the Nigerian Customs Service in 2019, granted import duty exemptions worth 78.5 billion naira to local and foreign companies, including 14 foreign ministry staff, in violation of financial regulations, revealed the government’s audit report.
The agency granted a waiver of 78.5 billion naira for businesses and 17.2 million naira for foreign ministry staff.
the 2019 report is the latest from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF).
Aghughu Adolphus, the auditor general of Nigeria, said in the report that the government agency did not provide proof of the request or authorization of the granted waivers.
This is in violation of a federal financial regulation of December 2004 which decided to stop import exemptions, except on goods imported by diplomatic missions, security services and donations from foreign agencies.
According to this regulation, the constant search for import exemptions has had a negative impact on government revenue generation.
“In order to stem the unpleasant development of the ever-growing demand for waivers or exemptions from customs duties, VAT and port charges on imported equipment, goods and materials, the government has decided that As of 2005, no derogations or exemptions from Customs duties, VAT, port charges and other legitimate charges would be granted on imported equipment, goods and materials, except for defense, security and police “, did he declare.
“The waiver or exemption would continue to be granted only on importation by diplomatic missions and donations of equipment, goods and materials from foreign governments and agencies to non-profit organizations or bodies. lucrative in Nigeria. “
According to Mr. Adolphus, “these anomalies could be attributed to weaknesses in the internal control system of the Nigerian customs service”.
He noted that such actions will result in loss of revenue for the government; difficulty in funding budgets.
Mr. Adolphus therefore asked the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, to provide the reasons for the violation of the provisions of the Treasury Circular; provide proof of requests, authorizations / approvals prior to waivers.
The Auditor General asked Mr. Ali to recover 78.46 billion naira and pay it into the federation’s account and forward the proofs of payment to the National Assembly’s public accounts committees.
The audit report noted that it had not received any response from the customs directorate.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), their spokesperson Joseph Attah, they stated that the NCS is only an executing agency and is not responsible for granting waivers or of concessions.
“Nigerian Customs do not grant waivers; our job is only to implement what has been granted, ”he said.
He added that waivers and concessions are only granted by the president through the finance ministry.
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