The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has sought the pulling out of the Nigerian Customs Service from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
In the association’s contributions to the proposed amendment of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), titled, “Re: Contribution of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) on the Draft Copy of the Amended Cema Bill 2013,” and addressed to the Comptroller of Customs, NAGAFF said, “The Nigeria Customs Service shall be moved from Finance Ministry to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for the purposes of trade. The Finance Ministry shall be saddled with the coordination, collation and accounting of all revenue matters due to the Government.”
NAGAFF suggested that the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who is now the minister vested with supervisory power over the Nigeria Customs Service should remain the Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria Customs Service as it is in the extant Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
This, according to the association, will eliminate the danger of over-concentration of powers on the Comptroller-General of Customs which shall be inevitable whereby the Comptroller-General is the head of the Board that makes policies for the Service and head of the management team that implements the policies.
NAGAFF argued that the minister of Industry Trade and Investment being a technocrat will be in a better position to superintend the policy making aspect of the functions of Nigeria Customs Service which the Board is saddled with as the Minister will bring his expertise as such a technocrat to bear in the policies made for the Service which will ultimately enhance its working, but also that of the Comptroller-General who will have more time and opportunity to concentrate on policy implementation and other functions reserved for the management of the Nigeria Customs Service under Part IV of this proposed Act.
The freight forwarding association also contributed that the Registrar General of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) should not only be made a member of the Board of the Nigeria Customs Service but should also be a permanent member of the Board.
This, it said would facilitate a seamless and complementary inter-agency operations between the CRFFN and the Nigeria Customs Service who is a statutory permanent member of the Board of CRFFN. This will not only enhance a more smooth interaction but will ultimately ensure a fastersectoral growth within the respective jurisdictions of the two agencies of Government.
“Above all, the appointment of the Comptroller-General as the Chairman of the Board under Part III and the head of the management team under Part IV of the proposed Act will negate the principle of separation of powers as it would put the Comptroller-General in the position whereby he will make policies including bye-laws and implement same.
“The Comptroller-General of Customs would also be a judge in his own case whereby the management which he superintends is made accountable to the Board of the Customs Service which he also superintends and this is a precarious situation that will compromise the principle of transparency and accountability,” the association noted.
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