NCS lost over N1.3tn to Buhari’s waivers – CG
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that it lost over N1.3tn in 2023 due to waivers and concessions that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration granted to investors.
The service also noted that it was not privy to details of the Customs $3.2bn modernization project.
NCS Comptroller General, Adewale Adeniyi, made the disclosure at the National Assembly on Wednesday.
Adeniyi was represented by the Deputy Comptroller General, Mba Musa, at a public hearing organized by the Senate Joint Committees scrutinizing the 2024–2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy.
During the hearing, the senators inquired from the Customs CG about the details of the agreement signed by the federal government on the modernization of Nigeria Customs.
The Federal Executive Council had in April 2023 approved the Nigeria Customs Service modernization project, also known as e-customs, despite a court order restraining the Federal Government from going on 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 knocked the project, saying it’s to mortgage the future of the service and also inimical 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 the modernization agreement.
He said, “We are not privy to details of the modernization agreement of the Nigeria Customs Modernisation Project.”
He also declared that the Nigeria Customs Service lost over 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.”
Not comfortable with the arrangement, Musa, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Sani Musa said the Senate would commence investigation into granting of waivers and concessioning in the country.
Senator Musa said, “By now we shouldn’t be talking about concession for cement manufacturers, we should not even be talking about sugar importation.
“We should not deny ourselves revenues that we should generate to make our economy vibrant. By now, we should be consolidating on waivers given to boost revenues.”
“We would review the waivers and make our recommendations. By now, you (NCS) should be meeting up on your projected target if there are no waivers,” Musa added.