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Senate radar on Customs over revenue leakages as Adeosun decries rot

The Senate on Wednesday embarked on what it described as a comprehensive probe into the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to block revenue leakages and enhance generation.

This as the Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has decried serious rot in the system. She said the level of graft in the service is hampering meeting revenue targets across several commands.

Already, the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, will while looking into ways to increase revenue generation capacity of the service, they will work towards cleansing the service.

Chairman of the committee, Sen. Hope Uzodimma, during an oversight visit to the NCS headquarters in Abuja, said the service should generate enough revenue to fund the nation’s budget.

However, he expressed worry over the recent report by the Ministry of Finance, which indicated that the NCS had generated less than N400bn so far in 2016.

The Senator representing Orlu Senatorial Zone of Imo State disclosed that the committee might re-enact the law establishing the service for optimal performance.

It would be recalled that a report by PriceWater Coopers Tax consulting wing had propsed the merger of NCS and Federal Inlands Revenue Service (FIRS) in order to coordinate revenue generation from one point.

Uzodimma explained further that his committee is looking into the operations of Customs Service; looking at the areas of revenue generation and possible leakages with a view to finding solutions.

“We have done detailed work and we have established contacts with all commands under the service.

“All we are interested in is to evolve a robust framework that will help the NCS earn more revenue.

“In order to do that effectively, we are examining its current mode of operations with a view to refining how things are done.

“By the time we finish looking at the operations of some of the ports, we will come back and look at how best to amend the existing Act.

“We want to create a situation where the NCS will be able to fetch the country the kind of revenue we are looking for from non-oil sector.”

In his remark, the Custom CG, Col. Hameed Ali, assured that the service would fully cooperate with the committee. He directed NCS officials to provide the committee with all the information and documents it required.