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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Customs Forfeited N1.3 trillion due to waivers for investors during Buhari’s tenure, says CG

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) disclosed a substantial loss of N1.3 trillion in 2023, attributing it to the waivers and concessions granted by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to investors. Comptroller General Adewale Adeniyi, represented by Deputy Comptroller General Mba Musa, revealed this information during a public hearing organized by the Senate Joint Committees scrutinizing the 2024–2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy. This loss is significant and has raised concerns about the impact of the concessions on the nation’s revenue.
During the hearing, the Senators sought details from the Customs CG regarding the agreement signed by the federal government for the modernization of Nigeria Customs, also known as the e-customs project. Despite a court order restraining the Federal Government from proceeding with the initiative, the Federal Executive Council approved the project in April 2023. The Customs modernization project, delegated to Bergman Securities Consultant and Suppliers Limited as the project sponsor, raised skepticism among stakeholders who argued that it might compromise the future of the service and pose risks to national security.
Mba Musa informed the lawmakers that the Nigeria Customs Service was not privy to the specifics of the modernization agreement, adding a layer of opacity to the controversial project. Additionally, he underscored that the NCS would have generated more revenue in 2023 if not for the waivers and concessions granted to investors. Expressing discomfort with this arrangement, Musa, who chairs the Joint Committee, announced the Senate’s intention to investigate the granting of waivers and concessions in the country. He emphasized the need to review such arrangements, ensuring that the nation can generate the expected revenues for economic vibrancy.

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