The Senate Committee on Finance on Wednesday submitted its report on a Bill for an Act to repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), 2004 and other Customs and Excise laws.
Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman of the Committee, appeared before the floor of the Senate to file the draft of 217-page bill.
The bill seeks to reform the administration and management of Customs and Excise in Nigeria and to bring the CEMA Act of 1958 inline with modern day best practice.
Makarfi (PDP-Kaduna) told the Senate that the committee made recommendations based on “specific issues raised by the various stakeholders with the relevant sections of the bill.”
The Tide source reports that the recommendations by the committee include provisions in the bill to boost the financing of customs service operations.
The committee also recommended the “prohibition of mandatory pre-shipment and post-shipment inspections, as outlined in Clause 43 of the proposed legislation.
On Clause 43, it recommended that “the president may on the recommendation of the minister, approve the use of mandatory pre-shipment inspection services for Customs purpose.”
It also recommended a new insertion in Clause 43(2), which grants the Customs Board the power to approve and engage the services of service providers “through competitive bidding”.
It would be recalled that the original bill had recommended the prohibition of mandatory, pre-shipment and post-shipment inspections.
The initial bill also recommended the termination of service providers used by customs for pre-shipment and post-shipment services not later than December 2012.
However the draft, which the Senate Committee on Finance worked on and circulated to the Senate, has deleted the aforementioned provision.
Besides, the Committee in the new draft also proposed an amendment of Clause 31 (1), which deals with the power of the Comptroller-General of Customs to designate customs control zone.
The new draft proposed that the Board should have the power to designate areas within and outside the customs territory as customs control zone.
The bill was not discussed in the Senate because of its bulky nature.
Senate President David Mark, therefore, requested the Committee to circulate it to all members of the Senate for due perusal before discussions.
Mark expressed the hope that the bill would be passed into law before the end of the year.
Several senators who spoke in favour of the bill described it as a “major and very important bill” second to the Petroleum Industry Bill.
The bill if passed into law, will consolidate, in a single reference document, the Nigeria Customs Service legal authority scattered in eight different enactment.
Currency Outside Banks Rises 4% To N2.29trn …As Credit To Govt Hits N32.5trn
Currency Outside Banks (CoB) rose Month-on-Month (MoM) by N90 billion or 4.09 percent to N2.29 trillion in August from N2.2 trillion in July 2023.
It has been on the increase since March, reflecting the impact of the implementation of the Supreme Court order that old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes remain in circulation till December 31, 2023.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Money and Credit data for August also showed that Currency-In-Circulation, CIC, stood at N2.66 trillion, representing a 2.7 percent rise from N2.59 trillion in July 2023.
Recall that the implementation of the Naira redesign and withdrawal of old banknotes by CBN sucked in about N1.81 trillion from CoB while crashing Currency-in-Circulation to N1.4 trillion in January 2023.
Meanwhile, Banks’ credit to the Government rose MoM by 0.62 percent from N32.5 trillion in August to N32.3 trillion in July.
Data from the CBN Money and Credit Statistics showed that credit to the private sector also rose by 1.1 percent to N54.7 trillion from N54.1 trillion.
This resulted in a 0.92 percent rise in Net domestic credit to N87.3 trillion in August from N86.5 trillion in July.
Cardoso Focuses On Monetary Policies To Save Naira
The new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, has disclosed that he and his team will focus solely on monetary policies to strengthen the Naira.
To achieve this, he explained, they will have to abandon some of the policies of the estwhile CBN, Godwin Emefiele, and his team that has warranted the rising inflation in the country.
Cardoso stated this during his screening by the National Assembly, and confirmation as the CBN Governor on Tuesday..
Responding to questions from the lawmakers, Cardoso said the CBN is faced with numerous challenges which the team had identified and would address them.
“We have identified issues of corporate governance, diminished institutional autonomy, discontinuity of orthodox policies and foreign currency issues.
“Addressing inflation and price stability is the function of the CBN. We will address the issue of foreign exchange unification. If there is a need for interest rate alignment, we will do it for economic growth”, he stated.
To manage the economic policy, Cardoso said size matters, adding that the CBN team had identified macroeconomic indices and will facilitate new ways to attain $1trillion GDP in eight years.
On inflation, Cardoso said each will be tackled based on their causes.
“If the inflation is on food, we should ramp up production of food. If inflation is on energy, we know the challenges of energy. If you are importing, automatically you are importing inflation”, he said.
On money supply, the apex bank Governor said the way money has gone up in Nigeria, “that, itself, is behind inflation. It is the problem. It is a big problem, but going forward, we will do everything possible to ensure that deficit financing does not bring problems to us.
“These are the assurances I can give you coming from outside because we will maintain a good working relationship to block the excesses we had in the past.
“I believe that the CBN under us will have no choice but to embrace a culture of compliance”, Cardoso said, assuring that they will abide by the CBN Act.
“We will not wait for oversight before we interact with the lawmakers. We will have zero tolerance to abuse of processes. We recognize the fact that we need to work closely with these chambers at the National Assembly to ensure compliance”, he said.
According to him, deficit financing and undue money glut are responsible for 50 per cent of the inflation.
Consequently, he told the Senate that there is a need to stabilise the naira to settle Nigeria’s outstanding debts, stating that the country is only spending money in printing currency rather than bringing in revenues.
According to him, the immediate thing to look out for is to address operational issues, which are the unsettled obligations of the CBN wealth of N4 billion or N7 billion.
He stated that Nigeria will not make progress if it is not able to handle that side of foreign exchange rate.
Cardoso also noted that foreign exchange rate is worrisome, hence Nigeria must have a stable exchange rate.
Also speaking, a Deputy Governor, Philip Ikeazor, said the present CBN is going to strengthen governance and focus on monetary policies and not fiscal policies, noting that the country must decide to support the physical majors of the CBN and ensure that exportation thrive.
“We will think outside the box, tackle inflation and the free flow of naira”, he said.
The Deputy Governors screened and confirmed are on the day were: Emem Usoro, Abdullahi Dattijo, Bala Bello and Philip Ikeazor.
Seme Customs Intercepts 62 African Parrots On- Hawk
The new Controller of Customs, Seme Border Command, Timi Bomodi, has has disclosed that the command seized 69 smuggled birds from smugglers who had moved the birds from Kaduna enrout Benin Republic.
The discovery, according to him , was made while customs operatives at the border were on patrol along Seme– Badagry Expressway, acting on credible intelligence intercepted a Benin Republic-bound luxurious bus from Kaduna State..
Two suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure and six of the birds were reportedly dead, due to poor condition under which they were being moved.
The seizures, according to him, were worth over N6,859,932.
“Upon searching the bus, 51 live Green parrots, five live African Grey Parrots, five dead Green Parrots, one dead African Grey Parrot, and one live hawk in iron nets and a Paper Box were discovered. Six of the birds and two suspects were also arrested in connection with the seizure”, Bomodi said.
The African Parrot have a duty paid value (DPV) N6,859,932 only.
Bomodi condemned the criminal act by some members of the society considering that the trade in endangered wildlife contravenes the Convention on International Trade On Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora which is an International Agreement between Governments, of which Nigeria is a signatory
He warned the perpetrators of this illegal trade to “stay out of the Lagos – Abidjan corridor or they will continue to incur heavy losses if they so insist.
“In line with the dictates of the Nigeria Customs Service of promoting inter-agency collaboration and synergy, and considering the nature of the item, the seized Parrot will be handed over to the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Seme Command.
“Officials of the f National Park Service will be informed of this seizure as it is their responsibility to rehabilitate and protect them from further harm”.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
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