Again, Buhari Declines Assent to Customs and Excise Amendment Bill 

Udora Orizu in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has again returned the Customs and Excise Management Act amendment bill to the National Assembly for the second time.

The bill, which was sent to the president for assent in July 2022 was first returned with fundamental observations which were corrected by the lawmakers and returned to him.

The law, which is the first amendment to the Customs Act in over 60 years, is expected to introduce fundamental changes in the operations of the Nigeria Custom Service, while boosting revenue generation efforts of the government.

The bill was recommitted to the Committee of the Whole at Wednesday’s plenary and reconsidered by the lawmakers.

The proposed legislation was recommitted along side three other bills which were returned to the Assembly by the president after declining assent.

The bills are: Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill, 2019 (HB.91); Federal Medical Centre, Okigwe (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1603); and  Federal University of Health, Sciences and Technology, Enugu (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1604).  

Presenting the recommitted bill for consideration, the Chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi), gave two reasons for the president declining assent and returning the bill to the House.

Abejide said: “This bill is not new. It came the first time and was adjusted. It came the second time and was adjusted. This time, it is only one clause that was in the original and was omitted from the amendment bill. The other area, we already dealt with it the last time. The Ministry of Finance complained that the Chairman of the Board should be the minister and not a retired Deputy Comptroller General of Customs and we corrected it here. Anywhere in the bill where the board chairman appeared, it was supposed to be changed to minister. But when they were doing the clean up, they didn’t change that.”

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