BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
The days of reckless and arrogant posturing by authorized dealer banks involved in the collection of customs duties may have come to an end as the new sheriff in town has taken steps to tighten the noose on all customs financial operations.
Accordingly, the Ag. Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR has warned the service would no longer accept half measures nor hesitate to sanction any authorized dealer that engages in undue sharp practices with customs monies collected and not properly remitted, in view of a disturbing audit report which indicted most of the dealer banks.
A statement by the CNPRO SC Abdullahi Maiwada quoted the CGC as saying it will no longer be business as usual.
The statement reads: “In a significant development, the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, has taken decisive action in response to selected Authorized Dealer Banks failing to meet Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) related to Customs Duty and statutory charge remittances.
“This decision follows a thorough audit and due process, aligning with the NCS’s commitment to upholding transparency, accountability, and efficiency in revenue collection. The primary objective is to ensure the accurate and timely remittance of Customs duties and other essential funds for national development.
“Despite the deactivation of these banks, the Comptroller General has implemented measures to minimize disruptions for importers and stakeholders within the trading ecosystem. He assures the trading community that all pending assessments will undergo clearance processes in line with international best practices.
“Importers who previously relied on the deactivated banks for duty payments are advised to utilize other Authorized Dealer Banks that comply with NCS regulations. Stakeholders encountering challenges with a particular bank are encouraged to use alternatives that function appropriately.
“The deactivated banks will have the opportunity to be reactivated once they meet all regulatory requirements and settle outstanding remittances. Collaborative efforts with financial regulators and stakeholders are underway to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the Customs Duty Collection system.
” The NCS places a priority on trade facilitation, putting stakeholders and Nigerian citizens first, even in the face of non-compliance by some Authorized Dealer Banks.
“This action underscores the NCS’s commitment to maintaining a fair and transparent customs revenue collection process”, the statements reads.