The Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff has revealed plans to investigate how over N4 trillion was lost due to revenue leakage in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) between 2006 and 2016. The Senate decried the inability of the Technical Committee on the Implementation of Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme to ensure compliance with its provisions.
In the investigation, the Senate committee will look into the tenures of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. Also, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government will be probed.
The panel vowed that the upper legislative chamber would stop at nothing at recovering the funds that were lost to lapses and various infractions. The customs has a yearly target to improve the nation’s revenue. But it has been dogged by allegations of corruption. An investigation may engender transparency in its operations. It may also lead to the recovery of the lost N4trillion revenue which is 57 per cent of the N7.2 trillion national budget for 2017 by the Federal Government. Such recovered funds will be deployed by the government for good governance that will ultimately improve the citizens’ wellbeing.
According to the Chairman of the committee, Hope Uzodinma (PDP, Imo West), a preliminary investigation revealed that the alleged malfeasance resulted mainly from the abuse and non-implementation of Form M (foreign exchange forms). He added that other factors responsible for the leakage were wrong classification of cargo under HS Code (Harmonised System Codes), non-screening of cargoes coming into Nigeria and lack of adequate Internet and Communications Technology (ICT infrastructure), among others.