Waiver Abuse: House of Representatives summon Import stakeholders

Col. Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs

In a bid to stop the abuse of waivers and bond on import duties, the House of Representatives Committee on Customs has invited the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali, Accountant to the Federation, Ahmed Idris, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, bank executives, importers, Inspection agents and other critical stakeholders over their alleged roles in the sector from  2010 till date.

The House of Representatives had on November 8, collapsed three motions, all calling for the probe of issuance of waivers and revenue leakages in the declaration of Custom duties.

The motions include:

  • Need to investigate the handling of import duty revenues, waivers and bonds on import duties collected by the Customs Service from 2010 to date.
  • Need to audit the Customs Duties Remitted by commercial banks to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, from January 2014 till date and proof of such remittances.
  • Need to investigate the operational activities of Web services Fountain Nigeria Ltd in the Nigeria Customs Service, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure between 2013 and 2017, the violation of its Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) timeline agreement, rules of engagement and the delay in the handover of its services to the Nigeria Customs Service.’’
    The committee in a letter, dated 13 November and signed by the chairman, Abiodun Faleke, advised the stakeholders to appear to make their presentations. Faleke in the letter said:

“ In view of the timeline set for the assignment, kindly ensure that the information and documents required of you are sent to the committee’s secretariat before November 29.’’ The letter stated further that ‘’schedules of all beneficiaries with respect to all duty waivers, exemptions, concessions, processed by you in the fiscal year 2010 till date should be presented.’’

It also states that “schedules of all beneficiaries with respect to all bonds of indemnity upon which imports were processed by the Nigeria Customs Service in the fiscal year 2010 to date should be presented before committee.”

According to a source, billions of naira were lost as a result of authorities recklessly granting import waivers on unapproved goods  with no significant bearing on the economy, adding that more than 65 percent of beneficiaries received the grant for goods not approved by the government, which ordinarily should be limited to raw materials, machinery and spare parts.