By Steve Agbota
The National President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, has said that the new draft bill proposed for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is against global best practice.
Amiwero, who stated this in his 163 pages paper submitted to the House Committee of Customs and Excise on the bill to repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and made available to Daily Sun, said that Customs cannot be autonomous.
According to him, the bill is designed and personalised for the management of the NCS based on the total removal of the power of the President, ministers and the overriding powers over other Federal Government agencies.
Globally, he said the title of the act is structured by the content based on the application of international convention, which is mostly titled as follows: Customs Act, Trade Act, Customs and Excise Act, Customs Management Act, Customs and Excise Management Act.
Speaking on the Customs and Excise in the Act, he explained that Customs globally stands for import-export in the Act and anything that has to do with importation and exportation, while the excise in the Act stands for manufacturing and the process of collection of excise duty.
On the Management in the Act, he hinted that the management in the act stands for the structure of management and organisation as indicated in the current Customs and Excise Management Act.
“Customs and Excise Management Act C45 of 2004 established and managed by the following structures: President has power for declaration, designation, proclamation and initiation of policies, then Minister is for regulation of policies while Nigeria Customs Service board is for direction of policies and Nigeria Customs Service is for implementation of policies.
“The removal of the President and Minister power to initiate and regulate policy on trade and fiscal policy would constitute serious setbacks to the economy on our multilateral and bilateral trade agreement, especially to our trading partners, which would have far reaching security and Economic implications to the nation,” he added. He said the exclusion in the bill, of the power of the President and Minister, would eventually conferred authority on the Comptroller-General of the Customs Service to approve Import, Export, Excise Duties and the formulation of Trade and Fiscal policy direction.
He said the conflict in the bill with the function of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the receiver of money on behalf of Federal Government would create serious setback to the Federal Government on revenue control and management.
“The conflict in the bill with the Ministry of Trade and Finance on Trade and Fiscal Policy Formulation and Regulation, will constitute setback to the economy that would not be directed by either the President or Minister,” he stated.