Friday, April 8, 2016 6:54 pm
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, on Friday urged the Federal Government to review the foreign exchange policy which had affected imports and revenue collection.
Ali made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos as maritime activities closed for the week.
He said that Nigeria was an import-independent economy, adding that this year could be a tough year due to delay in reviewing the forex policy.
Ali said that the service was working hard in making sure that it generated more revenue on excise to complement imports.
“The volume of trade is low. So, there is need for volume of trade to go higher for us to generate more revenue,’’ Ali said.
In the week under review, the Customs service said it would examine laws concerning the discharge of oil and gas related cargoes in some terminals in the country.
Ali stated this against the backdrop of controversies surrounding the discharge of oil and gas related-cargoes at designated terminals.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had last year, issued a directive that all oil and gas related cargoes must be handled only at the designated terminals in Onne, Warri and Calabar ports.
Ali, who went on a tour of facilities of Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ) and Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), said
the Customs management was now more knowledgeable about the zone’s activities.
“I have listened to your presentations. I would like to assure you that President’s Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is one of fairness, equity and transparency.’’
The Customs chief said that said that in the past certain things were done in accordance with the laws.
He noted that the administration believed in doing business in accordance with the law.
“We as the Customs Service have no choice but to toe that line. We have to walk the path of equity and justice.
“We will look at the laws that exist. If we find anything contradictory to the laws, we will address it but if it is in accordance with the law, we are also in a position to let you know,’’ Ali added.
The comptroller-general said that the service would cooperate with oil and gas related companies to improve its operations.
The Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone “A”. Assistant Comptroller- General of Customs, Ekporwei Edike, said he had visited all the commands under the zone and ensured that officers were diligent and efficient in their duties.
Edike, however, urged active officers to manage the inactive officers to enable them to be active.
He said that officers should exploit all avenues to generate more revenue, adding that officers should be cognisance of the nation’s security.
The Chairman of the SIIFZ, Mr Anwar Jarmakani, said that Nigeria was losing billions of naira due to a monopoly which allowed for the discharge of oil and gas related cargoes only at designated terminals in the country.
The SIIFZ is also the location of NigerDock, a ship repair, fabrication, supply and logistics facility offering maritime, logistics and oil and gas services.
“SIIFZ has created more than 6000 direct jobs, supports over 100,000 families through indirect jobs and has delivered over 27000 training programmes.