New Customs Act :
CGC Adeniyi designs sensitisation template to include importers, manufacturers, freight agents, media
…Harps on trade facilitation
In a bit to ensure proper understanding of Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, the Service management has organised a two-day sensitisation workshop to enlighten officers and relevant stakeholders on all details of the New Customs Act.
Most remarkably, the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, in his ingenuity, has designed the sensitization template to include
importers, manufacturers, customs agents, journalists, among others.
Speaking during the workshop in Abuja, CGC Adeniyi, said the enlightenment exercise becomes necessary to all concerned to be familiar with the provisions of this Act, in order to promote trade facilitation, curtail smuggling and enhance effective border enforcement.
He said : “Laws are tools and Legal instruments through which government and its agencies derive the powers to carry out their mandate. As a result, the laws must be consistent, clear and adequate to achieve its objectives and the mandate of the government, as well as its agencies, otherwise, there would be a lot of constraints in application and enforcement.”
This, he said may require the amendment or total repeal of the law.
He pointed out; “Nigeria Customs Service is one of the very important agencies of the Federal Government, saddled with enormous responsibilities of administering, managing and enforcing the provisions of the defunct Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2004 (CEMA).
“This CEMA was enacted 63 years ago and had remained in operation since then without any significant amendment, notwithstanding the expansion in government, growth in population and challenges in the economy.”
“He went on : “Consequent upon this, several attempts were made in the past to cause amendments or the repeal of CEMA to no avail.
“The efforts were necessary because the provisions of CEMA had become obsolete and could no longer adequately meet the contemporary fiscal policies of Government and the mandate of the Service.”
The CGC stressed ; “This situation undoubtedly propelled the National Assembly through a private member Bill to initiate the repeal and enactment of a new Nigeria Customs Service Bill, passed by the Parliament and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.
“At this juncture, I must not fail to recognize the sterling contributions of some distinguished personalities involved in midwifing this new Customs Act. Prominent among them is the former President for giving his assent, the current President for keeping faith with implementation of key provisions. I also want to thank profoundly members of the 9th National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and passage of the bill. The Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, for the key role they played in the process.”
His assertions : “I also want to thank key stakeholders who played a prominent role to get us to where we are today. Notable among them, is my predecessor Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali CFR.
“It is my belief that the new law has addressed some of the defeats in the CEMA and introduced innovative solutions in implementation of the Act.
“Under this new Legal regime, the Service has been statutorily empowered to administer and enforce the provisions of the Act;
collect and account for revenue from Customs and Excise among others;
promote trade facilitation;
curtail smuggling activities and carryout border enforcement.
“These are a few highlights of the new Act. I believe that in the course of this retreat more features and provisions of the Act will be presented and discussed. As a responsible institution, we are not unmindful of the fact that members of the public are not yet familiar with the provisions of this Act. Most importantly, the new procedures, processes and the very stiff punitive provisions in the law. We are equally appreciative of the urgent need to sensitize the public on the provisions of this law to prevent the excuse of ignorance of the law, which is not a defence. The Service will continue to sensitise and educate the public on the provisions of the law and Customs processes.
“It is against this background, that we believe our charity should begin at home by first sensitising the Management members. After this phase, other phases of sensitisation that will cover all categories of sections of the Service and Public have been designed and shall be meticulously executed.”
The Customs Boss assured: “We will bring into the sensitization fold stakeholders like importers, manufacturers, Customs Agents, Journalists, among others.”
He emphasised : “Ladies and gentlemen, I need to reiterate that this workshop is just an introduction to the new law. The appreciation and understanding of the law shall be achieved with constant study and application. In other words, this workshop cannot completely enlighten and educate the participants on the legal jurisprudence of the provisions of the Act. To this end, I urge you to pay attention and share your thoughts on issues arising from the Act during this exercise. Interestingly, the facilitators are legal officers from the Legal Department of the Service which is a boost to the programme”.