Border Closure: We Must Do Something Drastic To Stop Smuggling – Customs Boss

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, has decried the spate of smuggling across the country calling for concerted efforts in curbing the menace.

 

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, has decried the spate of smuggling across the country calling for concerted efforts in curbing the menace.

Speaking to journalists during his operational visit to Idiroko border in Ogun State, Ali noted that said the nation’s border posts will remain closed indefinitely until such a time movement of goods and persons as established by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol are strictly adhered to.

The Customs boss also dismissed some insinuations that the closure was meant to be in force within 28 days.

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He explained that decision was taken to checkmate the proliferation of firearms, importation of contraband and other illegal activities by unpatriotic individuals along the land borders.

“Smuggling is an offence; many of you may not accept it that smuggling is an offence. Any illicit thing you bring into this country has a way the consequences on our economy, security and well-being.

“We have gotten to a point whereby we must do something drastic in order to stop this. Otherwise, we will be finished,” he said.

Speaking further, Ali explained that criminals have been better equipped following the smuggling of weapons into the country.

He added, “Kidnapping, banditry is everywhere. Those doing that is not because they are stronger than me and you, but because they have guns in their hands. If it is man to man, many of them will not be on the streets.”

Customs Says No Law Backing Levy For Luxury Items

Customs Says No Law Backing Levy For Luxury ItemsThe Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), has blamed the negative effect of some government trade and economic policies for inability of the Service to meet its 2016 revenue target of N937bn.

Colonel Ali stated this position on Wednesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Customs, during an excise to review the 2016 budget performance of Customs and defend its 2017 budget.

“Some government deliberate trade and economic policies also negate the collection of the revenue that we are supposed to.

“If you recall we have in the last budget, also mentioned the 41 items which are now excluded from accessing FOREX (foreign exchange) through the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.

The Customs boss told the lawmakers that no revenue has been collected through the levy on luxury items, saying there was no legal backing to enforce the collection of the proposed levy.

He stressed the importance of a legal instrument to back the collection of levy on such items, saying its absence has negatively affected the Customs.

“That policy has reduced by quite a percentage the importation of items into this country. Our collection as far as the law is concern is on import, and the lesser the import the lesser the collection.

“So that has also negatively affected the collection of levy on import of luxury goods. In the absence of a legal instrument or government policy that mandates Customs to collect levy, we have to allow them to come into the country,” he said.

The Customs has a 2017 revenue target of N772.88bn, a figure which is 17% lower than its 2016 revenue target.

Duty Payment: Senate Counters Customs Directives

Duty Payment: Senate Counters Customs DirectivesThe Nigerian Senate has asked the Nigeria Customs Service to stop its proposed clampdown on motorists in the country which the agency said have failed to pay customs duties.

The directive followed a motion of national importance moved by Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah at the floor of the Senate in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Service recently issued a statement signed on behalf of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, granting an extension till April 12 for all vehicle owners in the country whose customs duty has not been paid to do so.

The Senate, at its plenary on Tuesday, said the policy was undesirable and would only worsen the hardship Nigerians were going through.

Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Philip Aduda also condemned what they describe as “anti-people policy” at a time Nigerians are groaning under a recession.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, added his voice to the debate and wasted no time in confirming the stand of the Senate.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker representing Delta Central at the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, informed his colleagues at the beginning of the plenary that he has left the Labour Party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senator Omo-Agege’s defection has increased the number of APC Senators to 66.

Senate Slams Customs Boss For Actions Without Board Approval

Customs, Senate, Hameed Ali, Nigeria Customs ServiceThe Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), has come under fire from members of the Senate Committee on Customs for taking some actions without the approval of a Customs board.

The committee invited Colonel Ali to the National Assembly in Abuja to give reasons for certain actions he took in the last few months.

Some of the actions that were criticised by the lawmakers on Thursday include the promoting and dismissal of some officers in the service.

The senators noted that the Customs boss went above his powers in performing the actions without the approval of a Customs board.

They added that they were not satisfied with the explanations given by the Comptroller-General and frowned at his refusal to wear the uniform of the service.

