Senate Scraps Customs’ Governing Board, Establishes Service Commission

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  •  Imposes 1% tariff on all imports, subjects appointment of CG to confirmation

Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The Senate wednesday passed a bill scrapping the governing board of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and establishing the NCS Commission to superintend over the administration of the Customs Service.

It also imposed a one per cent levy on free-on-board (fob) value of imports on dutiable and non-dutiable goods.
The commission would be headed by a chairman who would be a retired career Comptroller General or Deputy Comptroller General, and would be appointed by the president for a period of four years.

The appointment is however subject to confirmation by the Senate and renewable once.

The Senate passed the bill, a Bill for Act to Repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act to Establish the Nigeria Customs Service, Reform the Administration and Management of Customs and Excise in Nigeria, following the adoption of the report of its Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff.

The commission would be responsible for managing the policies of the NCS, or matters pertaining to administration, assessment, collection and accounting for revenues, as may be directed by the Minister of Finance from time to time.

It would also be responsible for managing all issues relating to employment, training, welfare, and discipline of officers of the NCS, with the approval of the appropriate authority of the federal government.

The bill consolidates into a single reference document, the NCS legal authority which is scattered in multiple enactments and will bring the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), 1958 in line with modern day realities and international best practices.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma (Imo West), also explained that the one per cent FOB levy was included in the legislation in order to ensure better financing of Customs’ operations.

The NCS will also be financed from a seven per cent cost of collection on import duty, excise and fees, special levies, revenues derived from assessment and collection of cost-based user fees, and from budgetary provisions.

“The new bill will substantially enhance revenue generation and facilitate trade through full implementation of modern customs’ procedures that will evolve a consistent, transparent and predictable environment for international trade, in line with internally accepted norms and practices,” he said.

Uzodinma added that the bill would also ensure pre-shipment and post-shipment inspection at the point of origin and destination to reduce the incidence of importation of dangerous items.

“It strengthens the full implementation of pre-shipment laws of the country through the provisions for screening as a prerequisite for clearing goods into the country.

“It not only adds to the expedited clearing system, but empirically improves the security of the nation by minimising the unfettered access into the country of illicit goods, prohibited narcotics, proliferation of small arms and toxic cargoes,” Uzodinma added.

The bill also contains provisions to support the use of modern information technology (IT) platforms and systems, such as the use of electronic documents, signatures and electronic payment systems as well as application of risk management and a host of other IT-related applications.

It also provides for the publication of a Tariff Handbook, subject to the approval of the National Assembly to curtail arbitrary tariff reviews.