For the first time in almost sixty years the Nigeria Customs Service was reviewed, renewed and legislated upon by the National Assembly with the Nigerian Senate passing the Nigeria Customs Service Management Act 2017.
By this development, the Customs administration enters a new phase that ensures that finance minister will no longer supervise the Management Board of Customs.
The new Act stipulates that the Comptroller General of Customs shall be appointed from among serving senior customs officers by the President which will be liable to confirmation by the Senate.
Chairman Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, Senator Hope Uzodinma told journalists that the new Act will reposition the Customs for effective and productive performance, since the old had become outdated and almost counter-productive since it was established in 1958.
“The Customs Act was legislated upon last in 1958. This is the first time that this bill is going through a comprehensive overhaul and it is as good as a brand new one. This bill has created a Customs Service Commission that is in charge of the day to day management of the service.
“The primary purpose of amending this bill is to bring discipline and prudence into Nigeria Customs Service as a major revenue earning Department of Government.
“It is also to use the services of Customs to strengthen border community and facilitate trade.
“It will be in charge of discipline, conduct, training, deployment of officers, and it has the powers of oversight the various customs operations while ensuring that it is not different from customs in other clients.
He said that the Chairman of the Commission would be appointed by the President, subject to Senate confirmation and members of the commission are going to be statutory organs of government, Federal Ministry of Finance.
“Others are Federal Ministry of Transport, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), the Nigeria Customs Service, Standard Organisation of Nigeria,’’ he said.
Uzodinma further said that the tenure of the Chairman of the commission would be four years with an option to renew for another four years.
He said “Now customs will be funded through the existing seven per cent surcharge and additional one per cent charge from the revenue generated.’’
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the bill would also ensure that Nigeria complies with international commitments of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and ensure a simplification of Customs procedures in accordance with the Revised Conventions.