In a separate session, the lawmakers met with former Comptroller-Generals of Customs to discuss ways of improving the revenue collection of the service, as well as the amendment of the Customs Act.

The committee noted that it would call a public hearing on the amendment of the Customs Act.

In the meantime, the lawmakers said they might reverse some of the decisions made by the Customs boss, as they were made without the approval of a Customs board.

However, a Customs board has not been constituted by the Minister of Finance since the last board was dissolved.

Customs Boss Appears Before Senate Committee

CustomsComptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) has given the assurance that the policy on rice importation is not inimical to the nation’s economy.

The Customs boss, who spoke with reporters after a closed door meeting with the Senate Adhoc Commitee on Import Waivers, said that the decision would help generate more revenue for government and reduce smuggling of the product.

He added that the Service would continually implement policies that would protect the interest of Nigerians.

The Summon

The Nigerian Senate had summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs to explain why he lifted the ban on rice importation through land borders.

The decision to summon Ali was taken after a motion on the dangers posed by the removal of rice from the import restriction list and re-introduction of import duty payment on land borders was presented.

His action was also viewed by the Senate to be above his level, since the order restricting rice importation through land borders was a presidential one issued in 2011.

Senator Muhammed Aliero, who presented the motion on the floor, said that the Senate was concerned that the decision by the Comptroller-General of Customs to liberalize the importation of rice to the extent of lifting the ban on land importation of rice would worsen rice smuggling into the country.

Blocking Revenue Leakages

Meanwhile, in a recent chat with Customs officials during his maiden visit to Lagos State, Mr Alli had stated that repositioning, restructuring and generation of more revenue for the government were paramount to him.

He warned importers and officials of the Nigeria Customs Service against corrupt practices in the maritime sector.

While stressing the need to block revenue leakages for the nation to generate more revenue from the maritime sector, he warned that the days of corruption were over and that anyone caught would be dealt with accordingly.

He tasked officers and men of the Seme Area Command in Lagos to carry out their duties according to the dictates of the law that established the service.

Senate Demands 44bn Naira Payment For Rice Importation Debt

Nigerian-Senate-Members-in-the-8th-AssemblyThe Chairman of the Nigerian Senate committee investigating rice waivers, Senator Adamu Aliero, has demanded that Stallion Group and Olam International pay 44 billion Naira as import duties on rice importation owed the Nigerian Government.

The two foreign companies, who are involved in rice importation into Nigeria, appeared before the Senate committee which is investigating the flagrant abuse of the rice waiver policy in the nation.

While demanding payment of the money, Senator Aliero, said Nigeria would not fold its hands and watch the huge debt swept under the carpet.

Speaking in his defence, the Executive Director of Stallion Group, Harpreet Singh, claimed that its mission in Nigeria was to ensure that the country was self-sufficient in rice production, and equally ensure that Nigeria is saved from scarcity of the product.

Recently, the Senate summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to explain why he lifted ban on rice importation through land borders.

Senator Aliero said that the Senate was concerned that the decision by the Comptroller-General of Customs to liberalise the importation of rice to the extent of lifting the ban on land importation of rice would worsen rice smuggling into Nigeria.

Senate Summons Customs Boss Over Rice Importation

CustomsThe Nigerian Senate has summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to explain why he lifted the ban on rice importation through land borders.

The Customs boss is to appear before the Senate’s Ad- hoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers to explain reasons behind his action, which is viewed by the Senate to be above his level, since the order restricting rice importation through land borders was a presidential one issued in 2011.

This decision to summon Ali was taken after a motion on the dangers posed by the removal of rice from the import restriction list and re-introduction of import duty payment on land borders was presented.

Presenting the motion on the floor, Senator Muhammed Aliero said that the Senate was concerned that the decision by the Comptroller-General of Customs to liberalize the importation of rice to the extent of lifting the ban on land importation of rice would worsen rice smuggling into the country.

“The Senate is worried that the unilateral and unexpected decision of the CG Customs to re-open the country’s land borders to rice importation will reverse the tremendous gains recorded in rice production in the country.

“The Senate also wants to ensure that the agriculture sector (which) is the dependable lifeline of this country is not harmed beyond immediate repair by the policy inconsistency,” he said.