Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs, Hameed Ibrahim Ali, has given reasons why the Nigerian Customs Service is giving primary attention to the on-going review of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) which is taking place round the country.
Ali told stakeholders at the CEMA review seminar in Lagos Thursday that the reason for consulting them at this stage of midwifing the new legislation represents a new thinking in modern Customs Administration. He noted that under a new template provided by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), “consultation like this is a strong pillar for any modern Customs Administration.
“Over the years, we have clamoured for a review of our enabling law. First enacted in 1958, the Customs and Excise Management Act did not undergo any major review for over half a century.
This attempt represents a collective resolve to update our laws and realign its provisions with modern realities,’’ he said, adding “most importantly, we need to take a second look at the provisions for sanctions that are neither punitive nor deterrent enough to promote compliance.’’
The Customs CG said that this process of amending the CEMA Act was originally initiated under the last administration but declared “however, after undergoing the legislative processes at the National Assembly, the end product did not get presidential assent until the end of that administration.” He noted that the process therefore elapsed “and we are back at the starting block once again.
“As the primary users of this law, we have subjected the draft document to another round of review, asking ourselves hard questions, learning from other climes and generally coming out with a draft that we believe will enhance the performance of the job.
“We however believe that this is enough. We are therefore subjecting our draft for your critical reviews. Our objective is to produce a document that will address all fears and concerns associated with building strong and economically viable nation. We will therefore stress that the national interests should override all other interests in our submissions.
“We will happily welcome your observations, suggestions and proposals for amendments. It is our intention to consider the inputs from all sectors listed today, as time permits. We have also lined up similar outings for our stakeholders outside Lagos
“We will consolidate all the inputs sourced at this stage while the Review Committee will consider them before the new Act commences its long legislative journey. It is our hope that your buy- in at this stage will hasten the process of the Public hearing when the time comes,” he said.
The stakeholders’ seminar which held at Customs Training School Ikeja had inputs from representatives of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Association Nigeria Licensed Custom Agents (ANCLA), National Association of Government Approved Freight forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (AREFFN), Nigerian Breweries Plc, amongst others.
Chairman of the Review Committee, Paul Ikhenoba while thanking all the stakeholders for coming said all the representations made will be properly harnessed and accommodated in the draft review of the Act.
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