‘FG Granted N342bn Waivers to Importers in Two Years’

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed

Eromosele Abiodun
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has disclosed that the federal government granted about N342 billion waivers to importers in the last two years.

She stated this while speaking at the second phase of a one-day sensitisation seminar on the Automated Import Duty Exemption Certificate at the Nigeria Customs Training College, Ikeja,
Also, she urged importers to embrace the automated Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) as part of measures to promote trade and enhance ease of doing business at the nation’s seaports.

Ahmed, who was represented by Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Aliyu Ahmed, described the digitisation process of import duty exemption as a way to eliminate corruption, save time and promote transparency.

She said the scope of waiver request was expanding hence need to have modern technology to drive the administration.
According to the minister, “Approximately N341.94 billion worth of waivers was granted from August 2017 to August 2019.

The scope of such request are expanding; hence the need to have in place modern technology to drive its administration.
The minister further highlighted the importance of the modernised process as being in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the importation sector.”

She said the automated gateway portal for IDEC processing and issuance has been in operation since April 1, 2020, stressing that manual applications were no longer accepted.
The minister added that the bottlenecks associated with import duty exemption and related sharp practices will be eradicated by the new procedure.

“The kernel of the mandate of the FMFBNP is the overall fiscal management of our national economy. One critical incentive which the FMFBNP provides, in line with extant laws, rules, regulation and executed international protocols, is the issuance of import/customs duties certificates to applicants

“Up until March 2020, we processed the grant of the IBEC incentives manually. This process was quite cumbersome, tedious, time consuming, and was beset with undue human interface, with its attendant challenges,” she said.

She added that the automated process, in line with the Ministry’s Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRG) will improve the revenue profile of the government by blocking leakages, stop apparent financial losses associated with the process, standardise and simplify the process, as well as ensuring effective monitoring, evaluation and tracking.

Also speaking at the event, Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), said the new platform will eradicate trade related vices such as impersonation and forgeries of signatures in the importation process.

Ali, who was represented by Assistant Comptroller General and Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone A, Katherine Chinwe Ekekezie, also said the automation will boost investors’ confidence and make for easy detection of all forms of illegalities.

The CGC said the federal government is committed to achieving a more viable economy but over the years, some players in the importation business have abused the opportunities created for them to thrive.
He said as an institution responsible for the implementation of the policy, the Nigeria Customs Service will remain committed to its success with its personnel giving their best to it.

“The IDEC portal is a simpler and smarter end-to-end automated process for Customs Import Duty Exemption application. The sensitisation featured guidelines for accessing of IDEC and refunds of custom Duty in Nigeria First phase of the sensitisation programme began in Kano while the third and final phase will be taken to Portharcourt, the Rivers State capital,” Ali said.