The Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi has said that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) lost N1.3 trillion to waivers and concessions the administration of then President Muhammadu Buhari granted to investors this year.
NCS also said that it was not privy to details of the Customs $3.2 billion modernisation project.
Buhari completed his eight-year tenure on 29th May.
At a public hearing by the Senate joint committee on the 2024–2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy at the National Assembly complex in Abuja on Wednesday, Adeniyi also said that the NCS was not privy to details of the controversial Customs $3.2 billion modernisation project (also known as e-Customs) approved by the Buhari administration in April
Represented by Deputy Comptroller General Mba Musa, the Customs helmsman said: “We are not privy to details of modernisation agreement of the Nigeria Customs modernisation project”.
During the hearing, the senators inquired from the Customs CG about the details of the agreement signed by the Federal Government on the modernisation of Nigeria Customs.
Last April, the Federal Executive Council approved the NCS’ modernisation project, also known as e-customs, despite a court order restraining the Federal Government from going on with the initiative.
The Buhari administration specifically approved the implementation of the Customs modernisation project to a concessionaire.
The concessionaire was granted to Bergman Securities Consultant and Suppliers Limited as the project sponsor, Africa Finance Corporation UFC as the lead financier, and Huawei Technologies was named as the lead technical service provider.
However, stakeholders knocked the project, saying it’s to mortgage the future of the service and also inimical to national security.
On the modernisation project before the Senate joint panel, Mba told the lawmakers that the NCS was not privy to details of modernisation agreement.
He said: “We are not privy to details of modernisation agreement of the Nigeria Customs Modernisation Project”.
He also declared that the NCS “would have generated more revenue to the nation’s Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2023 if not for the waivers and concessions arrangements”.
Not comfortable with the arrangement, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Sani Musa said the Senate would commence investigation into granting of waivers and concesioning in the country.
Musa said: “By now we shouldn’t be talking about concession for cement manufacturers, we should not even be talking about sugar importation.
“We should not deny ourselves revenues that we should generate to make our economy vibrant. By now, we should be consolidating on waivers given to boost revenues.
“We would review the waivers and make our recommendations. By now, you (NCS) should be meeting up on your projected target if there are no waivers”.