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Auditor- General threatens to sanction CGC Ali over failure to explain infraction on 2019 Customs’ remittances

CGC, Ali


—-as seven Area Commands record zero revenue

Eyewitness reporter
The Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Aghughu Adolphus Arhotomhenla, has threatened to wield the big stick on the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col(retd) Hameed Ali over his failure to explain some infractions which were discovered in the 2019 audited report on the remittances of the Customs into the federation accounts.
It could be recalled that the Auditor General, in his audited report on the remittances made by the Nigeria Customs Service which he submitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly, had noted that the Service remitted the sum of N839.02 billion from the sum of N841.27 billion which was generated in 2019, indicating a shortfall of N2.26 billion.
In his routine scrutiny of accounts, the Auditor-General observed that seven Area Commands in the North East recorded zero revenue for over nine months of the 12 months in 2019.

These Area Commands oversee activities in fourteen (14) states in the country.

The offices of the Auditor-General said that Paragraph 112 (i) (f) of the Financial Regulations mandates the accounts officer to ensure the collection of these levies and fees and ensure accurate collection and accounting for all public monies received and expended.

However, OAuGF observed that seven Area Commands of the Nigerian Customs Services reported zero revenue despite being mandated to collect Common External Tariff (CET) levies and fees.
CET levies are one of the levies collected by the Nigeria Customs.
CET is the levy charged on manufactured products. It is charged on a wide variety of goods ranging from agricultural goods to manufactured goods.
Asides from CET levies, Customs are saddled with the responsibility of collecting other fees such as import and export duties amongst others.

According to the report, the Adamawa/Taraba Area Command recorded zero CET for 9 months while Bauchi/Gombe and Benue/Plateau/Nasarawa Area Command reported no CET collection for ten (10) months.

Four of these commands, Abia/Imo command, Adamawa/Taraba Command, Bauchi/Gombe command, and Benue/Plateau/Nasarawa command, reported zero revenue from Customs fees throughout 2019.

The Borno/Yobe area command collected fees for only one month in 2019 while the Cross River and Delta/Edo area command defaulted for nine and six months respectively.

The Auditor-General said he couldn’t ascertain the magnitude of the loss as the Area Commands didn’t furnish him with the revenue target.

“Non-oil revenue performance in 2019 was impressive, 75.36%. Having generated N3.23 trillion of the N4.28 trillion target given. However, it could have had better outcomes if revenue sources like Customs plug revenue leakages like non-collection of statutory fees” the report stated.

“By the end of 2019, Nigeria borrowed N4.18 trillion rather than the N1.92 trillion proposed deficit. The additional N2.26 trillion would have been less if all revenue access points like these levies are properly managed.

“The management of these area commands provided no explanations on their inability to collect the levies” the AuGF complained.

He  described this act as a weakness of the internal control system of the Nigeria Customs Service and requested that the Customs’ Controller General, Hameed Ali,  provide compelling reasons to back up the inability of the area commands to collect levies as they should ” without which i will be forced to activate the sanctions on paragraph 3112 of the Financial Regulation”

“For Area Commands in the Northeast and other conflict regions, these conflicts might explain why no levies were collected.

“Although it doesn’t explain why these commands cannot provide proper explanations to the Auditor-General when it was requested of them.

“For other zones, it will be interesting to see what their reasons for non-collection are if they ever respond to the queries from the Auditor-General.

“The disregard for questions raised by the Auditor-General in the course of the audits is becoming an increasingly prevalent thread. MDAs feel no need to explain discrepancies” Mr. Adolphus stated in his report.

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News Alert: Wale Adeniyi revives CG conference, holds 2023 edition December 13-15 in Lagos.

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
The Eyewitness Reporter
After 11 years of interregnum in the annual Comptroller General of Customs conference, Adewale Adeniyi, the Customs boss, has announced the rescucitation of the annual conference which holds December, this year.
In the social media broadcast, Adeniyi said he was delighted to announce that the 2023 CG Conference will hold from December 13th- 15th, 2023 at the Grand Africa Ballroom of the prestigious Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The theme of this year’s conference, according to the CGC, is “Leveraging Data Analytics for Secure and Efficient Trade Facilitation in Customs Operations”.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima, is expected as the special guest of honour while the Governor of Lagos state, Mr Babajide Sanwo- Olu and the Minister of Finance and the coordinating minister of Economy, Wale Edun, are also expected to grace the occasion.
Adeniyi stated that this year’s conference will centre around the discussion on implementing new measures to enhance service operations, championing secure and efficient operations across the federation.
“In line with my efforts and that of my management team to modernize the Nigeria Customs service through leveraging technology-driven Customs to shape the future of our operations, I am inviting you to this year’s Comptroller General Conference scheduled for 13tg to 15th December 2023 at the Grand Ballroom, Continental Hotel, Lagos.
” The theme of this year’s conference is Leveraging Data Analytics for Secure and Efficient Trade Facilitation in Customs Service.
” We are embracing innovation, utilizing the power of analytics to ensure the security and efficiency of Customs Operations.
“This significant event will centre around discussion on implementing new measures to enhance the service operations, championing secure and efficient operations across the federation.
“It will serve as a platform for attracting new business stakeholders to our shore.
” Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of this renewed hope experience as we consolidate on the achievements of the past, collaborate with our stakeholders and of course, bring in innovation to drive Customs Operations.
“The conference will be graced by esteemed guests, including the Vice-President, Senator Kashim Shettima as the special guest of honour, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Finance Minister, Wale Edun” the CGC announced.
The CG conference is a platform for interaction where customs reviews its past operations and project for the future.
The last conference was held in 2012 in Katsina state.
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Adeniyi seeks Senate support to enhance Customs’ automation process

