Reps to probe Customs import revenue/waivers

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The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, mandated its Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the handling of import duty revenues, waivers and bonds on import duties.
The services, the House said, were carried out by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) from 2010 to date.
It said the committee would also determine the nature and extent of abuse of Customs Pre-Arrival Assessment Reports (PAAR) by importers and officials of Customs Service to recover revenues.
The committee is also to identify the companies or individuals that have refused to redeem the bonds, even after clearing their imports, and report back in 90 days for further legislative action.
The House said the revenues were due to be paid to the Federal Government but not remitted.
This was sequel to a motion by Rep. James Faleke (Lagos-APC) and 14 other lawmakers.
Moving the motion, Faleke noted that NCS was mandated, among other things, to collect duties on all goods imported into Nigeria except those that were granted waivers and on the prohibited list.
“He said though NCS customarily issues Pre-Arrival Assessment Reports used to assess duties payable on imported goods, the Reports were sometimes compromised by importers.
The development he said usually lead to under payment of duties in billions of naira to government.
“The Ministry of Finance gave series of duty waivers to companies, in line with the policy of government to assist businesses, in most cases, the waivers were used to import goods not listed on the approval.
‘’This deprives the government of the needed revenues.’’
He informed the House that some importers, most times, issued bank and/or insurance bonds to Nigeria Customs Service in lieu of duty payments to enable the importers clear the imported goods immediately.
Faleke said the importers were expected to redeem the bonds by paying the appropriate duty rates, but information revealed that the Bonds were either partially redeemed or never redeemed at all.
“Meanwhile, there are leakages in revenue collections by the Nigeria Customs Service.’’
He called for the blocking of leakages and the perpetrators punished to ensure increased revenue to fund infrastructure development in the country.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote by the Deputy Speaker.

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