequate to fund capital and recurrent expenditures of the service.
“There will equally be transparency for ease of doing business among others with the new act.”