—-approves N369bn as 2022 budget
“Nigeria Customs Service currently has 15,349 officers instead of 30,000 Officers needed for the Service to function optimally.”The lawmakers also approved N369 billion as the budget of the NSC for 2022, even as, they sought to abolish the appointment of the Comptroller General of Customs from outside Service.
The report of Mr. Abejide’s committee was considered by the Committee of Supply chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau).
A total of N214.3 billion was approved for capital expenditure, N108.8 billion for personnel costs and N45.8 billion for overhead.
The funds are to be sourced as follows; N151.8 billion from seven percent cost of collection, N14.9 billion from NSC VAT share and N60.1billion from 60 percent share of the comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS).
Other sources are N114.2 billion from retained earnings and N27.8 billion of share of excess target.
The lawmaker also repealed the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and re-enacted new legislation in its place.
The bill seeks to make it mandatory for the Comptroller General of the Service to be appointed within the ranks of the officers of the agency.
This will end the appointment of non-custom officers to that position if the bill eventually becomes law.
The current CGC, Col.Hameed Ali(rtd), a retired army colonel, was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
Col.Ali’s relationship with the federal parliament has been frosty, and it peaked during the controversy over uniforms.
The 8th Senate had asked Ali to wear the uniform of the NSC to appear before the lawmakers but he declined with the argument that the invitation did not indicate that he should wear a uniform.
“My not wearing a uniform does not breach any law. No law, to my knowledge, compels me to wear a uniform. No law says in doing my service, I have to wear a uniform.”
The lawmakers, therefore, ejected Ali from the chamber following a motion to that effect.
On Tuesday, the Committee of the Whole of the House considered the report on the bill and passed it.
The sponsor of the bill, Leke Abejide (ADC, Kogi), who is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Customs, while speaking on the report, said this is the first major reform of the law in 63 years.
He noted that the existing act is obsolete and cannot meet the needs of customs in the digital age. He added that the language used in crafting the law is also obsolete.
On the appointment of a CGC, Mr Abejide said there is a need for legislative input into the appointment of Comptroller General of Customs similar to other organisations like Inspector-General of Police, Nigeria Immigration Service, and the Service Chiefs.
He argued that the move is a matter of national security.
He explained that all laws relating to customs and excise will be collated into a single legislation.
In addition, the bill seeks to eradicate the seven percent cost of collection used to fund the budget of customs. In its place, the bill is seeking four percent of Free on Board for funding of the agency.
Explaining the rationale for the changes to the funding of the agency, Mr Abejide said the existing seven percent cost of collection is not sufficient to fund the salaries and benefits of officers, explaining that the four percent FOB is international best practice.
Alleged cross- border smuggling of fuel: Fate of detained Customs officer uncertain — summoned, detained in Abuja
Customs demonises officer amidst claims of official complicity in smuggling of petroleum products across border
” This video depicts a half-clad individual recording himself while claiming to have arrested trucks carrying premium motor spirit across the border as an officer of Nigeria Customs Service.
“The facts are as follows; the person in the video is indeed an officer of Nigeria Customs Service, and he is currently attached to the Federal Operations Unit Zone D in Adamawa.
” It is important to note that 55 kilometers separate this location from the nearest border.
“Between the place where this incident occurred and the border, there are fully operational petrol stations.
” As vehicles in transit, they are considered still to be well within city limits and therefore can neither be accused of nor arrested for transporting goods across the border.
“All our officers are compelled by a strict dress code to not only be in uniform while on duty, but to adorn their name tags for easy identification by members of the public.
” Indeed, his actions led to his immediate withdrawal by the Controller Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘D’, who instructed his detention pending medical evaluation.
“The NCS seriously frowns at any action that is inimical to the economic well-being of our nation.
“The levels of checks and counter-checks created as part of the NCS strategic enforcement initiative have made it extremely difficult for breaches to occur.
“Nigeria Customs Service wants to assure members of the public of the commitment of its officers and men to securing our borders.
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