29 November 2010

Nigeria: Representatives Seek N100 Billion Bail-Out for Customs

Abuja — The House of Representatives committee on customs and excise has recommended to the federal government to make a special grant of N100 billion to the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) to enable it address critical challenges and insulate it from smugglers.

It also wants the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover the N45 billion debts owed the NCS by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

These recommendations were contained in the report of the committee on the state of the NCS and the poor performance of its statutory duties and functions, which was submitted to the House in April, this year.

The committee led by Hon. Farouk Abdullahi Umar explained that the N100 billion would, amongst other things, enable the NCS to complete all abandoned projects which dot the landscape of several cities and border posts across the nation.

According to the report obtained by LEADERSHIP, the committee said the money would 'enable the NCS to provide modern offices and conducive working environment befitting its status as the nation's second highest revenue earner.

"Enable the NCS pay all arrears of entitlements owed officers and men of the service and fund the deployment of CCTV's in all ports and border posts and integrate same with the WTM to be deployed by webb Fontaine Nig Ltd.

The Committee further recommended the revival of the NCS's Air wing to help strengthen border patrol to search for smuggling routes, border warehouses and counter insurgency and terrorism operations.

The committee noted that the new challenges posed by modern day smugglers to government efforts aimed at increasing national revenue and to plug leakages that weaken the economy.

"The federal government ensures that the Airwing is adequately funded to enable it purchase new and modern surveillance equipment; proper and adequate maintenance of tools.

"That the NCS management upgrades the Airwing into a command status with its own enforcement officers to enable it effectively combat smuggling on the spot using helicopters and modern combat tools."

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