By Tordue Salem
House of Representatives committee on customs services has recommended a special grant of N100 billion to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to improve on the services of its operations in the country.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Yakubu Dogara(PDP/Bauchi) in an NCS probe Report he laid before the House yesterday, as one of the highest earning agencies in the Country, the grant would only strengthen Customs capacity to generate more revenue.
The Report is a product of over 6 months of public hearings organised by the committee of customs and other stakeholders. The Committee in its report said â€œwould enable the NCS to complete all abandoned projects which dot landscape of several cities and border posts across the nationâ€.
The grant, the Committee stated, would provide for NCS, modern offices and conducive working environment to boost productivity, procure modern combat tools including sea_going vessels, and air crafts which are non_existent at the moment but are needed for its operations
It was also recommended five percent for the Free On Board (FOB) as against the current seven percent cost of collection which the NCS enjoys, and the five percent FOB be expended by the service directly after appropriation by the National Assembly.
The committee recommended for adoption that government should review the welfare package of NCS staff in line with that of NNPC which is similar to the NCS in its duty of collecting revenue for the nation.
For the NCS to attract and keep some of the best brain in its employ who would help build the institution from within to a world class status, the committee recommended for adoption of the consolidated salary structure for the NCS in order to bring the service at par with its peers.
The committee recommended that government should improve the criteria for future appointments of CGC by incorporating a broad_based stakeholders consultations and such officers should come from with the service having not less than five years to retirement, external persons no matters no matter their level of industry experiences, and requisite qualification be excluded from the process.
The committee recommended that federal government should abolish all punitive trade barriers in the manner of excessive tariff and bans and that government should limit its import bans to items or goods that are clearly harmful to health and society. The committee also called on the federal government to forward to the National Assembly a Bill to repeal and re_enact the customs and exercise management act, 2004.
The committee recommended that the National Assembly repeals the existing destination inspection act, 2003 to allow the NCS take over all obligations of the MOF and the CBN under the act.