In a pivotal move towards enhancing trade facilitation, modernizing customs procedures, and fostering economic growth, the Committee on Customs and Excise of the House of Representatives, chaired by Hon. Leke Abejide, has launched a comprehensive seven-point agenda to guide its activities over the next three and a half years.
At the inaugural meeting held on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, Chairman Hon. Abejide outlined the committee’s strategic focus areas in accordance with Order 20 Rule 28 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives (10th Edition).
The seven-point agenda encompasses crucial aspects such as the oversight of the Nigeria Customs Service’s implementation of the new NCS Act 2023, revenue collection and remittance, cost of collection, Export Processing Zones, training institutions, customs and excise laws, and budget estimates of the Customs.
The chairman expressed determination, stating, “The Committee on Customs and Excise will be steadfast in its pursuit of excellence, working tirelessly to enhance trade facilitation policies, modernize customs procedures, and foster a conducive environment for economic growth and development.”
Highlighting the significance of the recently enacted Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, Hon. Abejide explained its transformative features, including a new financing model with a 4% Free on Board (FOB) charge.
This change aims to optimize the NCS’s operations and efficiency, aligning it with global digital trends and promoting rapid revenue generation and ease of doing business.
A notable aspect of the new Act is the establishment of a clear leadership structure for the Nigeria Customs Service, ensuring that a career officer, at least at the rank of Assistant Comptroller General, is appointed as the Comptroller-General of Customs by the President of Nigeria.
The committee will closely monitor the NCS’s implementation of the new Act, emphasizing transparency, accountability, and efficiency. In addition, it will scrutinize revenue collection and remittance, review the cost of collection, and oversee customs enforcement in Export Processing Zones to ensure compliance with legal requirements.
Hon. Abejide stressed the importance of assessing the quality of training provided by Customs’ training institutions, aiming to equip personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge.
Periodic reviews of customs and excise laws will also be conducted to adapt to changing economic and technological landscapes.
Moreover, the committee will meticulously review the Customs’ annual budget proposals, ensuring alignment with government economic and fiscal policies. Notably, the NCS operates independently of the national annual budget, optimizing its operations and efficiency through a self-funding structure.
As the committee takes on these ambitious tasks, Hon. Abejide concluded, “In the face of ever-evolving trade patterns and technological advancements, our committee shall remain vigilant in addressing the challenges that lie ahead. I hereby crave the need for effective teamwork and collaboration.”
Members expressed their readiness to work as a team, congratulating Hon. Abejide on his reappointment as chairman.