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The Nigeria Customs Service has sought the intervention of the National Assembly Senate Committee on Customs to address its core needs by providing modern tools for the complete automation of its operations to enhance trade facilitation and revenue generation.
Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi made this plea on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, at the Senate Wing, National Assembly, Abuja. He emphasized that this call underscores the Customs Service’s commitment to fostering economic growth, job creation, and dynamic trade relations.
Regarding the Senate Committee’s interest in doubling the NCS’s efforts in revenue generation, CGC Adeniyi emphasized, “not only introducing them but also standardizing them to enhance Customs’ clearance processes, revenue generation, which will be a better experience for both Customs administration and stakeholders.”
He recalled the initiation of the automation process by the Nigeria Customs Service in the late 1990s when it purchased modern gadgets, including computers and software, as part of the Service’s efforts to introduce computerization processes.
Discussing the concession issue, CGC Bashir Adeniyi highlighted some of the objectives of the Nigeria Customs Service’s requests to automate its operations. “The first major objective of the consortium was to provide an end-to-end ICT platform to digitalize procedures and processes.
The second one is to look at the present infrastructure and update it in line with international standards, ranking amongst the best in the world.” He noted.
He explained that the third objective was to provide technology-based solutions to address challenges faced by the Service, emphasizing, “The last part is the general organization of our infrastructure to provide the tools needed that will be associated with these objectives, deliverables, and part of deliverables first is to build a Unified Customs Management System.”
CGC Adeniyi further explained to the committee members, “The system needs to process the traditions of goods that will provide electronic party systems for the Service whereby its entire processes would be automated.”
He added, “The conditions of the non-intrusive inspection system include provisions, revisions of cargo tracking systems, intelligent gates, new infrastructure, like a data center to build the capacity of officers because it is essential in the last phase of the project.”
Speaking on the Service’s strategic approach to enhancing trade and ensuring smooth businesses for local traders, CGC Adeniyi urged the Senators to actively support local business people in exporting items, emphasizing that such a perspective shift could significantly contribute to boosting Nigeria’s economy and play a pivotal role in job creation.
Responding to the Chairman Committee’s call on the Service to double efforts in revenue generation, CGC Adeniyi highlighted some measures that should be adopted to achieve giant strides. He added, “If we properly monitor the impact of these kinds of instruments, they do not represent an absolute loss to the economy.”
He also mentioned that adopting these measures would create jobs for Nigerians, enhance tax payments, attract investors, and rejuvenate industrial sectors, which, according to him, would not be a loss for the economy.
In response, Senator Muhammad Sani, the Chairman of the Committee, commended Adeniyi for the strides made in revenue generation.
Expressing optimism, Senator Sani asserted that the Nigeria Customs Service, with its recent revenue records, appeared poised to multiply its financial contributions—an imperative for the country given its current economic needs.
He said, “By encouraging a more balanced approach, the aim is to empower local businesses through increased attention to export initiatives, aligning with a broader vision for a sustainable economic landscape.”
A similar interactive session with the Procurement Committee from the House of Representatives shed light on the financial commitments of the Nigeria Customs Service.  However,  discussions were postponed to another date.
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News Alert: Six Tin Can Customs officers reject $54,330 Tramadol bribe money 

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Customs Area Controller of Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, has commended the six officers of the command who refused to be compromised with the mouth-watering amount of $54,330( about N50 million) by drug dealers who tried to smuggle in a consignment of Tramadol through the Tin Can Island port.
While handing over the bribe money this Tuesday, November 28th, 2023, to the Lagos Zonal Commander of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) , Mr. Michael Wetkas, Comptroller Nnadi reiterated the zero tolerance for corruption stance of the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi.
 The Tramadol was falsely declared as electrical appliances valued at over N856m with a view to concealing them while the cash was offered to compromise the customs officers.
Nnadi said the act was in clear violation of Section 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCAA) 2023 and commended the officers who stood their grounds to work ethically and lawfully in the interest of national security
He further called for continuous compliance on the part of port users and reminded them that the NCS with the collaboration of sister agencies like EFCC will continue to frustrate criminal activities in the port
Nnadi thanked Comptroller Oloyede, who under his watch, this seizure was achieved and described him as a good example of the NCS.
He said the two suspects arrested in connection with the two containers are currently being investigated by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control for possible prosecution.
Mr. Michael Wekas, while taking over the cash, described the feat as a victory for the country and for all the security agencies.
He specifically celebrated the officers of the NCS that achieved it.
Wetkas also lauded the  Comptroller General for the letter of commendation in appreciation of the six customs officers who refused to bow to pressure and inducement from the owners of the illicit drugs.
He promised continued collaboration between the EFCC, NCS and sister agencies.
 According to him, the era of working without collaboration is gone as the agencies now work closer
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