Customs & ExciseHeadlines

Senate kicks against concession of Customs revenue to foreign firm



—vowed to kill the plan



Abiola Seun    |


The Senate Committee on Customs and Excise has kicked againat the move by the Federal government to concession duty collection function of the Nigeria Customs Service to a foreign firm.


The Vice- Chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, in a recent interview, said the plan to concession the duty collection function of the Customs would fail because it did not have the blessing of the red chamber and that it ran contrary to the provisions of the Act that established the NCS.


Fadahunsi, a retired Deputy Comptroller- General of the NCS, said, “As the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, we are not aware of the concession of the NCS as well as the position taken by the House of Representatives on it.


“The Senate leadership has not been briefed.


“There were moves in the past to take over the collection of Customs duties by private firms, promoted by people with greedy interest despite the fact that the Act that established the NCS empowers it to collect revenue for the Federal Government; that is why it is enjoying seven per cent cost of collection.


“We don’t need to concession the NCS to any private concern because there are trained customs officers that can collect duties; they have the right environment and modern technology and equipment to do the job more efficiently.


“There was an award of contract early this year for the installation of mobile scanners in Port Harcourt, Tincan and Apapa, Lagos ports.


“Why should we have such equipment and efficient officers and still be thinking of concessioning the NCS?


“I asked the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise, who is a retired Controller of the NCS and he denied being part of the decision.


“Members of the committee who don’t know anything about the NCS operations failed to appreciate what our officers can do.


“The other time, the NCS was given a revenue target of N1.6tn and I said giving Customs target is a lazy way of generating revenue because they can collect up to N4tn in a year if they are properly motivated and monitored.


“If the revenue collection of the NCS is transferred to the contractors, they will collect their commission and the Customs will still deduct its seven per cent cost of collection. So, the country would lose.


“The President was not properly briefed that there are adequate and competent hands in Customs that could collect duties. The projection of the private firm is to generate an average of N3tn per year for 20 years whereas officers of the NCS are fully equipped to do more than that.


“The Senate will act appropriately on the proposal whenever it is brought before us. All my colleagues that have spoken with me on the issue have vowed to oppose it, so the arrangement is dead.”


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