NCS kicks off two days sensitization workshop on new Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023


…New law addressed some of the defeats in CEMA – Adeniyi

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, today commenced a two day sensitization workshop on the new Nigeria Customs Service Act, NCSA 2023 signed into law by the former President Muhammadu Buhari in April this year.

Speaking in his opening remarks, the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Mr. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi recalled that the  Service was one of the very important agencies of the Federal Government saddled with the enormous responsibility of administering, managing and enforcing the provision of the defunct Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004 (CEMA).

Adeniyi further explained that the CEMA was enacted 63 years ago and had remained in operation since then without any significant amendment notwithstanding the expansion in government, growth in population and over dynamic progress and challenges in the economy.

He observed that consequent upon this, several attempts were made in the past to cause amendments or the repeal of CEMA to no avail. He, however, admitted that the efforts were necessary because the provisions of CEMA had become obsolete and could no longer adequately meet the contemporary fiscal policies of the Government and the mandate of the Service.

“This situation undoubtedly propelled the National Assembly through a private member Bill to initiate the repeal and enactment of a new Nigeria Customs Service Bill which was passed by the Parliament and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.

“At this juncture I must not fail to recognize the Sterling contribution of some distinguished personalities involved in midwifing this new Customs Act. Prominent among them is the former President for giving his assent, the current President for keeping faith with the implementation of key provisions. I also want to thank profoundly members of the 9th National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and passage of the bill. The ministries of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, and the Attorney General of the Federation, for the key role they played in the process.

“Finally, I also want to thank key stakeholders who played prominent role to get us to where we are today, notable among them is my predecessor Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali CFR”, he said.

He, however, believed that the new law had addressed some of the defeats in the CEMA and introduced innovative solutions in the implementation of the Act.

The Customs boss further explained that under this new legal regime, the Service had been statutorily empowered to: administer and enforce the provisions of the Act; collect and account for revenue from Customs and Excise among others; promote trade facilitation; prevent smuggling activities and carryout border enforcement; carry out o such other things as are necessary for or incidental to the performance of the function and duties of the Service under the Act.

He pointed out that s a responsible institution, the were not unmindful of the fact that the members of the public were not yet familiar with the provisions of this Act, most importantly, the new procedure, processes and the very stiff punitive provisions in the law.

“We are equally appreciative of the urgent need to sensitize the public on the provisions of this law to prevent the excuse of ignorance of the law, which is not a defence.  The Service will continue to sensitize and educate the public on the provisions of the law and Customs procedure and processes.

“It is against this background, that we believe our charity should begin at home by first sensitizing the Management members.  After this phase, other phases of sensitization that will cover all categories of sections of the Service and public have been designed and shall be meticulously executed. We will bring into the sensitization fold stakeholders like importers, manufacturers, Customs Agents, Journalists among others”, added.

Reiterating that the workshop was just an introduction to the new law, he maintained that the appreciation and understanding of the law shall be due to the constant study, usage and application.

“In other words, this workshop cannot completely enlighten and educate the participants on the legal jurisprudence of the provisions of the Act.  To this end, I urge you to pay attention and share your thoughts on issues arising from the Act during this exercise.  Interestingly, the facilitators are legal officers from the Legal Department of the Service which is a boost to the programme”, he said.

Photo: Mr. Adewale Bashir Adeniyi, Acting Comptroller General of Customs addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony of a two day sensitization workshop on new Nigeria Customs Service Act, NCSA 2023 today in Abuja.

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