Reps summon Accountant-General over Shippers’ Council revenue

Reps ask FG to ban presidential task team, end extortion on port roads

 

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance has invited the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Budget Office of the Federation to appear on Monday and explain issues surrounding the collection and appropriation of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, which is derived from a portion of the port develop levy imposed on imported items. 

The committee issued the summons in Abuja on Tuesday at the ongoing public hearing on the 2022-2024 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Emmanuel Jime, had decried that the main source of the council’s revenue, which is a quarterly two of the seven per cent ports development levy amounting to N3.1bn was collected by the Customs and sent to the Account-General’s office.

Jime, a former member of the House, said, “There is also the extra challenge we have. The agency responsible for the collection of that particular two per cent that is being given under the current arrangement is Customs. 

“It is the Customs that determines what amounts to percentage of the port levy. So, we’re not really involved,” he said.

Chairman of the committee, James Faleke, consequently directly the secretariat to invite those concerned for Monday.

“ES, we have to come back on Monday on this issue. Customs will be here. Budget Office will be here and the Accountant General Office to come – invite Accountant-General’s office on the issue of collection by Customs,” Faleke said.

Jime also lamented that the NSC had been unable to access the one per cent charge on export and import since the council was established in 1978, noting that it is one of its statutory source of revenue.

He said, “There is this statutory source of revenue: one per cent charge on export and import. Since Shippers’ Council was established, that particular source of revenue has never been accessed and I’m taking it up with the supervising ministry and it is also one area that I will ultimately be going to seek the support from the other side.”

Earlier, the committee turned back representatives sent by heads of various ministries, departments and agencies, insisting that their chief accounting officers must appear in person.

Faleke, while dismissing officials of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), among others, threatened that any MDA head that failed to appear before the committee would be sanctioned, while the agency would be blocked from getting government funding.

Faleke said, “Each time we call for MTEF consideration, it is expected that we look back to what happened in the last three years before going forward.

“We don’t need to write this down in black and white because you should know you are coming to defend MTEF, the procedure is very straight. The only difference in this one is that we’re looking at capital. So, it is a standard.

“For all other agencies, we are saying that we are looking at all the projects as submitted that make up your capital projects the way you submitted it to budget office. The same you submitted you bring it to us,” he said.  

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