OrderPaperToday – The House Representatives has mandated its Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the operational activities in the Nigeria Customs Service ICT Infrastructure between 2013-2017.
The House also called for probe of the violation of its ASYCUDA Time-Line Agreement, Rules of Engagement and the delay in handing over to Nigeria Customs Service when other Service Providers did so in December, 2013.
These resolutions among others were sequel to a motion entitled ” Need to Investigate the Handling of Import Duty Revenues, Waivers and Bonds on Import Duties Collected by the Nigeria Customs Service from 2010 to Date” sponsored by Mr James Faleke and 14 others.
Explaining the motion to members at the plenary on Wednesday, Mr Faleke noted that the Nigeria Customs Service is mandated, among other things, to collect duties on all goods imported into Nigeria except those that were granted waivers and are on the prohibited list.
He noted further that the Nigeria Customs Service customarily issues Pre-Arrival Assessment Reports which are used to assess duties payable on imported goods but the Reports are sometimes compromised by importers, thereby leading to under payment of duties in billions of Naira;
Mr. Faleke reminded members that the Ministry of Finance gave series of duty waivers to companies in line with the policy of government to assist businesses, but in most cases, the waivers were used to import goods not listed on the approval, thereby depriving the government of the needed revenues;
According to him, some importers, most times, issue Bank or Insurance Bonds to Nigeria Customs Service in lieu of duty payments to enable the importers clear the imported goods immediately and thereafter expected to redeem the Bonds by paying the appropriate duty rates, but information reveals that the Bonds are either partially redeemed or never redeemed at all.
The lawmaker expressed worry that “Webb Fontaine appears to be losing interest in Nigeria and consequently does not deliver its services having transferred majority of its shares abroad which calls for a re-examination of the Time-Line Agreement, Rules of Engagement, Schedule of Payment of its services and Corporate Economic and Social Responsibilities so far in Nigeria”.
The House adopted the motion and charged its relevant committee to report its findings in six (6) weeks for further legislative action.