New Customs Act will speed up growth of economy, enhance investors’ confidence, says Abejide


…NCS to keep, maintain 4% FOB value of imports for its operations

…Execute projects less than 10% of total capital budget

The Chairman, House Committee on Customs & Excise in the 9th National Assembly, Hon. Leke Abejide has said that the new Nigeria Customs Service Act, NCSA 2023 will speed up the growth of the Nigerian economy, enhance investors’ confidence, boost the morale of Customs Officers nationwide, improve stakeholder confidence and improve the transparency of Nigerian business climate in the global market place.

Hon. Abejide who made this assertion in his keynote address at the Management Retreat on Sensitization Workshop on the new Nigeria Customs Service Act in Abuja on Monday stated that the reforms introduced by the new Act had a tremendous effect on every facet of the national economy and also the officers’ career progression with some enhanced level of professionalism and job motivation which had hitherto been deprived of the Service.

The lawmaker observed that the new legislation further marked a significant milestone in the nation’s efforts to streamline Customs procedures, enhance trade facilitation, and foster a conducive environment for economic growth and development.

He maintained that under the new Act, every Customs Officer is assured that his labour is not going to be truncated at the peak of his career neither is he going to be denied the fruit of long, faithful and dedicated service to his/her mother land. as according to him, “The provisions of Section 14 (1) of the new Act is very instructive on professionalism, by providing appointment of a career officer from the Service to be head of management of the Service.”

“I want to congratulate the newly appointed Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi (MFR), for being the first partaker of this career reform exercise. I am persuaded that with your track records of selfless service to this institution, your statutory duty of overseeing the task of reforms injected into this Act would be seamlessly achieved”, he said.

He noted that some of the reforms injected into the Nigerian Customs Act 2023 is the enhancement of trade facilitation policies of the service, which he said has upgraded the status of the Service to the 21st Century strategic revenue generating institution of our dream.

According to him, “Our effort is providing policies statutorily implanted, which invigorates the objectives of keeping our boarders safe and making avenues of leaked revenue accountability lean, hence this institution shall in the shortest period reap the dividends of this legal framework that gear up the ease of doing business in Nigeria.”

Continuing, he said, “For the first time since the inception of this Service, the idea to always go cap in hand for finances in order to perform its lawful and statutory duties is now a thing of the past with the introduction of Section 18 of the Act; the Act provides for a sum not less than 4% of the Free-On-Board value of imports according to international best practice as part of the funds the service shall keep and maintain for its operation.

“Further, Section 18(6)(a) has empowered the Nigeria Customs Service to superintend over its budget line items which its cost is 10% or less of the entire capital budget under review. This makes it faster for the Service to be able to implement their capital projects as quick as possible to enhance the performance of officers in service delivery. This implies that only projects of which value is above 10% of the total capital projects of the year under review will require Federal Executive Council approval.

“It is our expectation that the Service would live to its responsibility of tapping new revenue areas, ensuring that duties and levies evading techniques by criminal-minded persons are restricted to the barest minimum level so that targeted revenue avenues would be harnessed.”

He went further to explain that the new legislation has introduced some new internal adjudicatory mechanism, equivalence of ADR, which simplified ways of resolving Customs disputes quickly and timeously without the technicality of court’s litigation.

“Moreso, the introduction of e-commerce system of trade facilitation avenues is an answer to long awaited response to global digital method which promotes quick response to revenue generation by the Service and ease of doing business”, he also said.

The lawmaker assured that “this Act has made provisions for reward motivational scheme for exceptional and meritorious services rendered by any officer in relation to any Customs or Excise matter. This may come by special promotion, letter of commendation or cash reward.
So your labour in executing this law optimally shall not be in vain.”

While congratulating the Management for having a dependable instrument that would enhance effective service delivery of its statutory responsibilities, he equally expressed his sincere gratitude to the Management of the Service for its cooperation during the task of getting the Act prepared in collaboration with his Committee of the House of Representatives and Senate.

“Your input during the public hearing, harmonization meetings of Ministries of Finance, Justice and other relevant agencies of government cannot be overemphasized. It has produced a fruitful result”, he concluded.

Photo: Hon. Leke Abejide, Chairman, House Committee on Customs & Excise in the 9th National Assembly.

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