Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Top government officials of the federal government and relevant stakeholders met in Abuja at the weekend to fine-tune the roll out of the automated platform for the issuance of Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) as well as vehicle identification and registration number.
The launch of the IDEC, which is expected to take effect from the first quarter of 2020 became imperative to stem the continuing incidences of revenue losses occasioned by manual processing of applications, incidences of multiple use of IDEC approvals, delays in processing applications, indiscriminate allocations and subjectivity in the approval process.
These grey areas have remained major constraints in monitoring, evaluation and standardisation of the process of granting waivers and import certificates, with the attendant leakages. The platform is designed to effectively track and manage revenues mainly accruing from import duties.
The federal government had early this year announced that it lost N4.6 trillion to waivers granted to importers between 2017 and 2018 due to the non-implementation of IDEC.
In order to address these challenges, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, stated at the weekend that her ministry keyed into the economic growth and development reform initiatives, including growing the economy, providing security and fighting corruption.
Addressing a meeting of stakeholders, Ahmed noted that in order to support these initiatives, the government embarked on reforming the IDEC programme by re-engineering the process from application to
issuance and validation by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) andm powered by digital technology.
According to her, the stakeholders’ meeting was very apt and timely with the planned launch of the project in the first quarter of 2020. Members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of December 22, 2019 had unanimously endorsed and approved the IDEC Project implementation plan.
In view of this development, she stated that the ministry wished to reiterate its commitment to work with all stakeholders in order to deliver the needed fiscal incentives to allow economic activities to
thrive, adding that as a stakeholder in this project, the ministry recognised and is open to further collaborations “as we plan for the next phase of implementation of the Project.”
Ahmed noted that the meeting was therefore aimed at sensitising the relevant stakeholders and to have a common ground and understanding in the project implementation.
The minister said: “It is expected that the re-engineering of the IDEC programme would further enhance the ease of Doing Business in the country. May I urge every stakeholder present here today to take full advantage of what government intends to do with the automation of IDEC processes.
“Therefore, I implore every stakeholder to be receptive and come up with useful suggestions, observations and recommendations that will help the ministry to deliver on the goals and aspirations of this laudable project.”