Barring any last minute changes, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Mohammed Markafi, has given assurance that the Customs and Excise Management Act Bill (CEMA) will be passed before June.
Markafi dropped the hint during an oversight visit of his Committee to the facilities of Global Scansystems Limited and Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited (CDIL) at both Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC) and the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), both in Apapa, Lagos, yesterday.
He said that the Senate has considered all the inputs received from stakeholders before the expecxted final passage of the bill, noting that the bill is very crucial to the nation’s economy.
Reacting to the recent allegation by so-called ‘Maritime Stakeholders’, that they were not carried along in the process leading to the passage of the bill, Markafi said that the Senate is unaware of such opposition, even as he maintained that there is no going back on the passage of the bill.
“We are not aware of such opposition, there was a public hearing and we listened to everybody. People cannot insist to follow the process and cry later on. Some people who are making complaints now have failed to make a written and physical presentation when the process was on. If people have been given the opportunity to appear and submit written submission and they failed to do so for a process that took some five to six months, they cannot come after one year and say they have complaints. We considered all the inputs we received, what is good for Nigeria is what is important to us not any other interest,” Makarfi stated.
He explained that the Committee members were at the Lagos ports to ascertain the level of job done by the Destination Inspection (DI) service sroviders in preparedness of the final takeover by the Nigeria Customs Servive (NCS).
“The whole essence of the visit is to see the level of job provided by the Service providers and how they correlate with the Nigeria Customs Service. To see whether the training programme is going on and see if there is full deployment of all the equipments that needs to be deployed and interact with them and see the level of preparedness of each party,” he said.
He noted with satisfaction that both service providers have a world best cargo scanners at the ports, the 9 million electron volts otherwise called the 9 Mev scanners.
Asked to assess the level of preparedness by the Customs, Markafi said: “The government decides when any particular thing will happen; they will look at the totality of all the issues. It is not Customs versus service providers, we are thinking of what is best for the country.”
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