Customs decries huge revenue loss from investors’ waivers

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has lamented the loss of N1.3tn in 2023 due to the import duty waivers, concessions and grants given to investors by the Federal Government.

It also stated that it was not aware of the details of the Customs $3.2bn modernisation project.

The Comptroller General of the NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, revealed this at the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Adeniyi was represented by the Deputy Comptroller General, Mba Musa, at a public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committees examining the 2024–2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy.

The senators asked the Customs CG about the details of the agreement signed by the federal government on the modernisation of Nigeria Customs.

The Federal Executive Council had approved the Nigeria Customs Service modernisation project, also known as e-customs, in April 2023 despite a court order restraining the Federal Government from proceeding with the initiative.

Buhari’s administration specifically approved the implementation of the Customs modernisation project to a concessionaire.

The concessionaire was granted to Bergman Securities Consultant and Suppliers Limited as the project sponsor, Africa Finance Corporation UFC as the lead financier, and Huawei Technologies was named as the lead technical service provider.

However, stakeholders criticised the project, saying it’s to mortgage the future of the service and also detrimental to national security.

Speaking on the modernisation project before the Senate joint panel, Mba told the lawmakers that the Nigeria Customs Service was not privy to details of modernisation agreement.

He said, “We are not privy to details of modernisation agreement of the Nigeria Customs Modernisation Project.” He also declared that the Nigeria Customs Service lost of N1.3tn in 2023 due to waivers and concessions the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration granted to investors.

He explained that “NCS would have generated more revenue to the nation’s Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2023 if not for the waivers and concessions arrangements.”

Dissatisfied with the arrangement, Musa, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, said the Senate would commence investigation into granting of waivers and concesioning in the country.

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